CRASH 63 COVER STAR SARAH GADON INTERVIEW
By Crash redaction
With her fourth movie this year, and two blockbusters in the list, Canadian actress Sarah Gadon goes right under the spotlight. Rediscover her interview for Crash 63, when she talked to us about how she got discovered, her experience as an actress so far and her inspirations both in cinema and fashion.
DISCOVERED AND CAST BY DAVID CRONENBERG IN COSMPOLIS AND A DANGEROUS METHOD, CANADIAN ACTRESS SARAH GADON IS BURNING UP THE SILVER SCREEN AT ONLY TWENTY-FIVE YEARS YOUNG. THE RISING STAR CONTINUED HER BLAZING ASCENT BY BRINGING HER HITCHCOCKIAN BEAUTY TO BRANDON CRONENBERG’S CONTROVERSIAL ANTIVIRAL. STILL RUNNING FULL STEAM AHEAD, THE FIERY SARAH JUST WRAPPED UP TWO MORE FILMS: AN ENEMY, DIRECTED BY DENIS VILLENEUVE, AND BELLE BY AMMA ASANTE.
How did you get your start in film?
I discovered my love for performance through dance. I began my dance training when I was 5. I then attended an intensive performing arts school from ages 9-17 where I fostered and developed my love for the arts. When I was at this school I joined a film club. I watched films like Harold and Maud, The Point, and Driving Miss Daisy. I fell in love with film and decided that I would unite my love of performance with the medium of film. I worked on local productions as an actress, while attending The University of Toronto in the Cinema Studies program.
How did you meet the Cronenberg family? Did it help that you are all Canadian?
Well, I was studying cinema at the University of Toronto. But I was taking a film theory course and reading a lot of Freudian apparatus theory when I was asked to audition for A Dangerous Method. I was very familiar with David’s work and the work of Carl Jung, but I knew little about Emma Jung. I made an audition tape and was cast shortly after. I didn’t even meet David until I was in Germany at our camera tests for the film. I was very intimidated by the situation, but I felt passionate about the material. I felt so invested because I had spent a whole semester looking at the psychology of film.
What made you decide to do Antiviral?
I didn’t know Brandon before we worked on Antiviral. Many people assume we had an established relationship because of my work with David, but it wasn’t until Brandon approached me to be in the film that we formed an acquaintance. In a small way the material reminded me of Videodrome, but with a contemporary twist. I knew that it was a film that would make people think about the way they interact with popular culture and I was hooked.
As a celebrity, what do you think about fame?
I don’t think of myself as a celebrity. I think of myself as an artist. Things like fame are very fleeting and often they are based on popular ideas that don’t stand the test of time. What we deem important in pop culture now might be dismissed as vulgar or passé in the future. Malcolm McDowell has a great line in Antiviral about celebrities, he refers to them as “group hallucinations.” I think this is true.
Have you had any experience with obsessed fans?
I sometimes experience fans that are very vocal or aggressive on Twitter. To be honest, the actor in me finds them very interesting. I often think, “how did they get to this point in their lives?” Why do they find me fascinating? What makes people so passionate about actors? But for the most part, my fans are very supportive and kind. I think it’s beautiful that strangers can be supportive and positive. I make films that are out of the box, so I’m always pleased when people are willing to suspend their imaginations or are willing to change the way they think about film.
How did you feel about playing an iconic actress?
At first, I didn’t want to play Hannah Geist, and I asked Brandon if he would consider me for another role. I was worried that people would fetishize my image instead of understanding that the film was a critique of this social process. However, after I met with Brandon he confirmed that his vision was to make people think about the way they look at women. After that, I was on board. Many people watch the film and come away feeling dirty or bad for being so voyeuristic with celebrities. Although I don’t think the film intends to shame people for the way they look at celebrities, I do think it makes people reconsider their relationship with popular culture.
There are a few shocking and gory scenes in the movie. Were some scenes more psychologically demanding than others?
No not really.
How did you like working with Caleb Landry Jones? Did you use any special methods to get into character?
In order to prepare for our roles, Caleb and I decided not to interact with each other at all. We never met while we were shooting, only once did we even acknowledge each other, and that was in the scene where our characters meet. It made the whole experience feel very real and tense. I think it was important because we were able to totally imagine each other, like you do with a celebrity. It was also special that we could each respect one another’s choice to do that.
What was it like to work with Brandon Cronenberg?
Brandon was great to work with. In the beginning he was open to listening to all of my reservations about the role. He was very open in terms of collaborating on the creation of Hannah’s image. It made me feel as though I had an active participation in the film. I’m very proud of him. I think it would be difficult to work in the shadow of his father, during an era of film that has little tolerance for experimentation, but I think he created a film with a distinct message and style. I applaud him for it.
Any plans to work with David Cronenberg again?
It would be an honor to work with David again, but I don’t have anything in the works just yet.
Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
I’m always working on other projects, I just finished two films: one directed by Denis Villeneuve called An Enemy, and another called Belle directed by Amma Asante. I also just directed my first project. It’s a half hour TV episode about my work with Caitlin Cronenberg.
Are you interested in fashion?
There is a certain kind of fashion that I am drawn to. I can appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of honing raw material into garments that we live in. I think there is something beautiful and utilitarian about that. I don’t like the conformist side of fashion that is about frivolity, competition, and status.
Who are your favorite designers?
I love the tradition and quality of the great fashion houses of Chanel and Vuitton. Their work is incredible, but I also love the young indie designers who have a real currency with the modern woman, like Prabal Gurung or Alexander Wang.
How would you define your style?
In terms of personal style I’m very much like a chameleon. I respond to environments. Like the roles I choose, I immerse myself in different looks based on what I’m doing or seasons or where I’m living.
What is your favorite movie?
I love movies, I couldn’t just pick one. My Top 5 are Cleo From 5 to 7, Mamma Roma, The Wizard of Oz, Christopher Strong, and The Holy Girl. But Lately I’ve been very into Cassavetes.
Who is your favorite actress?
Actress? I love Grace Kelly, Anna Magnani, Gena Rowlands, Natalie Wood… but I’ve been so into Ginger Rogers lately. I’m fascinated by her.