Sundance 2015 Interview: Toni Collette on ‘Glassland’

Glassland Jack Reynor Toni Collette

CraveOnline: Have there been any other roles in your career that scared you?

Toni Collette: A lot of them do, yeah. This was pretty potent, but I think I try to choose roles that scare me a little bit because it keeps me feeling alert and alive and inspired. 

One that touched me was About a Boy, and I think you were maybe the best portrayal of depression I’ve seen on screen. 


Was that one that scared you?

You know what I remember feeling the most, I was pissed off that here was this wonderful comedic film and I just didn’t get to be funny. Everyone else is.

You got to sing with your eyes closed.

Yeah, there were inadvertent funny moments, but no. I don’t remember being as fearful of that one. 

There’s a nice moment where you dance to “Tainted Love.”

Oh yeah, I wish that they had the rights to it when we shot it because I really wanted to sing along but I couldn’t in case they couldn’t use that song. 

Did you choreograph that dance or just go?

No, I just, yeah. Just improvised. A lot of people said it kind of freaks them out because it feels like it’s getting slightly sexual between mother and son which was completely unintended. 

I didn’t think that.

But I think it’s a really nice, uncomfortable kind of thing for people to feel. 

Does Glassland refer to the empty bottles and glasses lying around?

I think so. Also just that community where we shot and where it’s kind of sick. I’d never been there before. It’s on the outskirts of Dublin and it’s a low income area. It’s a little bit rough out there. You know there’s that scene where the boy delivers the money to him in the car on a horse? That boy was on a horse out there. There are these horses roaming around this strange suburban area and it’s a dangerous area. I think Glassland just somehow captures that in a way.

Had you met Will Poulter before last night?

Yeah, we had a crossover day where he was finishing and I was starting. I think I went out to the set just to meet everyone after a costume fitting. I saw him, perhaps it was his last scene and then had a little chat afterwards. He made me even more nervous actually because he’d mastered his accent and I felt like I was flailing before I started. It was intimidating.

The way he was speaking last night, has he totally lost his accent?

He stays in his accent when he’s working, which I don’t do, which is also intimidating. So he’s shooting something in that accent that you heard him speaking last night, which is why he’s speaking like that. 

Have you had a lot of films at Sundance?

This is my fifth. Two years ago I was here with The Way, Way Back. I was here with Little Miss Sunshine and The Night Listener.

Was Muriel’s Wedding here?

No. The first film I came here with was a film called Clockwatchers. Muriel’s went to Cannes.

Have you noticed the festival changing?

Yes and no, It still has a sense of intimacy and great directive for filmmaking. There’s a lot more organized partying. When I first came it was just like, “Okay, everyone in the jacuzzi.” Now there’s clubs and scheduled activities. It’s more like a camp.

I don’t go to those because I’m going to see more movies.

Good for you. That’s the most frustrating thing coming to a great festival like this. I’m busy talking to journalists and attending my own screening. You don’t get to see many other films.

I know, but I want to thank you for being here so I can have the experiences of meeting all the filmmakers and talking about the films. 

That’s a complete pleasure, are you kidding?


Fred Topel is a staff writer at CraveOnline. Follow him on Twitter at @FredTopel.