TORONTO – Catherine Keener may have been nominated for two Oscars, but Quebec phenom Xavier Dolan nabbed the spotlight the first time the pair met up to discuss their new film Elephant Song.
In an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival, Keener described her initial encounter with the celebrated director.
“We met at a coffee shop in Montreal. I had no idea. He is, like, famous in a way in his neighbourhood in Montreal,” said the Capote star. “When I found out about him I was actually talking to a friend of mine who’s French … I said ‘I’m working with this young guy, he’s a director.’ And then she said his name and I said: ‘Yeah, I think that’s it,’ and she was like ‘Oh my God.’”
While Dolan has been showered with accolades for helming films including his auspicious 2009 debut I Killed My Mother, Elephant Song puts his acting chops on full display.
Directed by Charles Biname, it’s an adaptation of a play by Nicolas Billon and tells the story of a psychiatric patient (Dolan) who is suspected of wrongdoing. Bruce Greenwood plays a doctor who tries to unravel what has happened, while Keener is a nurse who has a shrewd insight into the troubled young man.
READ MORE: Xavier Dolan set to star in Montreal-shot film Elephant Song
Dolan is also at the festival with Mommy, which won the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Keener, however, has yet to screen any of her co-star’s other work.
“I still have not seen his movies,” she said. “But I’m going to. I don’t know why, because we became tight, really tight. And I love this kid. He’s just one of a kind as you probably know.”
She added: “I didn’t know that there was such an electricity around one of the components of this movie and then working with him it turned out to be great … there was this kind of kinetic energy. I love him so much. He’s amazing. I’m dying to see his movies, but honestly I like him without ’em. I like him anyway.”
The Toronto International Film Festival wraps Sunday.