Spotlight: Sarah Gadon is a model of restraint in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method

Spotlight: Sarah Gadon is a model of restraint in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method

Sarah Gadon
Sarah Gadon

Cinderella stories are among Hollywood’s most clichéd and hollow myths. Yet they keep happening, both onscreen and off. Sarah Gadon should know: in less than a year, the 24-year-old Toronto actor has gone from guest stints on such shows as Being Erica and Murdoch Mysteries to starring in major movies alongside the likes of Michael Fassbender and Robert Pattinson. Gadon’s fairy godmother came in the form of David Cronenberg, who cast her in his next two films. A Dangerous Method, which opens in January, explores the relationship between Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Carl Jung (a jauntily moustachioed Fassbender). Gadon plays Carl’s wife, Emma, who watches her husband sink into a tortuous sexual affair with Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), an emotionally volatile patient. As Spielrein, Knightley has the film’s showiest part—all hysterical screeches and tics—which could easily have eclipsed the quietly suffering Emma. But Gadon brings a heartbreaking intensity to her character, refusing to make Emma a mere victim. “She’s the most rational person in the film,” Gadon says. “For her, the work her husband is doing is so significant that she doesn’t see her relationship as a sacrifice.” Gadon’s next big role is as Pattinson’s brittle young wife in Cosmopolis, Cronenberg’s adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel, due later in 2012. The aloof Elise is nothing like Emma Jung. What links them is Gadon’s sense of control, as embodied in her almost too beautiful face. Cronenberg has made a career of exploring extremes. In Gadon, he has found an actor whose best trick is restraint.

FILM
A Dangerous Method
David Cronenberg
In theatres January