This year marks the 25th anniversary of the film that introduced Toni Collette to American audiences: Muriel’s Wedding. Looking back on the beloved Australian dramedy, the actress cannot believe how much time has passed but is quick to point out just how grateful she is for the project that changed her life “on every level.”
Closer Weekly caught up with the 46-year-old at a special screening hosted by the Australian International Screen Forum in NYC on Thursday, March 21. The Hereditary actress was presented with an award for her work in the film — which was written and directed by Paul John “P.J.” Hogan — and she couldn’t help but get teary-eyed.
Probably best known for her Oscar-winning turn in 1999’s The Sixth Sense, Toni revealed during the Muriel’s Wedding panel that she is confronted on the street with memorable lines from both films. When fans tell her “You’re terrible, Muriel” or “I see dead people” — neither line she actually utters, surprisingly — she said it’s “so touching” and a “beautiful moment” for her.
The ABBA-infused film earned Toni — who was delivering pizzas before taking the part — her first Golden Globe nomination and was successful with both critics and audiences. In Muriel’s Wedding, she plays a socially awkward young woman who dreams of a glamorous wedding and the day she can leave her dead-end hometown for the big city. It’s a classic, for sure.
Scroll down to read our exclusive Q&A with Toni!
Can you believe it’s been 25 years now?
No, actually, I cannot! It’s very bizarre!
How did Muriel’s Wedding change your life?
On every level. I really did have the time of my life making it. We all did. And it didn’t just change my life, it changed everyone’s lives who were involved in it, you know? I love acting. I had loved acting for several years, but it really took off in a way that none of us expected, opened doors for a lot of us. That none of us expected. And I would never, ever have dreamt up the career that I’ve had. Like who was lucky enough to have that kind of longevity? I have to pinch myself. I can’t believe I’m even here, you know?
What was the moment you realized the cultural significance of the movie?
Well, I mean, it really essentially is a tiny little movie from Sydney. And I was walking around the streets of New York and a couple of gay guys came up to me and were just freaking out and I suddenly realized, “Oh, my goodness, I’m on the other side of the planet and someone knows who I am and they’re very aware of this movie!” That was very eye-opening.
When’s the last time you actually watched the movie?
I can’t even remember. It’s been probably a couple of decades ago. Really, it’s that long. So I’m actually a bit nervous [for the screening]. I know it’s a weird thing to say because it’s not like it’s a new movie and we aren’t sure how people are going to take it. But it is an important film for me and for those involved. I’ll probably be [very emotional] at the end!
They’ve done a musical, but do you have any interest in a sequel or revival or Muriel’s Wedding?
I don’t know how that would eventuate [or] what the story would be, but the musical is incredible. I saw it in Sydney the year before last. I have nothing to gain from saying this but it is absolutely amazing. Really, it is.
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