Sarah Polley’s Hollywood Debut
A Candid Conversation With The Canadian Star
Sarah Polley has been acting in film and television since the age of five. She appeared in films like The Adventures of Baron Munchasuen was dubbed “Canada’s Sweetheart” for her starring role in the hit television series The Road To Avonlea. Though she continued acting through her teens, starring in acclaimed films like The Sweet Hereafter, she’s made her career as a writer and director. Her 2006 debut feature, Away From Her, garnered an Best Actress Oscar nomination for star Julie Christie and a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for Polley. Her other films include Take This Waltz and the 2012 documentary Stories We Tell. Polley's latest film, Women Talking, is her first American studio release and features an almost all-female cast, including Rooney Mara and Frances McDormand.
In this interview, Sarah talks about her entire body of film work as well as Run Towards The Danger, a collection of essays she published earlier this year. A longtime political activist with a particular commitment to emotional and physical safeguarding of the casts and crews on her movie sets, she also discusses the complexities of some of the current conversations around #MeToo movement and other social justice movements.
Sarah Polley received an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for her first film as director- Away From Her, based on the short story The Bear Came Over the Mountain by Alice Munro. This film also garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for star Julie Christie. Her next film Take This Waltz starred Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, and Sarah Silverman. Stories We Tell, her documentary which examines secrets and memory in her own family, won Best Documentary Film awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, National Board of Review, and the New York Film Critics Circle, as well as a Writer’s Guild of America award for its screenplay. As an actor, Polley starred in a wide variety of films including Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter (Best Supporting Actress award from the Boston Society of Film Critics), Doug Liman’s Go (Independent Spirit Award nomination), Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, Jaco Van Dormael’s Mr. Nobody opposite Jared Leto, Kathryn Bigelow’s The Weight of Water opposite Ciaran Hinds, David Cronenberg’s Existenz, Isabel Coixet’s The Secret Life of Words and My Life Without Me (Canadian Screen Award, Best Actress), Audrey Wells’ Guinevere, Wim Wenders’ Don’t Come Knocking, Michael Winterbottom’s The Claim, and Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
In 2022, Polley released Run Towards the Danger: Confrontations with a Body of Memory, an autobiographical collection of essays detailing her relationship with her body and how her memory of past and present experiences has contributed to her evolving understanding of self.