Toni Collette Says Hereditary “Was Actually Really Healthy for Me”

In the years since Hereditary was released, the appreciation for Ari Aster’s directorial debut has only grown, in part because of Toni Collette‘s fearless performance. Loaded with startling imagery and a shoe-in for the best horror movie of 2018, Hereditary has remained a fan-favorite since its release thanks to the grounded intensity that Collette brought to its familial drama. Speaking in a new video for Vanity Fair where she rewatched several of her previous performances, Collette opened up about the appeal of acting in Hereditary for her and also confirmed a surprising detail about one of its most intense scenes.

“I do gravitate towards these stories about loss because it’s the most confronting part of life. We’re here and then we’re gone. And the people we love are here and then they’re gone,” Collette revealed in the video. “Hereditary was actually really healthy for me. It seems like it would be the most intense experience, which it was. But it was the job where I figured out how to clean up. It’s like cooking in the kitchen. Clean as you go. Clean as you go. Because what I have learned is the body doesn’t know what’s fiction and what’s real. So whatever I’m feeling and I don’t know how to not feel it, I work that way. And I like working that way because if I connect with myself, it means audience members will connect with it and then they connect with themselves. And I think connection is actually the most important thing there is.”

Toni Collette went on to address her big monologue, delivered at a dinner scene to co-star Alex Wolff, confirming that there was no rehearsal for the scene before they started shooting. “And there was really no rehearsal, I have to say,” she added. “We talked about it, briefly, one day, in a hotel room in Salt Lake City. And then when we came to shoot scenes, I think Ari just trusted us to, and he hired people who did know. We got it. We knew, we knew. What did they say on Twitter? We knew what the assignment was. (laughs) Yeah. So I came on set, did it a few times. That was it.”

At the time of its release Hereditary was the highest grossing movie ever released by A24 (it’s since been surpassed by Everything Everywhere All At Once). Despite fan insitence that it could get some kind of recognition from The Academy, it failed to earn any Academy Awardr nominations in the year it was released. Heredtiary would earn two nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Female Lead for Collette and Best First Feature. Hereditary did clean up at the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards, winning Best Actress (Toni Collette), Best Wide-Release Film, Best Supporting Actor (Alex Wolff), Best Supporting Actress (Milly Shapiro), and Best Director & Best Screenplay (Ari Aster).