Toni Collette On Why Female ‘Dominance’ Is Really Just Equality

The star talks to marie claire Australia ahead of the launch of her new series, 'The Power'.
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Toni Collette has played a lot of fiercely independent women over the years, but her new TV series The Power sees that concept get supercharged.

The Australian actor plays the imitable Margot Cleary-Lopez, an American mayor whose life turns upside down when teenage girls across the planet start to develop a special ‘power’, where they can send electrical currents from their fingertips.

Naturally, this sways existing power structures in the patriarchal society, granting women the physical strength to stand up to, or even kill, those that oppress them.

What Is Prime Video’s The Power About?

Toni Collette in Prime Video’s ‘The Power’. (Credit: Image: Supplied)

The series is actually an adaptation of a much-loved novel of the same name, by Naomi Alderton. In advance of the first episode, we sat down with Collette to talk about gender roles and what it was like to toy with the idea of a matriarchal society.

Collette admits that the plotline immediately hooked her when it came to signing on to a project like The Power.

“It’s an immediately intriguing premise,” she tells marie claire Australia. “It entertains the idea of potential equality. This is huge.”

Is The Power About Women Becoming The Dominant Sex?

Women may have the ‘power’ but Collette sees it as an equaliser. (Credit: Image: Supplied)

While much of the plot line seems to revolve around the dominance of women, Collette doesn’t agree that they become the ‘dominant sex’. She thinks, instead, it’s about becoming equal.

“It’s fascinating to me that people are framing the show as a story about women becoming the dominant sex,” she says. “It’s actually about women feeling good, safe, free and autonomous in themselves.

“It’s about equality. Not dominance. But we’re all so used to living with imbalance that some see women coming into their own power as a threat, a swing of imbalance. Interesting isn’t it?”

For Collette, it is important to discuss the way power manifests through a gendered lens and, in turn, acknowledge the way our patriarchal society normalises inequality.

“We were all born into a society, a system, which historically accepted and assumed certain roles and positions,” she explains. “[This system] celebrated men in power and often put women in subservient positions. These structures were rarely questioned in the past.

“It’s such an exciting time to live in now that everything we grew up automatically accepting as normal is being pulled apart and questioned. It can only lead to a more conscious world.”

It’s Collette’s belief that awareness of the structures that inhibit women, will lead to a kinder world of more “acceptance, inclusivity, and peace”.

How Does The Power Deal With Difficult Topics, Like The Abuse Of Women?

The series covers some deep topics, including the abuse of women. (Credit: Image: Supplied)

While The Power focuses on women manifesting physical powers, it also details the struggles they went through before the change—specifically, abuse.

“We see women and girls being physically dominated by older, stronger men. We see girls who have nobody to believe in them, support or encourage them. Nobody to lift them up. They have either been physically or emotionally abused, and/or abandoned,” she explains.

Interestingly in the series, those that have been downtrodden by another’s power are the most likely to use their newfound electrical abilities in a damaging way.

“These girls are the ones who are a bit lost regarding how to use their amazing new power,” she says. “We see hugely successful, smart, engaging women still at the mercy of a misogynistic culture.”

On her character, Mayor Margot, Collette admits there was a lot to relate to, and a lot she learnt.

“I am passionate and I fight for what’s right” she says. “I admire those who fight the good fight at that political level, I just could not do that. When someone actually has the right intentions and can actually get amongst it and be relatable and make people feel heard and make a difference, it’s a big deal. Especially in crisis.”

“I relate to being the breadwinner in the family. I relate to trying to balance motherhood and a career. That’s a big one for me because both take my entire attention and energy,” she adds.

For Collette, The Power was a brilliant opportunity to work with a range of women across different ages, backgrounds and upbringings. It’s an experience she calls “excellent”. “There are so many diverse female characters,” she adds. “So many talented actors.”

Who Is In The Cast Of The Power?

Toni Collette plays the Mayor. (Credit: Image: Supplied)

The Power features a brilliant and diverse cast, of which Australian actor Toni Collette is proud to be a part. Key roles include:

  • Toni Collette stars as Mayor Margot Cleary-Lopez
  • John Leguizamo as Rob Lopez, Margot’s partner
  • Auli’i Cravalho as Jos Cleary-Lopez, Margot’s daughter
  • Toheeb Jimoh as Tunde Ojo, a Nigerian reporter covering the ‘power’
  • Josh Charles as Daniel Dandon, the Governor and Margot’s boss
  • Eddie Marsan as Bernie Monke, a British crime boss
  • Ria Zmitrowicz as Roxy Monke, Bernie’s daughter
  • Zrinka Cvitešić as Tatiana Moskalev, the President of Moldova
  • Halle Bush as Allie Montgomery, a foster child

What Is The Release Date Of The Power?

(Credit: Image: Supplied)

Prime Video’s The Power will be officially released for seven episodes, from 31st March 2023.

Where Can I Watch ‘The Power’?

Stream it now on Amazon Primelive and on demand with a 30 day FREE trial. 

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