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Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: January 8, 1979 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Toronto, Ontario, CA Profession: actor, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Actress-writer-director Sarah Polley's diverse career has taken her from child star in her native Canada to an acclaimed filmmaker and performer, whose refusal to conform to Hollywood conventions allowed her a creative freedom enjoyed by few of her contemporaries. Polley began acting at an early age, but a traumatic experience under director Terry Gilliam in "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1988), a growing disillusionment with the industry, and a series of personal upheavals led a teenage Polley to reconsider her chosen profession during the early 1990s. She returned to deliver an emotionally devastating performance in Atom Egoyan's heartrending drama "The Sweet Hereafter" (1997) and later took part in genre fare such as Zack Snyder's caffeinated zombie remake, "Dawn of the Dead" (2005). A growing interest in filmmaking eventually yielded Polley's debut as a writer-director, "Away from Her" (2006), an affecting drama that garnered widespread critical acclaim. Although she still acted in projects such as the sci-fi horror story "Splice" (2009), Polley continued to grow as a writer-director with her second feature "Take This Waltz" (2011), starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen, and "Stories...

Actress-writer-director Sarah Polley's diverse career has taken her from child star in her native Canada to an acclaimed filmmaker and performer, whose refusal to conform to Hollywood conventions allowed her a creative freedom enjoyed by few of her contemporaries. Polley began acting at an early age, but a traumatic experience under director Terry Gilliam in "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1988), a growing disillusionment with the industry, and a series of personal upheavals led a teenage Polley to reconsider her chosen profession during the early 1990s. She returned to deliver an emotionally devastating performance in Atom Egoyan's heartrending drama "The Sweet Hereafter" (1997) and later took part in genre fare such as Zack Snyder's caffeinated zombie remake, "Dawn of the Dead" (2005). A growing interest in filmmaking eventually yielded Polley's debut as a writer-director, "Away from Her" (2006), an affecting drama that garnered widespread critical acclaim. Although she still acted in projects such as the sci-fi horror story "Splice" (2009), Polley continued to grow as a writer-director with her second feature "Take This Waltz" (2011), starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen, and "Stories We Tell" (2012), an inventive documentary about her own childhood. Immeasurably talented and fiercely independent, Polley bravely continued to pursue her own artistic inclinations as an actor and filmmaker.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
3.
  Don't Think Twice (1999) Director

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Stories We Tell (2012)
3.
 Trigger (2011)
4.
 Splice (2010)
6.
 Mr. Nobody (2009)
7.
8.
 Don't Come Knocking (2005) Cast
10.
 Sugar (2004)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1985:
Made film debut in a bit role in "One Magic Christmas"
1988:
Featured in the TV series "Ramona" (PBS)
1988:
Portrayed Sally Salt in Terry Gilliam's "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen"
1990:
Co-starred as Sara Stanley in the Canadian series "The Road to Avonlea/Avonlea" (aired in the US on The Disney channel)
1994:
Moved out of her parents' home and into her own apartment at age 15
1994:
Acted in her debut stage role as Alice in "Alice Through the Looking Glass," a play based on the Lewis Carroll stories
1994:
First film with Atom Egoyan, "Exotica"
1994:
Underwent surgery for severe scoliosis, a recurring back ailment
1996:
Dropped out of school to devote herself full time to political activism
1996:
Cast as Lily on the CBC television series, "Straight Up"
1997:
Breakthrough screen role in Egoyan's "The Sweet Hereafter"
1998:
Has supporting role in the Canadian feature "Last Night"
1999:
Starred in "Go" and "Guinevere" both of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival
2000:
Wrote, co-produced and directed the short "Don't Think Twice"; premiered at Sundance Film Festival
2004:
Co-starred with Mekhi Phifer and Ving Rhames in "Dawn of the Dead," a remake of the 1978 horror film
2005:
Starred in "The Secret Life of Words," opposite Tim Robbins and Julie Christie
2007:
Feature directing debut, "Away From Her" starring Julie Christie and based on the Alice Munro short story <i>The Bear Came Over the Mountain</i>; also adapted the screenplay; earned an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay
2008:
Portrayed Nabby Adams opposite Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney in the HBO biographical drama "John Adams"
2009:
Co-starred with Jared Leto and Diane Kruger in "Mr. Nobody"
2010:
Co-starred with Adrien Brody in the sci-fi thriller "Splice"
2011:
Directed the drama "Take This Waltz," starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen
2012:
Directed "Stories We Tell," a documentary about her own childhood and family secrets
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"When people ask me what I do, acting is usually the furthest thing from my mind. It's a lack of confidence, in a way--I've hidden my insecurities for so long. . . . Still, for the first time, I'm really enjoying acting. It seems not such a bogus thing to do with your life." --Sarah Polley, quoted in the TORONTO SUN, November 13, 1996

On children going into show business: "I don't blame my parents, because they did everything they could to discourage me. But my kids won't do this, EVER. It's not that It makes you grow up too fast. It stunts your growth. Because you're in a really foolish, false world with completely screwed-up people trying to get ahead. I don't know if it's any place for an adult, let alone a kid." --quoted in "Suddenly Sarah" by Brian D Johnson in MACLEAN'S, September 8, 1997

"It's weird. All of that stuff that got written about me was really an indication of who I was at 16. I was militant. I did take myself too seriously. But that's the problem with deciding not to create an image for yourself: People create one for you. And for the last nine years I've been different, but this humorless, angry person kept coming across in the media."---Polley on her politically active past EW April 2, 2004

Family close complete family listing

father:
Michael Polley. Actor, insurance agent. Born c. 1933; British.
mother:
Diane Polley. Casting director, actor. Died of cancer on January 10, 1990; two days after Polley's 11th birthday.
brother:
Mark Polley. Child actor. Older.

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