Sunday, December 21, 2008

Toni Collette

I'm taking a break from politics today.

Instead, I shall look at Toni Collette.

I think she might be my favorite Australian actress...well, at least for now.

I haven't seen that much of her work.

The first thing I saw her in was The Sixth Sense. I doubt I knew she was Australian. She does so well at faking the American accent.

I've seen bits and pieces of In Her Shoes.

I've seen the last thirty minutes of Little Miss Sunshine about ten times.

And I've seen her in one Australian movie. Muriel's Wedding. I loved that.

I think she's brilliant--at least when it comes to acting.

Now I shall go and find out more about her....

She's the same age as me! Twenty-one days older. How cool is that?

Her birthday is November 1, 1972.

Birthday website time!

She's a Scorpio and a 4. the exact same as Penny Wong who I posted about yesterday.

In Chinese astrology, she's a rat like me.

Will we have anything else in common?

She was born in Blacktown, New South Wales. This is northwest of Parramatta, so not too far from the Sydney area. This is interesting. Lord Wiki says Blacktown is the most populous local government area in New South Wales. I guess this means the population density is larger than other places in New South Wales.

No. Lord Wiki, I think you're wrong. According to you, the city of Sydney has a density of 6580 per square kilometer. Blacktown has 1140 per square kilometer. Well, I would THINK Sydney is more crowded.

I could be misunderstanding something. If so, I apologize to you, Lord Wiki.

Collette comes from a humble background. Her mother is/was a customer services representative and her dad is/was a truck driver.

Lord Wiki says she did such a good job of faking appendicitis that the doctors wereLink convinced enough to remove her appendix. Yikes. What's the deal with faking illness? I guess it's a need for attention? Jack watched an episode of Arthur about that. Little D.W was jealous of her brother having chicken pox, so she drew pox on herself.

Collette went to Blacktown Girl's High School until she was 16.

I'm looking at the school's website. The mix of students is more impressive than other schools I've looked at recently. They ARE missing boys, but it does happen to be a girl's school so that's probably okay.

The school does have male teachers.

The school is strict about absences. The only excuses for missing school are illness or family emergency. If you're sick for more than three days, they prefer a doctor's note. I don't like that. My high school had those type of policies. You were supposed to miss school only for illness or a death in the immediate family. Yes, I think it's disruptive for students to be in and out of school with no consistency. That wouldn't be good. But I do believes schools need to be a bit more flexible.

Let's say a parent gets the opportunity to take a business trip to China. Should the children not go with them? I would think going to China is a more valuable learning experience than sitting in a classroom.

In my last year at the Atlanta school, my sister was hit by a car. I missed a few weeks of school. I THINK the principal was okay with this. Maybe? But I was on the newspaper staff. After I returned, the teacher did the huge lecture on how it's important for people to be there and not miss class. He talked about how absences let people down. Now he MIGHT not have been referring to me, but then I think he should have clarified that. When it was time to write teacher evaluations, I wrote him a very nasty letter.

Anyway, maybe this is why Toni Collete faked the appendix thing. Maybe she just needed a break from school.

I think kids should have personal days. We all need a break sometimes. We shouldn't have to be sick to get it.

Collette attended ATYP (Australian Theatre for Young People). The theatre is a near The Rocks in Sydney. Well, maybe just the office and main theater is there. It seems they perform at various locations.

Nicole Kidman and Baz Luhrmann are involved with the school. I wrote a whole post on Luhrmann and still have trouble spelling his name.

Anyway, the program looks pretty neat. They have all kinds of cute workshops for children.

Collette also attended NIDA which is NOT The National Institute of Drug Abuse. It's the National Institute of Dramatic Art. This place has some very impressive alumni. Well, I should probably just say I recognize some of the names: Mel Gibson, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Emile de Ravin (From Lost! I think she's one of the most beautiful women in the world), and Bridie Carter.

The institute has some kind of office in America. Mel Gibson is involved.

