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Toni Collette says she’s had no second thoughts about turning away intimacy coordinators when they’ve been offered to her on sets, but not taking a deal to be the face of Qantas is one of her biggest regrets.
The actress, who stars in the new series The Power, spoke about the two disparate topics during an interview with U.K. outlet The Times, during which she also touched on a series of other personal and professional subjects, including acting from a young age, her divorce and cancel culture. The latter topic included mention of her love of Ricky Gervais and the feeling that while people shouldn’t be harassing, the concept can be stifling.
“God, when [cancel culture] was first mentioned to me, a while back now, I didn’t quite understand what people meant,” she said. “I mean, we don’t want people who are offensive swinging their stuff around with freedom. But people who are authentic and have something within them to share in life, feeling stifled? Doesn’t feel so good, does it?”
Speaking to concept of intimacy coordinators, which happened amid Hollywood’s #MeToo reckoning and subsequent cancel-culture debate, Collette says that most of her set experiences have been positive. And because she’s felt safe, she’s been left with little need for intimacy coordinators.
“I think it’s only been a couple of times where they’ve been brought in, and I have very much trusted and felt at ease with the people I was working with,” she recalled. “It just felt like those people who were brought in to make me feel more at ease were actually making me feel more anxious. They weren’t helping, so I asked them to leave.”
While other actresses have praised their presence and expressed a desire to have had more agency around sex scenes earlier in their career, the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winner — who has previously spoken out publicly about the gender pay gap and lack of inclusion in Hollywood — noted wanting or needing an intimacy coordinator would have depended on who she was working with.
“Look, every job is different. Every single job is different. Because it’s a bunch of new people it’s a new energy; everyone brings their whole life with them, and it’s all thrown in the pot. You never know what you’re going to get and it’s a miracle that a film ever comes together, let alone thrives,” she adds. “I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve only worked with a few arseholes over the several decades that I’ve managed to keep this boat afloat.”
While Collette seemingly suggests she has no regrets about the environments she’s worked in when it comes to intimacy scenes, she did tell the outlet that she had one regret about a decision she made earlier in her career. That regret revolves around a promotional deal she was offered by the Qantas airline to become their “face,” something she felt was not en vogue at that time in Hollywood.
“After Muriel’s Wedding, Qantas wanted me to be the face of Qantas. They were going to give me a substantial amount of money and free flights for me and my immediate family for the rest of my life. That is my one regret, because I said no,” she recalled. “No one was endorsing things at the time. That wasn’t something people did. It was the early Nineties. I remember saying, ‘No, I want to be a serious actress. I want to be taken seriously. I don’t want to do that.’ And look at the world now. People are selling shampoo.”
At another point in the interview, Collette speaks to her experience filming The Power, a new Prime Video series about a world where teen girls develop the ability to electrocute people at will. She joined the cast late, taking over for another actress who dropped out, as the show was expanding, changing and growing due to the pandemic. She described the experience of slipping “in at the last minute” and shooting the entire nine-episode season as a “headfuck.”
“To do that much work in such a short period of time? It was just not ideal. I think mostly when you’re shooting a series, you have other people doing their work and you get breaks where you can focus on your next scene,” she said. “But it was just so constant. There was no break, no let-up.”
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