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article imageCatherine Keener and Toni Collette discuss 'Enough Said' Special

By Kristal Cooper     Sep 17, 2013 in Entertainment
Toronto - You get the sense, when sitting down to interview Catherine Keener and Toni Collette about their new film Enough Said, that the set of the Nicole Holofcener film was a bit of a lovefest.
Keener and Collette have a sisterly vibe between the two of them and they’re eager to compliment one another’s work on the film. “Toni is a very giving person; as an actor and a person, she’s very giving. You can tell a generous actor when you’re working with them. They try and get you to your good stuff and that’s what she does.” Says Keener, smiling enigmatically. “Well, it takes one to know one.” replies Collette, giving Keener an affectionate shoulder bump.
Praise is equally doled out for their co-stars in Enough Said, Julia Louis-Dreyfus who stars as the scattered but well-meaning protagonist Eva (“She’s so smart and so funny and she was so dedicated.” Says Collette. “Yeah, she’s fantastic. And she makes me laugh!” agrees Keener), as well as James Gandolfini, who passed away unexpectedly this past June, after turning in a heartfelt performance as the film’s romantic lead.
“I think he felt very vulnerable playing someone so vulnerable. I’d not met him before but I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to both meet him and work with him. He was a sweetheart and incredibly generous on and off screen.” reveals Collette while Keener nods and then picks up on the thought, “He was a very humane person. If someone should be blown up as having mythic status, he’d be very deserving of it. It was good to be in his presence.”
Expanding on the idea of what makes for a generous actor, Collette explains, “It’s a matter of being present and open to the exchange and open to the connection because that’s when the exciting stuff happens. You somehow meet in the middle and the unexpected occurs. That’s the best day you can have at the office.”
Keener interjects, “When you’re acting with someone you really need someone to engage with and care about what you’re doing as much as what he or she is doing. Toni is generous and when we worked together she was present with me and cared about doing what she could to make sure that I felt free enough to play. Julia is like that. James was like that too.”
Enough Said is a bit of a departure for writer/director Nicole Holofcener who has become beloved amongst indie movie fans for her quirky, New York-set relationship dramadies that seem almost organic in the way they unfold.
This film however is set in California and has a much more traditional plot structure, this time about a middle-aged masseuse (Louis-Dreyfus) who, at the urging of her best friend (Collette), embarks on a relationship with a lovable bear of a man (Gandolfini) while also unknowingly taking on his bitter ex-wife (Keener) as a client and potential friend.
One aspect of the Holofcener magic that has remained the same however is the crackling, realistic dialogue, just one of the many reasons that Collette was eager to sign on to the film: “Nicole just gets it. She sees life and she’s able to capture it and it’s so exciting to read.” Keener adds, “She’s a really exquisite writer. In the past people would read her scripts in the early stages and kind of miss it because I think they’re used to reading scripts where there’s a lot more delineated. But she writes with such economy and it’s so honest, direct and real for her characters. Her voice is very specific and unique.”
Keener, a veteran of Holofcener’s previous four films, insists that the excellent dialogue is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what draws so many wonderful actors to her decidedly independent projects. “In my experience, if there’s more money involved it becomes more neurotic. But Nicole runs a set that allows you to just be creative. You know what you’re there for which is to just be stimulated and stimulate each other. It’s easy. And the quality’s just so good already that if you just show up and do your work and try to be present, it’s bound to be great.”
For Collette, a fan of Holofcener’s for years, the reality of working with the director more than lived up to her high expectations. “I just loved her films and now having worked with her, I can say in all honesty that she’s pretty f-ckin’ awesome. She just creates this incredible atmosphere where you feel so free as an actor. There are no games. It’s so relaxed…that’s really unusual.”
“Absolutely!” exclaims Keener. “It would be great if other directors took their cues from her.”
Enough Said opens in theatres on September 27, 2013.
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