The institute has higher education classes. I guess you could go there for your university work. Lord Wiki says the school is VERY selective. Only one out of a hundred applicants are accepted. They also have part-time classes you can take including cute classes for children.

Toni Colette has been nominated for many awards. And she's actually won some. She won awards from the Australian Film Institute.  She got best actress for Muriel's Wedding. She also won for the recent movie The Black Balloon. I've heard of that. Isn't it about Autism?

Yes, Lord Wiki confirms that.

The Golden Globes nominated her for best actress in Muriel's Wedding, but Nicole Kidman won. She won for To Die For. I don't even remember that movie.

She was nominated for an Oscar for The Sixth Sense. Angelina Jolie won for Girl Interrupted. I never saw that, so I should probably not say that Collette should have won. But Collette was REALLY amazing in that film. I love the end where she's in the car with her son. That scene almost always makes me cry.

She received Golden Globe nomination for Little Miss Sunshine. Meryl Streep won the Golden Globe for The Devil Wears Prada. I did see part of that movie and I liked it. Still, I like Little Miss Sunshine better.

Collette also received nominations for her roles in the miniseries about the Tsunami.

She's an animal rights activist! Lord Wiki says she was against mulesing sheep, but then later changed her mind. Now that is VERY interesting. I don't know much about this sheep thing. I guess I should go and learn about it.

Before I do that, let me finish with Lord Wiki. Collette is married to a musician named Dave Galafassi and she has one child. Oh! A baby. It was born in January 2008. I think I do have vague memories of her being pregnant.

Back to mulesing. I read the Lord Wiki stuff on it. It reminds me a lot of the circumcision controversy. Some say it's cruel. Some say it's not. Some say it's needed--or at least has benefits. Some people say it's not needed and there are alternatives. The latter group seems to have won because the wool industry plans to phase out the practice by December 2010.

I'm now going to look at IMDb--see if that gives me any new insights. They say she spent 18 months at NIDA. Her first film was with Russel Crowe and Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins is one of my favorite actors.

Her first American film was The Pallbearer. Is that the one with David Schwimmer? Yep. My movie memory aint too bad. I'm impressed with myself here. I don't think I saw the movie though.

She sings! She did an album with her husband.

She owns her own production company. I think every celebrity actor/actress has their own damn production company. Yeah, so nothing special there.

She has gained weight for movie roles. I guess that's impressive. Maybe.

She really wanted to be in Sweeney Todd, but lost the role to Helena Bonham Carter. It's kind of nice to know that famous successful people have disappointments too. Although I do feel kind of sad for her about that.

IMDb has some quotes from Collette.

She says, I'm an actor not a movie star. I prefer it that way. I think when you watch big stars on screen; it's really difficult to look beyond that very familiar persona. As an actor, you can play different characters and not be recognized. I know I've got parts that other bigger, more famous actors wanted. I think in some cases their fame is a hindrance because they're too identifiable.

I strongly agree with this. I don't like seeing movies that star the people who are plastered all over the tabloids. I'm not a big fan of anyone who is too famous: Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Katie Holmes, Angelina Jolie, etc. It's too hard to get past all their baggage and enjoy the film.

This unofficial Toni Collette website has more biographical information. I'll read it and see if there's anything exciting.

Her childhood involved many pets.

She liked to climb trees, ride her bike, and play basketball. She was nice and active. I'm not going to use a certain word that people use to describe girls who do these things, because I think it's very sexist.

When she was sixteen, she performed in a production of Godspell. It seems this is what gave her the acting bug. Ah, and it's why she left school. Her parents gave her permission to leave and enroll in NIDA. Her parents sound pretty supportive.

She was in a movie called Lillian's Story. It looks kind of interesting. I need to look it up. Oh! It's based on a novel by Kate Grenville. I got one of her books for my birthday, but I haven't read it yet. I just went and added Lillian's Story to my Powell's List. I have a birthday gift certificate that I plan to use soon.

