The 2011 Ten to Watch: Sarah Gadon

SARAH GADON in The Endings

Each year, Playback puts out a call for the industry to recommend its best and brightest
up-and-coming talent for our 10 to Watch list. With over 100 nominations this year, including only 10 seemed impossible — virtually every nominee deserved to be on the list. The selection represented here is the culmination of careful consideration by Playback’s editorial jury, in association with film, TV and interactive industry execs and organizations. Having already made a splash, these talented 10 are poised for great things. 

Sarah Gadon / actor

Hometown: Toronto
Agency: Creative Drive Artists / William Morris Endeavor Entertainment
Big break: David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method

The buzz: The 24-year-old kicked off her acting career at age 11 with an appearance in La Femme Nikita in 1998, followed by roles in Canadian and U.S. TV series such as Being Erica, The Border, Happy Town and Total Drama Island. But, she professes, her first love is film and it’s a passion she’s been indulging to widespread recognition. In the past two years, she’s seen her name appear on the credits for Jim Sheridan’s Dream House, Mary Harron’s The Moth Diaries and two David Cronenberg films: A Dangerous Method, in which she plays psychologist Carl Jung’s wife Emma, and Cosmopolis, as heartthrob Robert Pattinson’s love interest.

You’ve really exploded onto the feature film scene. what’s changed in your approach to acting?
When you’re a younger actor, you’re just trying to get experience, but when you transition into being an adult, and develop your values as an artist, you can say things like “I really want to work with auteur directors who have an interesting vision, and aren’t tainted by studios or people or big-name producers.” So last year, I worked with Sheridan, Herron and Cronenberg. Those kind of choices aren’t just, “oh lucky me.” They are conscious choices I’m trying to make.

What was it like working with such well-known casts?
For A Dangerous Method, I cast off tape then I found myself on a flight to Germany. I’d never met [David Cronenberg] until our camera test and there were no rehearsals. I was beside myself, working with actors like Keira Knightley and Viggo Mortensen and then to have the added layer of David Cronenberg, it was surreal. I don’t know how I did that!

How would you like to see your career evolve in the future?
I’m a cinephile. If I can, I will always keep working in film. But will film always pay the bills? I don’t know, but I’m trying to find that balance between art and commerce. Everyone struggles with that, whether you’re an actor, writer or director. I’m trying to do projects that I think are interesting, and I’m definitely not opposed to TV. ECA

(Photo: Caitlin Cronenberg)

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