Category: Interviews

Sarah Gadon’s Super Simple Cure For Insta-Envy & The Best Part Of Starring In ‘True Detective’ Season 3

Since breaking out as the unofficial muse of Canadian auteur David Cronenberg, Sarah Gadon has done a little bit of everything — multiple Canadian indies, a Spiderman movie, and last year’s critically acclaimed Alias Gracemini series, which nabbed her a Canadian Screen Award for best performance. Up next, the Toronto-born 31-year-old will appear in the new season of True Detective (beginning January 13), playing a true crime reporter opposite Mahershala Ali. It’s yet another interesting career move from an actor who isn’t up for the typical “pretty girl” roles. In advance of the show’s premiere, Gadon spoke with Refinery29 about how True Detective changed TV, her wack New Year’s Eve wellness ritual, and why even celebrities suffer from Insta-envy.

I follow you on Instagram, so first thing’s first: Can you explain why you spent NYE in an ottoman?
Ha! We were at a dinner party at a friend’s place in Vancouver. It was actually his parent’s house, and he told us about this game that he played growing up where everyone in his family would get into the ottoman. So we decided to do it, but with a New Year’s theme, so you had to get in, we closed the ottoman for 10 seconds, and then you had to burst out and yell what your focus of the new year was going to be.

That’s some X-treme wellness. As a Toronto person, I have to say it sounds very Vancouver.
It is totally the most Vancouver thing you could ever do. It was like a re-birth. It was actually really fun.

What did you yell out?
“Year of the breath: never shallow, always deep.” That was my tagline. I’ve been focusing on breath in my work for the past year, so this is about carrying it into my life.

Meaning like, slow down, take time to breath?
In a personal context, yes. In work, I started studying with Lindy Davies a couple of years ago who is an acting coach. She does a lot of breath work. I trained as a dancer for most of my life and the breathing in dancing is completely different than with acting, so I basically had to retrain my body to breath from my diaphragm. It helps you to remain present and manage emotion.
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Sarah Gadon on Becoming the Next Margaret Atwood Heroine

Sarah Gadon’s latest project was at once the hardest thing she’s ever done and a “mind f–k all the time” at that. Luckily for the actress, the shoot schedule in her native Toronto meant both the comforts of her own bed to crash into each night and, of course, some help from mom.

“I don’t think I would’ve made it through the project if I didn’t get to sleep in my own bed and have my mom help me out,” she says.

Gadon is the lead character Grace Marks in “Alias Grace,” the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel, which comes to Netflix on Nov. 3 on the heels of the Emmy-winning success of the Atwood-adaptation “Handmaid’s Tale,” done for Hulu.

The series tells the true story of Marks, a Northern Irish immigrant who worked as a housemaid in Upper Canada and was convicted of a double murder and imprisoned at the age of 16.

“The trial was totally sensationalized in the media — it was that generation’s version of the OJ Simpson trial. She was made infamous because she was this young working class girl who murdered above her station,” Gadon says.

That quest for her true identity is entirely what drew the actress to the project.
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Toronto Life Q&A with Sarah Gadon

In the new CBC/Netflix series Alias Grace, Sarah Gadon plays Grace Marks, a real-life 19th-century housemaid who was convicted of murdering her employer and his mistress, spent almost three decades in the Kingston Penitentiary and eventually received a pardon. The six-part series is based on the 1997 historical novel by Margaret Atwood (maybe you’ve heard of her) and came together under producer Sarah Polley, who also wrote the screenplay. We spoke to Gadon—a former TIFF Rising Star and unofficial David Cronenberg muse—about what it was like to play an infamous murderess, how she handles selfie-seeking fans and why Margaret Atwood doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to sex.

How did you get involved with the project?
My agent sent me the script. When I saw it was a Sarah Polley project, I flipped out. Growing up in Toronto, I had always looked up to her as an actress, and I’ve watched her evolve into a director, producer and writer. I’ve always carried around a secret dream that maybe one day I might get to work with her. When I read the script, I instantly knew this was going to be really special and smart because Sarah is those two things.

Did you have to audition?
Yes. I met Sarah and Mary [Harron, the director,] the next day for lunch. Sarah told me how she had read the book when she was 17 and how it was the most important piece of literature in her life. She said, “I feel like this book has informed everything I have done since I read it.” And I thought, Oh God.
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Buzz for ‘Alias Grace’ makes Toronto’s Sarah Gadon feel like a “silly pretender”

By 3:45 on Wednesday, Sarah Gadon and Edward Holcroft had been shuffled around Toronto’s new Bisha Hotel by publicists for hours.

It was the last day before the TIFF premiere of Alias Grace — the new miniseries from CBC and Netflix, based on Margaret Atwood’s Giller Prize-winning novel of the same name. And despite the co-stars’ glittering résumés, for Toronto-born Gadon, doing the whole press-and-publicity dance in her hometown is weird.

“I woke up today in my own bed, then I go put on some fancy clothes and go around a hotel,” said Gadon, 30, who was named one of TIFF’s “Rising Stars” in 2012. “It makes me feel like a silly pretender.”

Her family would be in the audience for Thursday’s premiere at the Winter Garden Theatre. More likely than not, she added, she’d know the festival volunteers working the event.

“It’s kind of like being the home team playing the home game,” she said.

And though their newest project is a brooding, gothic take on the real-life 19th-century story of accused murderer Grace Marks, Gadon and Holcroft’s interactions were light and teasing on Wednesday afternoon.

Read the full article on The Star.

Behind the Scenes of NOW’s ‘Alias Grace’ Cover Shoot