On the Verge: Sarah Gadon

Canadian actress Sarah Gadon’s breakthrough moment.

Photography by Santiago & Mauricio Styled by Patrick Mackie

Sarah Gadon is having trouble describing her first time at the Cannes Film Festival, this past May. “I only have hand gestures,” the effervescent actress says, waving her lunchtime pita and hummus wildly in the air. “It was insane,” she finally manages. Cannes turned into a bit of a coming-out party for the 25-year-old Torontonian, who starred in two films that premiered there—opposite Robert Pattinson in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis (in theaters now) and in his son Brandon’s directorial debut, the forthcoming Antiviral. “She’s beautiful, of course,” says David Cronenberg, who first cast Gadon as Carl Jung’s wife in last year’s A Dangerous Method. “But it’s her intelligence that really comes across.” Gadon is a type he favors: She is the latest in a long line of Cronenberg muses—Naomi Watts and Maria Bello among them— known for playing whip-smart blondes. As aristocratic wife Emma Jung and as a blue-blooded poet in Cosmopolis (an adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel), Gadon has convincingly embodied society women­. The actress had a harder time playing famous. For her role as a media-hounded starlet in Antiviral, she drew from her experience being inside Pattinson’s tabloid bubble. Now she’s savvier, having learned that it’s useful to invent “some kind of public persona.” What’s hers? She smiles slyly: “I’m still figuring that out.”