May 18, 2024

Toni Collette ‘The Power’ Interview

How do you like to spend quiet time with yourself?

I love to meditate. I used to be like, ‘ugh, I should meditate’, but now I look forward to it. It’s a chance to merge with everything. It’s like interfacing with the most beautiful, pure aspect of life. I also walk, I bike ride, I cuddle my kids, I spend time in nature. Sleep. Sleep is so important.

Different types of stories have opened up for women in film. We’re not just standing next to the guy for decoration, to look pretty, as an appendage of some kind, or as someone that needs saving. Thank God that’s over.

What about sexism in the workplace – that’s something your character experiences regularly from her male counterparts as a female politician in The Power – is it something you’ve experienced?

I think people don’t fuck with me. I mean, look, I have. Everyone’s had an experience here or there. But ultimately, I think I take care of myself pretty well, and people just wouldn’t go there. I feel lucky in that way. I was recently watching The United States of Tara [a 2009 comedy series in which Colette plays a suburban mother who switches between multiple identities, including a loud, foul-mouthed man named Buck] with my 11-year-old son, and he couldn’t believe that I was playing a guy. And he kept repeating, ‘My name is Buck and I will fuck you sideways’! And I was like, ‘that’s a part that lives in me! ’

You must be a good role model for them, especially for a young boy to see that no one dares fuck with his mum!

We love and admire each other. Both my kids are incredible people.

You must miss them.

I really am missing them at the moment, like really missing them. It’s hurting my body.

Speaking of people who love and admire you, did you know that you’ve got a bit of a cult fan base on social media following your explosive ‘I am your mother’ speech in Hereditary? People call you ‘mother’, which also in internet speak means ‘be my mum/ adopt me’. Did you know about those fans?

I did not know that! People call me ‘mother’? ! I love that. I love them. I did find out recently that there are drag queens that perform that whole speech, and I didn’t know that either, which is fantastic. One of my good mates, the costume designer Sandy Powell, recently sent me a photo of a young PA she was working with, and he had my face on a pair of his trousers. So I am aware of it a little bit! The universal ‘mother’, that’s hilarious.

They’re also pretty hyped for your new film coming out this year, Mafia Mamma [in cinemas 14th April]. Can you tell me a bit about that?

It’s the first film that I’ve actually actively been a producer on. It’s a story of this downtrodden woman who people ignore, and she gets a phone call out of the blue to tell her that her grandfather’s died. She’s the only living member of family and is told she needs to take over the family business – except he was the head of the mafia. So, that’s very empowering as well! But that was the most fun job of my lifetime. It’s just pure, pure joy.

Last question, if you could go back in time and tell your younger self – maybe that 22-year-old just starting out in Muriel’s Wedding – one thing, what would it be?

Just enjoy it all. It’s funny how you just feel so unsure of yourself at that age, and I was getting so many opportunities and experiences, and I think if I had felt a little more self-assured and comfortable with myself, and just focused on the joy, it would have been… more fun. It was fun anyway, trust me, I had a lot fun! But – and I sound like Ferris Bueller here – life moves pretty fast. You’ve really got to savour it.

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