Mike Davies gets instep with Toni Collette...
Like fellow Australian Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette is something of a chameleon, completely disappearing inside the characters she plays.
It's something that has seen her convincingly portray everything from an emotionally repressed geologist in Japanese Story to a woman pretending to be a male cross-dresser in Connie and Carla to stressed out single mothers in both The Sixth Sense and About A Boy, roles which respectively earned her Oscar and BAFTA nominations for Best Supporting Actress.
There's every chance that she'll find her name elevated to the Best Actress category for her latest transformation, that of Rose, the dowdy, insecure, footware obsessed lawyer sister to Cameron Diaz's statuesque Maggie in Curtis Hanson's In Her Shoes.
A five tissue upmarket chick flick tale of sibling love and rivalry, it required Collette to pile on some 28lbs and although she'd previously vowed not to do another film that involved gaining weight, the role was too good to resist.
And those extra pounds were integral to the character.
"The way Rose feels about herself is reflected in her physical appearance," explains a now slimmed down Collette.
"Her body represents the ignored part of her life. She's very confident and capable in the work place because that's where she feels she has control, but it's almost like she doesn't have a personal life.
"She spends her down time taking care of everybody in her family and I think it's the relationships you have with your parents and siblings that shape who you are or how you see yourself."
It's the falling out between Maggie, who suffers from her own lack of self-esteem and uses her sexuality to manipulate people into getting what she wants, that prompts Rose to address her thoughts about her life and re-evaluate what she wants.
"But while that's going on, the one person she loves the most, Maggie, is not there," Collette continues.
"That relationship has to be resolved for both of them to be able to get on happily in their lives, but they also need that time apart to be able to figure out who they are as individuals."
Although the film doesn't labour the point, the sisters' sense of selfworth is very much tied up with the pressures of believing they have to conform to a prescribed image.
"This sense of the ideal image is very weird," she agrees.
"It's like a uniform people are meant to aspire to and while I know it's so fake and has nothing to do with reality, we're constantly presented by these images in the media.
"I live in this 'world' and I'm affected by some of it, but I also try to be strong. Which is another reason I wanted to be a part of this film because it really just blows all that crap out of the water."
And while the film is obviously about sisters who are more alike than they appear, Collette insists that you don't have to be female to relate to the points it's making.
"I know women are bombarded with what they are meant to look like or live like, but it's not just women, it's all people," she insists, rising to the theme.
"We're all given these images which are most of the time very unrealistic and I think it's quite distracting. This film represents a reality that a lot of people relate to, including me."
Rather like in Kinky Boots, the shoes are, of course, metaphors for those feelings Rose finds herself unable to express.
"They're about her just having something that is comforting," she continues.
"It is her pleasure in a life full of no time for herself. Shoes just make her feel good, whether she wears them or not. The great thing is she kind of blossoms into wearing them instead of just buying them.
"She becomes the beauty she admires. That's why I wanted to do this film. Rose does make this huge transformation, letting go a lot of painful feelings, and the heavy weight of the responsibility she has been living with for such a long time. She finally starts to appreciate herself and her life." What then, one has to ask, do Collette's choice of footwear reveal about her?
"I spend my life in trainers and UGG boots and that's terrible," she laughs.
"When duty calls I'm happy to don a pair of lovely high heels, but most of the time I'm just interested in comfort.
"I don't know what that says about me!"
* In Her Shoes opens Nov 11