An interview with Sarah Gadon

SARAH GADON at amfAR Cinema Against AIDS

Sarah Gadon is a Canadian actress, and has starred in films including ‘A Dangerous Method’ and ‘Cosmopolis’. (Courtesy of  TIFF 2013 Images)

Currently, you are filming Maps to the Stars (directed by David Cronenberg) alongside Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack and Mia Wasikowska, what was it about the film that drew you to doing the project?

David Cronenberg! Working with him is a privilege. Not only do I get to work with one of cinema’s greatest directors, but I get to shoot in my hometown, Toronto. I’m used to his work process and each time I do a film with him I get to work with brilliant artists and learn. 

It is known that you have worked with David Cronenberg before in A Dangerous Method (2011) and Cosmopolis (2012), what is it about his style of directing that you like? How would this differ to another directors way of working?

David is a pro. He’s made many films and always surrounds himself with inspired like- minded artists. His sets are calm, and he knows exactly what he wants. He doesn’t fuss,  it’s all about the work. He sets his parameters and then gives you freedom and space to work. Not all directors have the confidence to give actors space to work in this way. That’s what makes him a master. 

Cosmopolis-Sarah-Gadon1

Gadon as Elise Shifrin in ‘Cosmopolis’ . (Courtesy of screenslam.com)

Are there any films you have watched growing up that you credit as having an influence on how you act (if any at all)?

There are many films that have influenced me, it’s hard to pick just one. Definitely ‘The Wizard of OZ’, ‘Cleo from 5 to 7’, ‘The Godfather’,’ American Graffiti’… these are films that made me fall in love with the magic of film and they also changed the way I think about film. 

Last year you worked with David’s son Brandon in Antiviral (2012), is the way he directs similar to his fathers? or was it a completely fresh experience?

The experiences were very different because Brandon was directing his first feature length film. However, I could see that they had the same sensibilities. They both are highly intelligent and have an interest is exploring unconventional themes. 

In 'Antiviral' as Hannah Geist  (Courtesy of shocktillyoudrop.com)

In ‘Antiviral’ as Hannah Geist (Courtesy of shocktillyoudrop.com)

What made you start again in academics and join the Cinema Studies course at the University of Toronto?

I’ve always had a passion for academics. I’ve been working on my degree part time at the University of Toronto. Sometimes I’ll take a semester off or take a light course load, but I love studying film because it keeps me stimulated and engaged in cinema.

Where in the world is the best place you have visited?

The most amazing place I’ve been to for work is Venice. I went there for the first time for the Film Festival when ‘A Dangerous Method’ made its world premiere. It was magnificent, but I’ve been to some cool places for work, Budapest, London, New York, Vienna among others.

Do you have a favorite quote from any poet or artist that you like? What is the meaning behind it?

I have admiration for many artists, Joni Mitchell, Agnes Varda, Silvia Plath. Agnes Varda believed in cinema as a language. I do too. I guess that’s why I love film so much, the meaning behind the images, also what images mean when they flow together in a sequence. 

You have said that you like looking around old antique shops, so what is the best item you have seen in one?

I like to look at furniture. My boyfriend recently got me into chairs.  I’m always thrilled when I find a beat up old Eames chair. I don’t own one, but maybe one day I will. Until then I’ll just sit in them in other people’s shops.

If you could give any advice to young actors who want to make it in the film industry, do you have any pearls of wisdom to give to them?

Study! Study your craft and study yourself. Discipline is an artist’s greatest asset. Sometimes it might not seem like that from the outside looking in. However, the greatest artists I have met, know themselves and are dedicated to their craft.

As Emma Jung in 'A Dangerous Method' (Courtesy of feminema.com)

As Emma Jung in ‘A Dangerous Method’ (Courtesy of feminema.com)

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