If you haven't seen Sarah Gadon on the big screen lately, you're probably not a Cronenberg fan. She's starred in David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method" and "Cosmopolis," and now she takes the female lead in his son's debut film "Antiviral," which screened at this year's Toronto Film Festival.
Playing the god-like celebrity Hannah Geist, Gadon spends much of the film shrouded in glitzy mystery, appearing on posters and advertisements, but never being seen in real life. "Antiviral" is, in short, a gruesome exposition of our obsession with celebrity, and the lengths we'll go to in our fame-obsessed culture.
Moviefone caught up with Gadon at TIFF to talk about why she hesitated on taking this role, and how indebted she is to Cronenberg for giving her so many opportunities.
What made you want to play Hannah Geist initially?
Actually, I didn't have any inclination to play Hannah when I first read the screenplay. She spends the first half of the script as an image - and who can relate to an image? At least, that's what I thought when I read the script. When I went to talk to Brandon about essentially not doing the film ... I told him that I wasn't interested in portraying this fetishized image of a woman ... he said that he wanted to reveal the inner workings of that: why we do it, how we do it, and that process by which we create celebrity. That was much more interesting and exciting to me. I created a human, vulnerable interesting character behind that person, that image.
I'm so glad I decided to do this movie; the film is a beautiful discourse for this consumption of culture.
How were you with needles and blood before you shot "Antiviral"?
I'm cool! [Laughs] This is my third Cronenberg flick, so I'm good. I'm not very afraid of needles, but I also had a blindfold over my eyes most of the time, so it didn't really bother me. I love coughing up blood, though, that's really fun.
You keep on working with Cronenbergs. What do you think draws them to you?
I don't know, you'd have to ask them! [Laughs] No, it's really changed my career trajectory in a big way. It's great to be a working actor, and things have been non-stop lately. I'm totally indebted to David for the rest of my life. I've actually promised him several of my organs already.
Hannah Geist is very godlike in this film. Did you catch a glimpse of that first-hand working with megastar Robert Pattinson in "Cosmopolis"?
Not really, since most of our work was done in-studio. I didn't see too much of his fandemonium. When you work with any famous actor and you see the attention and scrutiny they're under, and what it does to them, it makes you appreciative of where you are in your own career. I function with a lot of anonymity still, and I'm able to not be bigger than the films I'm a part of. I still have mobility and freedom, so, if anything, it makes me stop and think.
Where can people see you next?
I just wrapped production on Denis Villeneuve's first English-language film, "An Enemy," with Jake Gyllenhaal and Melanie Laurent. Next, I'm shooting a film in London called "Belle" with Tom Felton. I think you'll be seeing a lot more of me -- at least I hope so! [Laughs]
"Antiviral" opens in select theatres in Canada on October 12.
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