Her Time is Now: Giselle van der Wiel on Lead Roles, Fame and Playing Characters with an Edge

Giselle van der Wiel
Actress Giselle van der Wiel shot by Sally Flegg

In a time when “Wonder Woman” dominated the box office, Oscar nominee Ava DuVernay and Oscar Award winner Sofia Coppola attracted acclaim left, right and centre, and the “Star Wars” franchise is lead by a female protagonist, there’s no doubt women now represent a powerful force in the entertainment industry. With that being said, all over the world actresses are now being called upon to portray strong women with an edge – gone are the days of being just an ‘ingenue’. Representing Australia’s crop of accomplished performers is ‘it-girl’ Giselle van der Wiel.

“Some people don’t like the phrase ‘it-girl’, taking offense to the term girl. I am proud to be a girl, to be a woman. But, you could just call me an actor,” says Giselle van der Wiel. And a very successful one at that.

Already a familiar face on Australian screens, and known for her work in the dramatic series “Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms” opposite “Westworld” star Luke Hemsworth and “Captain America” actor Callan Mulvey, Giselle offers a formidable presence that will continue to heat up screens even more in the coming year. It’s fortunate then that this Sydney-bred actor, whose cross-cultural background ranges from Uruguayan to Spanish to Dutch, is not too preoccupied with simply building her fame for fame’s sake.

She explains, “It’s not about the fame to me. If it was, I think I would have stopped acting a while ago. To me, it’s about the stories we get to tell and the characters we get to explore as actors. By telling the important stories, we have the opportunity to really impact the lives of our audience. As a child, I grew up learning from the movies I would watch, as an adult I get the opportunity to impact others in the same way. I think that is pretty amazing.”

From working with her, acclaimed directors like Peter Andrikidis, who is known for the critically acclaimed “Janet King” and “Pulse” on ABC, David Fairhurst (“Reaching Distance”) and Kate Halpin have been continually inspired by Giselle’s down-to-earth nature.

“I’ve been very lucky to have been involved with a lot of different projects and worked with a great crop of amazing directors. Each director has taught me something unique about myself as an actor, and as a person,” admits Giselle.

One especially exciting project that Giselle is currently filming is “On Halloween”, a feature film that unfortunately she is unable to discuss in detail. “You can probably guess by the title that it’s in the horror genre – while I can’t say what the film is about, I can tell you it is great to work with a top cast.” They include Terry Serio from “Home and Away” and “Little Fish”, Robert Harrell from ‘General Hospital’ and Ezekial Simat from “Syd2030,” adding to an impressive list of actors with whom Giselle has shared screen-time.

Giselle isn’t barred, however, from talking about all of her upcoming projects. The feature film “Reaching Distance,” pitched as mystery-thriller, concerns Logan, a cynic with a photographic memory who follows his sister’s murderer onto a night-rider bus. As the line between past and present begins to blur, Logan uncovers he has a complex past with much more than one passenger. Giselle, in the role of Chell, plays a crucial part in Logan’s story, and therefore shared critical screen time with Wade Briggs, lead actor from Shonda Rhimes and ABC’s “Still Star-Crossed” and the international-Emmy nominated comedy “Please Like Me.”

The actress says, “Wade is really wonderful to work with. As an actor he gives so much and doesn’t hold back. The rest of the cast and the amazing crew from Screen Ink Media, who are responsible for some of Australia’s recent most acclaimed film projects, were [also] incredible to work with.”

While she has to remain tight-lipped about her upcoming projects shooting in the United States, readers should expect to see her name in bright lights soon enough. Producers and managers have disclosed exclusively to our editors that Giselle is due to start shooting on a new television series, with a revered cast and crew, in the coming months.

In a film landscape where women are now expected to carry stories, and bring attitude to their characters, Giselle certainly earns the title of ‘It-Girl’ with an edge – or perhaps more appropriately, ‘It-Woman’, or better yet, successful, working actor.

“I’m most excited about exploring female characters who are strong and intelligent – and maybe a little bit weird.” She adds with a laugh: “I definitely think I bring that to the table.”

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