It seems like Australian powerhouse Toni Collette has been with us longer than her age of 47 would allow: Her memorable turns in The Sixth Sense (1999) and Little Miss Sunshine (2006) alone have endeared her to American audiences. But she's also captivated us in films such as The Hours and About a Boy (both 2002), Hereditary (2018) and Knives Out (2019). Now there's I'm Thinking of Ending Things, writer-director Charlie Kaufman's latest spook-fest debuting on Netflix Sept. 4. Let us count the ways this actress captivates us with her talent, creative role selection and charming candor.
What we love: She's teamed up with one of our most original directors.
What she says about it: I'm Thinking of Ending Things is a challenging, dreamlike, original piece. I've been a fan of Charlie Kaufman's work [Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation], and I loved the idea of playing someone through several different ages.
What we love: She's not afraid to be a fraidy-cat. (I'm Thinking of Ending Things is the only scary movie on her watch list.)
What she says about it: I don't watch anything scary. No room for it in my mind. My imagination just doesn't need that fuel.
What we love: She's kept it real during COVID-19.
What she says about it: I feel for people who've been alone, stuck away from loved ones, and those who are struggling financially to make ends meet. It's undeniable that we're all in this together. It's been moving to see people go out of their way to help others. I personally loved the quiet, slow time with my family. The film I was working on in Canada shut down, so I flew home and went into two weeks of isolating with my husband and kids before the official lockdown in Sydney.
What we love: Her pandemic binge-watch faves are solid.
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What we love: She made a bold pivot mid-quarantine.
What she says about it: After two months of wine in the evenings, I decided to give not drinking a go. It's been three months now. I feel great.
What we love: She turns 50 in two years; she's got ideas about it.
What she says about it: I'm living in the present, taking every day as it comes. Who knows where we'll be by then? I'd love to be in nature and dance all night with the people I love.
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Toni's Fast Facts
Birthplace: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Current Project: I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Netflix, Sept. 4)
First film costars: Anthony Hopkins and Russell Crowe in 1992’s The Efficiency Expert (also released as Spotswood)
Breakout role: Title character in Muriel’s Wedding, 1994
More greatest hits: Knives Out, Unbelievable, Krampus, United States of Tara, The Sixth Sense, Little Miss Sunshine, In Her Shoes, Emma, The Hours, About a Boy
Off-screen: Married to musician Dave Galafassi; daughter Sage Florence, 12; son Arlo Robert, 9.
What we love: Her attitude about wellness
What she says about it: I meditate. I do breathing exercises. I work out. It used to be a chore when I was younger. Now I appreciate what it does for my mind. I feel stronger than ever.
What we love: Her advice to her 21-year-old self gives us all the feels.
What she says about it: Don't run away from your emotions. They're there to light the way and guide you. Feel it all. The answers are inside you. Not out there somewhere.
What we love: She looks forward, not back.
What she says about it: I don't believe in regrets. It's all growth.
What we love: Her secret talent is cooler than yours.
What she says about it: I'm an excellent driver. I was offered to drive professionally for BMW when I was 22.
What we love: Her dream costar is a fellow woman.
What she says about it: I'd love to work with Kate Winslet.
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What we love: Even in the midst of the unknown, she's making plans.
What she says about it: I'm becoming a director. I have a few projects on the boil. I'm enjoying the initial machinations of putting them together and can't wait to be fully immersed on set.