Hugh Dancy has been keeping busy. After a scene-stealing supporting role in this summer’s “Our Idiot Brother,” Dancy brings two distinctly different films to TIFF. First, he stars alongside Elizabeth Olsen and Sarah Paulson in the harrowing Sundance favorite “Martha Marcy Mae Marlene.” Later in the fest, he’ll be debuting “Hysteria,” about the development of the first vibrator. Metro caught up with British actor during his first of two trips to Toronto for this year’s festival.
You have a couple of films here at the festival.
Yes. First of all, I’m leaving in between the two of them, so it feels like two festivals. I’ll just come back with a whole new set of clothes. And [“Hysteria”] I haven’t seen, so that’s a strange experience. I thought, Well I can try and watch it before, but at this point, when it’s three days away, what’s the point? It’s like having a dress rehearsal for your own execution, you know? You might as well just turn up and put on the blindfold.
So you’re seeing it here?
Yes. In fact, it’s odd. I will be doing press about it before I’ve actually seen it, which is always an odd experience. I will start rehearsing a play in a week and a half in New York. It’s a three-week rehearsal period, so really because of lead times you have to do a lot of the press for it before it’s started. It’s very odd. You’re saying, “Yes, I love my co-workers, they’re deeply sensitive individuals, and we’re really scratching away at the nature of things.” But I haven’t got a clue.
We get a lot of quotes like that about actors working together.
Well, it’s unfortunately boringly true that the majority of people you work with are nice or decent. It took me some time to realize because I was sort of resistant to all my friends being actors — you don’t want to kind of lose yourself in that world. But it does make sense that I would get on with people that have chosen to do the same thing as me, so you’ve got that natural bias. So therefore it takes somebody to be a real p—- to kind of throw things off-balance.
Will you have any time to see anything else while you’re here?
I think the only thing I will get to see is “The Descendants.” That’s about it. I’ve been to TIFF twice, once for “The Jane Austen Book Club,” and then I came again. I didn’t have a movie here, but Clare [Danes] was here with “Me and Orson Welles.” But when I came the first time — which would’ve been four years ago — I arrived in my hotel room to find a pair of pristine, white pajamas with my name stitched into the pocket — “Hugh.” It was very sweet. I still own them. It was from the festival. That’s how this festival has changed! Where are my pajamas?
Maybe they’re saving them for when you come back for “Hysteria.”
Yes, that’s right. “Hysteria” is definitely more of a pajamas kind of a movie.