The fact that she’s drop-dead gorgeous doesn’t hurt. But it’s Sarah Gadon’s quiet confidence and poise on-screen, most recently in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, that has the Toronto actress’s phone ringing off the hook.
Of course, this week, the 25-year-old is not at home, thank you: She’s walking two red carpets in Cannes – first for Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral, then for Papa Cronenberg’s hotly anticipated Cosmopolis alongside Robert Pattinson.
Clearly, the up-and-comer has a debt to the Cronenbergs. She dishes on how they’ve built up her cred, and on how that’s paying off on her next project, Denis Villeneuve’s his new thriller An Enemy with Jake Gyllenhaal.
This is your first trip to Cannes. And somehow you’ve managed to make it a double whammy.
Initially, I was very excited, very honoured to be going with Cosmopolis. Then I got a call from Brandon, I was a ball of excitement and I said to him, ‘Why did you tell me when I’m on the street car? I can’t jump up and down!’ I’m sure by the time I touch down in Cannes I’ll be a ball of nerves.
How did you end up getting two Cronenberg flicks, anyway?
I guess David liked my work on A Dangerous Method so he asked me to work again. When I got the script for Antiviral, I called Brandon up and said are you sure you want to work with me – because there will be enough comparison to your dad. And he was fabulous. He was so clear in his vision for his film. I was very moved by his passion.
Are their directing styles similar?
David and Brandon are the kind of directors who tailor their direction to each actor they’re working with. And they surround themselves with really incredible people who are talented in their field and very passionate about their work. It sounds simple, but it’s difficult to achieve because directors are working with so many different people on such a large scale.
Speaking of incredible people, you’ve also shared the screen with serious heartthrobs: Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen, Pattinson and now Gyllenhaal. Did that bowl you over?
The way I look at it, I’ve aligned myself with Cronenberg and now Villeneuve, and that’s when I go, OMG. For me as a film student, it’s all about the director and the film process, and I feel honoured to be at these auteurs’ table. I certainly have pinch-me moments.
Right, you’re finishing your undergraduate degree in cinema studies at U of T. How do you juggle?
I don’t plan on school taking a back seat. I’m a part-time student and I plan to finish my degree. I think there are a lot of part-time students, with jobs on the side or stressful careers. I’m certainly not the first person to be working while I’m in university. The only difference is, when I’m working, I’m not necessarily in Toronto.
Has Cronenberg had that impact on your career?
He did elevate my status as an actor in a big way, not just in Canada but internationally. Since A Dangerous Method I’ve had meetings with everyone from J.J. Abrams to the producers of Drive. And they all have the same thing in common, they say: “Wow you worked with Cronenberg.” He gave me instant film cred.
This interview has been condensed and edited.