would hate to be repetitive

25 Jul 2013

For many in Australia, Toni Collette is, and always will be, Muriel Heslop. It’s a role that has stuck with the prominent Australian actor as much for its own durability as for her capacity to elude stereotyping since.wellbeing

Playing a ”terrible” girl from Porpoise Spit shot Collette to international acclaim, laying the foundations for the array of extraordinary characters she has delivered on screen and stage since. Collette is the first to admit the ”profoundly life-changing experience” of Muriel’s Wedding (1994) gave her an ”unexpected career”.magazineads
The great luxury of being an actor is you get to be different people, and I would hate to be repetitive.

Toni Collette health818

That 20-year career has led her to win or gain nominations for awards from Oscars to Tonys, Emmys and BAFTAs, plus a hatful of AFI awards. She has criss-crossed the globe as her star continued to rise. She has mostly shunned the celebrity life - though she admits she likes getting last-minute tables at exclusive restaurants - but still appeared in a high-profile bank ad last year, reading poetry. The recent media attention about court action taken against her regarding a soured Paddington real estate deal irked her but she’s also used the media in the past to push political messages or her music career.

Real character: Toni Collette in Sydney recently.

Real character: Toni Collette in Sydney recently. Photo: Marco Del Grande

In short, Collette is an enigma. The same can be said of her onscreen persona. The greatest theme to her roles might well be their lack of a theme.

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”I’ve never been boxed in,” she says. ”After Muriel’s Wedding, I first went to America and I was sent all these scripts about fat girls overcoming hurdles. Something in me knew not to go down that road, even if it was a good script. I just never want to repeat myself. I also don’t want to be bored in life. The great luxury of being an actor is you get to be different people, and I would hate to be repetitive.”

Her latest film, The Way Way Back, is no exception. The coming-of-age film is about a boy, Duncan, with a crippling lack of self-confidence and a divorcee mother (Collette) in a bad relationship, and who finds solace in a job at Water Wizz water park.


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