A veteran of film, TV and theater, Oliver Platt is one of the key pieces in the ensemble puzzle of 'The Oranges,' playing opposite his former 'West Wing' co-star Allison Janney as Terry Ostroff. When Terry's daughter (Leighton Meester) starts dating his best friend (Hugh Laurie), it throws all of their lives into disarray. But credit Platt and director Julian Farino's unconventional suburban comedy for not taking the obvious route and instead finding off-beat humor in an otherwise tricky situation. And while Terry may be the most subdued of the bunch, he's also the glue that holds the two families (and the movie) together.

On the heels of the movie's Toronto Film Festival premiere, Moviefone talked to Platt about the subversive comedy and why 'The Oranges' just might be the next great Christmas movie.

How'd you enjoy the reaction last night? People seemed to love the movie.
I have to say, I loved it. I was very surprised. You know, this is not just blowing smoke, but the Toronto Film Festival has, amongst the festival community, really has the best reputation [as] the premiere festival audience. They're enthusiastic, film literate. Rooting for movies. Sort of all of the good clichés of a cinematically-disposed population and none of the bad ones. No waiting for people to fail, no sitting back on their heels, you know, show me, show me, show me. It's really nice. It's one of the reasons people love to come here.

This script came with a lot of buzz attached. What did you think when you first read it?
Julian [Farino] sent it to me, and we spent about an hour just talking about it, me walking around my garden in New York and him walking around his garden in Los Angeles. Terry's one of those characters that I perceive and describe as beautifully underwritten. What was very clear to me was the arc of the storyline, thematically and narratively, that was very, very clear in Terry. So it was a great opportunity to hopefully strip [everything] away and show that. The good thing about movies is that it's a visual medium, so the fun thing is to show, instead of tell. It's easy to tell.

Is that something you look for when you chose your roles?
The seven or eight people who pay attention to what I do on a consistent basis will laugh, but I always enjoy opportunities to be more understated and to try to tell stories in more of a subtle way. And I think Terry is a muted character. He's a muted character who sort of sublimates his passion for life. I think his relationship is somewhat dormant and he rediscovers it. The effect that this event has is that it actually wakes him up too, which is the strange and beautiful thing about the movie.

Despite the heavy subject matter -- an affair, a marriage breaking up -- the movie actually has a surprisingly positive attitude.
And that's what is so subversive about the film! I don't think the movie is trying to tell you this is good. The movie is just telling you things are not always what they seem and that morality isn't meant to be simplistic. Which is why I think it's an interesting movie.

Do you think the movie could be a tough sell because of that subversive approach?
I think that that's a really interesting question. I think that it's a trickier sell. But I also think if you can navigate that and get the movie in front of a lot of people, then a lot more people will see it. Because I think that it's actually also a deceptively commercial movie. It's very entertaining.

And a deceptively good holiday movie too. Do you see this as a holiday movie, or is that setting almost incidental?
Well, you know what the funny thing is? The thing about the holidays is there's so much pressure to have a good time, and often we're all so relieved when the holidays are over, not to have to have this smile plastered on my face, tell everybody how much I love them. Of course, that's the best part when you finally get to do that, but celebrating and being joyous automatically, on command for a month -- which is basically in the States what the holiday season is -- it's exhausting!

But in a weird way, I was going to say I think that this is actually a great Christmas movie. And at first I was going to say counterprogramming, but then I go, 'Is this really counterprogramming anymore?' Because this type of dark Christmas movie has actually become a mainstream thing. Because the truth is, this is not 'Bad Santa.' And actually the movie ends up being very uplifting. If you really follow the story and you can get past the conventional morality, I think it's a very uplifting movie. Especially because the movie's not telling you what to say. It's certainly not approving anybody's behavior or disproving anybody's behavior. It's just telling you to keep your eyes open.