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Remember that scowling blonde CIA agent in xXx: Return of Xander Cage? The grumpy one who tracked down a retired Xander Cage to find a powerful piece of technology?
Toni Collette as Jane Marke in xXx: Return of Xander Cage. Credit: United International Pictures
Jane Marke seemed like the stereotypical, tough-as-nails CIA agent, without any depth or nuance to her character. In fact, you might even have thought that the actress who played her was just a former model-turned-actress who was cast for her looks, rather than her ability.
Toni Collette. Credit: Toni Collette Online Twitter
That actress is Toni Collette – and she may be one of the most talented actresses you’ve never heard of. Collette has earned multiple awards, starred in diverse genres, and even managed to fool trained physicians with her acting ability at the age of 11. She may even have been a household name – had she not turned down the role of Bridget Jones for a Broadway musical (putting responsibility over success!).
Annie Graham (Toni Collette) in Hereditary. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas
Here’s everything you should know about Toni Collette, the most underrated actress in Hollywood. We bet she’ll be earning international fame on a par with Jennifer Lawrence soon, and when that happens, you’ll have The Popping Post to thank for spotting one of Hollywood’s rising stars!
1. She turned down the role of Bridget Jones because she was making her Broadway debut
The Bridget Jones we got (Renee Zellweger) and the Bridget Jones we could have gotten (Toni Collette). Credit: Film Ink
Toni Collette could have been Bridget Jones (instead of Renee Zellweger). But when she was offered the part in Bridget Jones’ Diary, she was doing a Broadway musical called The Wild Party.
“I was doing The Wild Party on Broadway when I was offered Bridget Jones’s Diary. But I couldn’t do it because I didn’t know how long The Wild Party was going to play” – Toni Collette
But maybe that turned out for the best – we can’t imagine Bridget Jones being played by anyone other than Renee Zellweger!
2. Collette faked appendicitis at 11
Annie Graham (Toni Collette) watches over Charlie (Milly Shapiro) in Hereditary. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas
If that isn’t proof enough for you, here’s some more evidence that acting is part of Collette’s very DNA.
When she was 11 years old, she pretended to have appendicitis. It was so believable that she managed to fool doctors into taking out her appendix! That’s probably when they discovered that it was all an act.
Why did she do it? Well, for the same reason any eleven year old does things – for the sheer heck of it. According to Observer magazine:
“I was just a child having a go at something – having a crack” – Toni Collette
The Popping Post does not advise that you fake appendicitis to launch a career in acting, however.
3. She won a Golden Globe Award for United States of Tara
Toni Collette as Tara in United States of Tara. Credit: The Red List
Back in 2009, Toni Collette starred in this little comedy series called United States of Tara. She played the titular Tara, a housewife who had dissociative identity disorder (also known as multiple personality disorder, where a person is characterised by at least two different and long-lasting personalities). The show received some success and was renewed for another two seasons, running for 36 episodes in total.
Did you know that Toni Collette won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy in this little comedy series (which doesn’t seem so little anymore)?
Just like Collette herself, United States of Tara was incredibly underrated, because it portrayed a very typical American household dealing with a very atypical problem of dissociative identity disorder.
4. She also won an Emmy Award for United States of Tara
Toni Collette as Tara in United States of Tara. Credit: The Red List
She also won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for the show – but why exactly was her performance so lauded?
Well, that’s because she didn’t just play one character – she played seven. There was her “regular” Tara personality, but she had six other larger-than-life personalities she would slip into when under stress. They were:
T: a flirty, flighty teenager
Alice: a housewife with a 1950’s mentality
Buck: a male (yes, male!) Vietnam veteran who drank too much
Shoshana: a… “therapist”
Chicken: the five-year-old version of Tara
Bryce: Tara’s half-brother (that nobody knew about)
Can you imagine having to remember all the quirks of foibles of each personality? It’s like Collette was playing seven different characters at the same time. Yet somehow, she managed to pull it off so believably that she even won awards for it.
Imagine what she’d do with just one character!
5. She won six AACTA Awards
Toni Collette. Credit: Wikiwand
But her United States of Tara awards were only on the international stage. Back in her homeland of Australia, she’s won six Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (AACTA). The AACTA is actually considered the Australian equivalent of the Academy Awards, so this is no mean feat.
They were for:
Muriel’s Wedding – Best Actress in a Leading Role
Lilian’s Story – Best Actress in a Supporting Role
The Boys – Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Japanese Story – Best Actress in a Leading Role
In Her Shoes – Best Actress in a Leading Role
Little Miss Sunshine – Best Actress in a Leading Role
6. Collette is versatile and adept at multiple genres
Lynn Sear (Toni Collette) in The Sixth Sense. Credit: Paper Mag
Maybe Collette’s just good at humorous roles. After all, she does have a slightly amusing face, and she won international awards for her role in comedy United States of Tara. Three of her AACTA Awards were for comedy films – In Her Shoes, Little Miss Sunshine, and Muriel’s Wedding.
But she’s also great at more dramatic roles, like in Lilian’s Story and The Boys. And if you think that romance is out of her league, guess again! Japanese Story was a romantic drama with Collette as one of the leads.
She’s also no stranger to horror. She played Lynn Sear in The Sixth Sense, the mother of Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment). Yep, she played the mother of the boy who could see dead people, and she’ll be playing another mother in the upcoming horror film Hereditary.
Hereditary. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas
If you want to see Collette’s talent for yourself, then catch her in her next big role – miniaturist artist mother Annie Graham in Hereditary. Touted as one of the scariest movies ever to be made, the film sees Annie Graham reeling from the shock of the death of her loved ones. Collette delivers a masterful performance as a damaged mother who can’t help but use her talents to recreate scenes from her life in a miniaturised form, with critics raving at her nuanced performance which also shows her complex range. It has been one of Collette’s most intense roles yet, probably worthy of an(other) Oscar award.
The question is – is Graham truly being haunted, or are the hauntings just a manifestation of a possible mental illness? Is everything as it seems in Hereditary?
Find out what exactly her mother passed on to her in the most frightening film of 2018!
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