Hereditary's Toni Collette 'couldn't watch' The Handmaid's Tale season 2 because it was too violent (exclusive)

Toni Collette is a bonafide scream queen.

The actress has appeared in four horror movies so far in her illustrious near 30-year career; from M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense to Craig Gillespie’s Fright Night and Michael Dougherty’s Krampus but now she’s back with her scariest yet, Hereditary.

The directorial debut for Ari Aster, this horror movie freaked everyone out at both Sundance and Sundance London as it told the horrifying story of the Graham family who find themselves haunted following the death of their grandmother.

“It didn’t feel entirely like a horror film, it felt like this classic, family drama for much of it and obviously it goes on another journey,” Collette explains to Yahoo Movies about why she picked the role.

Toni Collette stars in Hereditary (A24 via AP)
Toni Collette stars in Hereditary (A24 via AP)

“If it had just been horror for the sake of horror I’m not really into that. Fright Night is the most kind of out and out horror film I’ve been a part of and Krampus has a tongue-in-cheek aspect to it, but both The Sixth Sense and Hereditary feel very much based in reality and have a real honesty to them as well.”

Collette might be a scream queen on paper, but that in no way makes her a fan of the genre. In fact, she’s terrified of it. “I don’t watch horror films,” she says. “It’s different when you work on it because, you are entirely aware of what is going on, but I think this film particularly lends itself to the communal, theatrical experience. It is scary.”

The film features a stellar ensemble cast including Gabriel Burn, Alex Wolff and Anne Dowd who many will recognise as Aunt Lydia from the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale, which has recently returned for a second season.

Toni’s co-star Ann Dowd (L) stars in The Handmaid’s Tale as Aunt Lydia
Toni’s co-star Ann Dowd (L) stars in The Handmaid’s Tale as Aunt Lydia

“I did watch the first season,” Toni recalls, “I hadn’t watched it when we had worked together and I’m glad I hadn’t because I might have had a different idea about her, but Ann is incredible.

“She is such a gorgeous person, so open as an actor, she is just completely present and willing to be open about everything, and that’s where spontaneity and real, exciting things can come about. I loved working with her.”

Though Toni is a fan of Dowd, she’s not a fan of the latest season of The Handmaid’s Tale and admits that, like many other viewers, she had to stop watching because the gratuitous violence made her “feel ill.”

“I started to watch season two of The Handmaid’s Tale and I couldn’t watch it because I felt it was too much. I couldn’t do it,” the actress explains. “It made me feel ill. I’m not really very good at watching violence anyway because I’m very sensitive to stuff.

“Some people have a little more ability to take it in, but that’s why I can’t watch horror films either,” she continues. “I’m not really a fan of violence in general but if it’s very much a part, and intrinsic to the story, and of the story, then that’s a different thing.”

Hereditary is out in cinemas this Friday

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