While Emily Gruhl might be the first to concede that she’s had a few lucky breaks, a review of her recent work and history as an actor in her native Australia is a testament to her hard work and craft.
The Queensland native recently joined the cast of “Angel of Mine,” directed by Sundance-director Kim Farrant, best-known for helming award-winning flick “Strangerland” with Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman and Hugo Weaving in 2015. Such is the excellent standing of Emily’s reputation in the entertainment industry, the project marks the third time the two have collaborated in a creative setting. Kim was also involved with the development of Emily’s character in Amazon Prime series “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” in which Emily stars opposite “Game of Thrones” and “Hunger Games” star Natalie Dormer.
“It’s an honour to work with Kim a third time and on such a prestigious project. Kim knows me and my acting exceptionally well after spending a lot of time as my acting coach so it was a huge compliment to myself and my acting that she cast me in her film as it showed me how highly she regards my talent and enjoys working with me.”
It’s not only Kim Farrant’s involvement in the project that has Emily and her fans excited – she’ll also be sharing the screen with BAFTA-nominated “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “Prometheus” star Noomi Rapace. In the role of Courtney, Emily notably plays an antagonist. Emily explains the critical importance of her character’s arc. “There is a dramatic final scene between the two where Courtney is giving Lizzie her final pay check and Lizzie violently grabs Courtney’s wrist and berates her into submission. Without the critical character of Courtney the story would not have the convention to show the emotional fall and the gradual psychological demise of Lizzie’s character.”
Emily, who judged performances in Sydney for performers vying for places in the prestigious Queensland University of Technology Acting course, is also a highly-regarded member of MEAA. Even more impressively, she has recently appeared in leading roles for films “A Note to Self” and “And Though the Music Ended, We Danced on Through the Night.” Both films garnered praise for Emily’s gripping performances and an award nomination for Best Actress.
Produced by Initi8 Productions, “A Note to Self” male lead actor Alastair Osment – best known for his work on “Home and Away” and Oscar-winner Jane Campion’s show “Top of the Lake” – sung praises about his co-star.
“Emily is a profound actor with an unparalleled level of depth and emotion. I have worked with some of the world’s best and I can attest to her extraordinary ability.
In “A Note to Self,” Emily plays Natalie – a young woman concealing a dark secret from a new love interest over the course of one night. The film, similar in style to Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise” trilogy, also touches on alcoholism and grief and thus demanded a performer who could bring a social awareness and credibility that went beyond their youth. Emily, as described by Alastair, brought that in spades. He added, “Emily is also characterised by a strong craft refined over her many years at the top of her field in Australia.”
Producer of “And Though the Music Ended”, Aaron Bush, offered similar compliments for the actress who has clearly built a reputation for being an old soul.
“The role of Abigail was an incredibly challenging one – we explored topics of grief and mental illness in the short film and we needed an actor of the highest quality to pull of this incredibly complex role.”
It probably helped that Emily shared screen-time with veteran actors Tom E. Lewis (“Wolf Creek”) and AACTA-winner Debra Lawrance (Pivot’s “Please Like Me”). In doing so, and upon viewing the film, it’s clear that Emily was able to not only hold her own alongside such seasoned professionals, but also enhance the film’s compelling qualities because of the captivating ways in which she holds a frame.
“Emily was able to access these dark places within herself and also draw the audience in to empathise with her – [this] was absolutely vital to the success of the production,” said Aaron.
Indeed, audiences around the world enjoyed Emily’s lead performance in “And Though the Music Ended” because the project screened at numerous prestigious festivals, such as the Orlando Film Festival, the Rome Film Awards and the Porteurs d’Images in Mauritius.
It therefore makes sense that Aaron further stressed, “Emily’s depth and complexity as a young actress can only be paralleled to that of the world’s best.”
Adding to that, it’s clear that the role of Abigail was critical to the success of the project. Sources explain, “the whole story was centered around three very different characters that are each connected to their own grief though a different form of technology. For Joanne it’s her son’s phone, for Percy it’s his computer with the videos of his history and for Abigail it’s cyber hacking technology. Without Abigail [and Emily’s performance], the film would not have made any sense.”
Audiences should therefore look forward to her work in “Angel of Mine” when it has a wide International release in 2019. The film has already been to the European Film Market in Berlin to be pre-sold.
Don’t limit Emily to just playing roles in dramatic parts though. Her agent Simon Whipp from Shanahan Management – who boasts Oscar-winners Nicole Kidman and Geoffrey Rush as clients – attests to Emily’s range.
“As a performer Emily strives to push herself outside of her comfort zone, continually surpassing people’s expectations.”
“Emily has exceptional range as an actor. Her projects are of vastly different genres and styles, and her acting transcends across comedy, romance, drama and thriller.”