When sitting down to do a roundtable interview with Catherine Keener and Toni Collette at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), about their new movie Enough Said, you get a sense that the set of the Nicole Holofcener film was a bit of a lovefest.
Keener and Collette have a sisterly vibe between the two of them and they’re eager to compliment one another’s work on the film. “Toni is a very giving person and as an actor and a person, she’s very giving. You can tell a generous actor when you’re working with them. They try and get you to your good stuff and that’s what she does.” Says Keener, smiling enigmatically. “Well, it takes one to know one.” replies Collette, giving Keener an affectionate shoulder bump.
Praise is equally doled out for their co-stars in Enough Said, Julia Louis-Dreyfus who stars as the scattered but well-meaning protagonist Eva (“She’s so smart and so funny and she was so dedicated.” Says Collette. “Yeah, she’s fantastic. And she makes me laugh!” agrees Keener), as well as James Gandolfini, who passed away unexpectedly this past June, after turning in a heartfelt performance as the film’s romantic lead.
“I think he felt very vulnerable playing someone so vulnerable and I’d not met him before but I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to both meet him and work with him. He was a sweetheart and incredibly generous on and off screen.” reveals Collette while Keener nods and then picks up on the thought, “He was a very humane person. If someone should be blown up as having mythic status, he’d be very deserving of it. It was good to be in his presence.”
Expanding on the idea of what makes for a generous actor, Collette explains, “It’s a matter of being present and open to the exchange and open to the connection because that’s when the exciting stuff happens. You somehow meet in the middle and the unexpected occurs. That’s the best day you can have at the office.”
Keener interjects, “When you’re acting with someone you really need someone to engage with and care about what you’re doing as much as what he or she is doing. Toni is generous and when we worked together she was present with me and cared about doing what she could to make sure that I felt free enough to play. Julia is like that. James was like that too.”
Continue reading on the next page…