A brief encounter with actress Sarah Gadon

By Helen Barlow

A few words with actress Sarah Gadon.
Sarah Gadon. Photo / AP
Sarah Gadon. Photo / AP

You've been acting for a long time.

I started when I was 10 but I definitely wasn't a child star. My parents were adamant that I receive an education and I went to fine arts schools from a young age. I was never a series regular on a tlevision show and was exposed to a very limited version of the industry. I experienced a lot of other things growing up. I danced very seriously until I was 18 and I studied film at university until my early 20s when I made A Dangerous Method. Then I started acting full time.

Since your films for David Cronenberg, A Dangerous Method and Cosmopolis, you've developed a more glamorous period look as Olivia in Indignation and Sadie in 11.22.63.

I'm evolving; I'm growing. Someone said to me that Olivia is like a Cronenberg character walking into a Philip Roth novel. I totally agree.

Were you attracted to Philip Roth's writing?

He had women like Sylvia Plath in mind when he wrote the Olivia character and I was interested because I'm a big Sylvia Plath fan.

So I revisited Plath's journals and that had a huge effect on the way I played her.

You've fallen in love on screen with many characters, but interestingly the sexiest of all these roles is in Indignation with Logan Lerman, who is five years your junior and we don't even see a thing when Olivia performs oral sex.

A lot of people I know who saw the film felt embarrassed and awkward - and I think that's so great. It's such a testimony to Philip Roth writing so honestly about those stages that we all go through in life.

The series 11.22.63 is also a literary adaptation as it's based on a Stephen King novel and is made even more high profile as J.J. Abrams produced it.

The idea of a man travelling back in time to prevent JFK's assassination is quite extraordinary and it takes place in a very innocent time. When I read the novel I thought Sadie's story paralleled a kind of coming-of-age for America. But our story in the series was really about falling in love.

After making two American projects you still live in your hometown of Toronto.

I feel a freedom there that I don't feel in Los Angeles. I feel comfortable.

You'd tried to work in Hollywood before but ended up coming home to make Cosmopolis.

The kinds of roles that are usually available to you in Hollywood are as the manic pixie dream girl or the love interest or the ingenue, which I really resisted. I feel like I'm in a different place now and I can access that world in a way that's much more on my terms than it ever was before.

Indignation is part of the New Zealand International Film Festival and will release on DVD later this year. 11.22.63 releases on DVD on August 10.

- Canvas

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