Jagged Little Pill: Toronto’s Alison Pill lets loose in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Jagged Little Pill: Toronto’s Alison Pill lets loose in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

The Toronto actor lets loose in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Alison Pill has a perfect moon face and two tiny, soft eyes, and at 24, she’s easily mistaken for someone much younger than her age. That girlishness is what makes her standout talent for channelling freakishly tough women memorable. Over the past five years, she has become a Broadway regular, playing an Irish sharpshooter who gleefully blinds cattle and men alike in the black comedy The Lieutenant of Inishmore; a vengeful pedophilia victim in Blackbird; Helen Keller’s tenacious governess in The Miracle Worker; and a tormented ex-con opposite Edie Falco in This Wide Night. (Her breakout Tony-nominated performance in Inishmore had an eerily calm Pill presiding over a pile of corpses and a blood-soaked stage in the final scene.) On TV, in season two of the psychotherapy drama In Treatment, she was a resentful architecture student who refuses to seek help for her cancer.

Pill doesn’t do happy, which is why it’s so strange to see her as Michael Cera’s drummer ex-girlfriend in the gloriously silly Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, out this month. The movie, like the comic book series on which it’s based, is proudly Toronto-centric; Casa Loma and Lee’s Palace make appearances, and the soundtrack features Metric and Broken Social Scene. The shoot meant a rare trip home for Pill, who grew up here, attended Vaughan Road Academy and got her start narrating performances of the Toronto Children’s Chorus in grade school. Scott Pilgrim is part superhero fantasy (complete with splats! and kapows!), part 20-something romance. Pill, her hair dyed bright orange, whales on her kit like a maniac. For once she’s having fun.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is in theatres August 13.

(Photographer: Jody Rogac; Stylist: Julie Ragolia; Dress: Rachel Antonoff; Hair and Makeup: Erin Green)