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Shaking off the reserve demanded by her Dangerous Method role, the actress swaps the inhibitions of her Emma Jung character for the modern liberty of Cosmopolis’s Elise Shifrin, the eccentric poet and heiress, whom 28-year-old Eric Packer (Pattinson) put a ring on not 22 days prior to when the narrative action begins.
“She’s an oddball,” says Gadon of Elise. “When I read the script, I almost thought that she was kind of a hermit, even though she is a socialite, because she’s kind of inaccessible. I almost feel like she’s the type of person that doesn’t see the light of day very often.” Detecting a touch of the Grey Garden recluse in her character, Gadon researched “Big Edie’s” generation of atypical socialites for insight into the enigmatic Elise and her relationship with husband Eric. “She doesn’t really surface, she’s just right under the surface. And, I think her interactions with her husband are all about trying to figure out who he is and what the hell he does. I feel like they’re constantly trying to communicate, but they’re speaking two completely different languages,” the actress explains.
A critique on celebrity culture, Antiviral, which co-stars up-and-comer, Caleb Landry Jones (seen later this year in Byzantium starring British A-listers Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Jonny Lee Miller and Sam Riley) was the ideal successor to the pop culture-laden Cosmopolis. “Coming off of the film with David and Rob, it really got my wheels turning about the whole idea of cultural phenomenon, pop stars [and] celebrity-ism.”
Having been plunged into the media shark tank/celebrity blogosphere last summer by rumours circulating about an off-screen romance with co-star Robert Pattinson during the production of Cosmopolis, Gadon knows something of the cultural phenomenon that is R. Patz. “You’d have to be living under a rock not to realize the far reach of his fan base.” Quick to deny the rumours and highlight the brevity of their working relationship (“I get asked so frequently about Rob and working with him, but we didn’t spend very much time together…we did our scene and then left.”), it’s evident the actress is combating the gravitation pull of the R. Patz orbit. “It’s kind of like this whole different force beyond it. I really honestly feel like I exist on a different planet than he does…I do,” she trails off, laughing. “I don’t live in that world…I go home…living in my bachelor apartment, taking the TCC, reading my school work…it’s weird.”
One Tweet from our photo shoot with the actress alerted a mass of Twilight fans across the globe on the hunt for any morsel of information leading them back to the whereabouts of their deity, something Gadon has becoming familiar with since opening her own Twitter account this January. “My Twitter account is open so anyone can follow me, and it’s really not particularly interesting. I tweet things like ‘Going to New York!’ and I have like R. Patz Venezuela saying, ‘Have a great trip’….it’s so bizarre.”
Asked if her glimpse of R.Patz fandemonium has since made her more protective of her personal life, a reverent Gadon insists: “I just don’t think I will ever achieve that sort of fame. It’s reserved for the teen heartthrobs, it doesn’t exist for us ‘normies.’” There’s no feigned humbleness when Gadon shrugs off any possibility of becoming a cultural icon, though readers would do better wagering the opposite, judging from the momentum of the actress’s rising star.
With Cosmopolis rumoured to be an official selection at this year’s Festival de Cannes in mid-May, and Antiviral vying for a spot in the competition, and of course both being optimal possible CanCon selections at this September’s TIFF, it would appear that Gadon is in for a rapturous international film festival season.
Photos by Caitlin Cronenberg