An upcoming project Collette is working on is The United States of Tara-- a comedy about a woman with a dissociative disorder. Steven Spielberg is the creator. I'm not sure how you make that topic funny since the cause of dissociative disorders is usually severe child abuse. Well, I guess there's humor in almost everything. I guess I'm not the only one concerned about this. There's an interesting discussion about it on the IMDb message boards. I think there is the possibility for anything to be the subject of humor and not be offensive to many people;  but it has to be dealt with it in a very educated and sensitive matter. The writer of the show is Juno's Diablo Coby. She did a good job dealing with teenage pregnancy. Maybe she'll be able to handle this.

Here's an article about Toni Collette and the wool thing. Actually, it's more of an editorial. The website is called woolisbest so their views might be slanted in a certain way. She was against the mulesing thing and then learned more about it.

She says, I have had contact with a number of farming organizations and individual farmers, and now have a clearer understanding of the complexity of the issues surrounding mulesing in Australia. The issue is not as black and white, as was previously presented to me. I was given to understand that there were "effective and humane alternatives to prevent fly strike" and they are "currently available". I am now aware that there are no simple alternatives available to farmers at this time.

I admire her for coming forward and admitting that she has further educated herself and changed her viewpoints.

Robert Pietsch comes down strongly against PETA. He says PETA’s strategy is to generate hysteria through media coverage and one way they do that is to mislead celebrities and piggy-back on their profile for its own means. They have obviously picked the wrong person in Toni Collette, because she had the strength of conviction to be informed.

I do think PETA does some good, but sometimes I think they're way too extreme. To me, it seems it would be much more productive to tell people to REDUCE the amount of animal products they use. Eat less meat. Don't wear fur. Buy less leather shoes. Don't go to zoos that are known for abusing animals.  Avoid animal products from factory farms.   But if you sit there and say no meat, no milk, no leather, no zoos, no pets, and no circus....I think you alienate a lot of people.

I think the world will see more improvements if we encourage people to be better rather than insisting they be perfect.

I was wondering if Collette was a vegetarian. I guess most animal rights activists are. And she is! Well, at least according to this website. That website also says that she climbed the Tibetan Himalayas. Cool.

This website says she practices Buddhism. I guess that connects well to the Tibetan climb!

I'm going to look at Google news now--see if I can find any treasures.

This article mentions a movie called Mary and Max. It's clay animation.  It's about a pen pal relationship between a young Australian child and an obese American man. That sounds interesting. Is it going to show some kind of icky relationship? Or will it show that friendships can transcend geography and age. Well, from the look of the movie's website it looks kind of sweet.

Well, I didn't find much in news.

I'm going to look at some interviews.

In this interview, Collette talks about how Hollywood is more star-focused, and Australia is less so. She said Muriel's Wedding received a lot of attention even though she and Rachel Griffiths were virtually unknown. With Hollywood she'll get scripts that have movie stars attached, but no director. It really shows where Hollywood's priorities lay.

She doesn't seem to be a big fan of Hollywood. She says she makes more money there; but if she could she'd make more movies at home. How much money does she need? It seems to me that one or two big Hollywood films a year would pay the bills. I guess it would depend on how modestly you live.

She's good at meditating. I'm not.

Here's a transcript of her interview with Andrew Denton.

Okay. She didn't just fake appendicitis. She faked getting her first period too.

I have to say that she seems a bit odd. And I do apologize if any of you are personal friends with Collette. I mean she might be nice in real life. And I do admire her acting and the whole sheep thing. But in some of this interview....well, she seems very weird. But I'm weird. I guess I shouldn't talk.

I kind of imagine that her weird is the type of weird that my weird might not get along with too well.

Okay this is sweet though. Her parents gave her a trampoline as a wedding gift. That is one of the most awesome wedding gifts I ever heard of. So fun! And much better than china and silver you'll rarely use.

Here she says that her parents were supportive of her dropping out of school, but it was a reluctant type of support.

I'm going to leave you with my favorite scene from The Sixth Sense. It's towards the end-- a bit of a spoiler. So DON'T click on it if you don't want to see it.