Millie Samuels is the first to admit that she’s busy, constantly criss-crossing between different projects and characters. Indeed, what’s perhaps most notable about this young Australian is that she has built an excellent standing for being able to work as an actor across film, television, stage and online content.
“Acting is acting whether for theatre or the screen! The process is the same it is simply understanding how close your audience is. These days people are watching content so closely on their lap tops and are demanding utter truth and transparency which is really exciting to explore as an actor.”
We’re chatting over the phone, and she continues rapid fire. “I’ve been quite lucky that creatives and companies seem to want to work with me again and again. We Aussie’s are a loyal bunch” the blonde actress adds with a touch of Australian wit.
One example of a successful creative partnership is the inextricable role she has played with Peter Andrikidis’ company Zenmost. Andrikidis’, possibly Australia’s most prolific and successful screen directors, cast Millie in the critical role of Mary in Catching Milat, and then again offered her the role of Clare in critically acclaimed feature film Alex and Eve. Peter’s belief in Millie’s ability to deliver an outstanding performance for the latter was so great that he offered her the role without even having to audition her.
“I’ve said this before: I’m really blessed,” Millie reiterates.
In Alex and Eve, Millie shared the screen with fellow Australian actors Andrea Demetriades and Richard Brancatisano – who, like Millie, are well-known as Australians who have reached the top of their profession by playing leading roles in American series. In their case, CBS drama Murder and ABC Family show Chasing Life, respectively. Filming with Peter Andrikidis on a second occasion was only one part in a series of highlights in her journey as a cast member in the fan-favourite feature. The romantic comedy, which currently screens on Foxtel Movies, was one of the most popular films at the Santa Barbara Film Festival in the US in 2016 and also screened at the Cannes Film Festival Cannes Cinéphiles.
A source advised us, “It was a sell out having to turn away more than a hundred patrons!”
Millie explains why she thinks Peter has forged this creative partnership. “Peter appreciated my versality as an actor and recognised that I had strengths in drama and well as comedy. I have also been asked to help facilitate his Masterclasses with Australian Film Television and Radio School which was also an honour.”
Multiple-award-winning actor Simon Elrahi, who played the role of Bassam in Alex and Eve, offered nothing but praise when asked about Millie’s role in the film and why her command of her craft leaves her constantly in demand for acting projects.
“After working with Millie on Alex and Eve I knew I had to cast her in my own (award winning) short film Flow. She is a brave actor with incredible intuitions,” Simon adeptly explains. “I needed Millie’s vivacious energy as part of the cast; the story is very dark and full of tension and Millie was able to bring such great light and ease to balance the dynamics of the film. It was an absolute privilege to work with her.”
Aside from the enjoyable challenge that comes from being able to work with top-tier television talent, Millie relished the commercial and critical acclaim that came with being a part of Andrikidis’ Catching Milat as it enjoyed the highest ratings for free-to-air Australian TV in 2015. It’s no surprise given that the mini-series covered the life of one of Australia’s most notorious serial killers Ivan Milat, with Millie playing the critical role of one of Milat’s first victims, Mary.
“Mary and her friend Therese were the only victims of Milat’s who were able to get away from their kidnapper. My performance was used for the promotion of the series and played an integral part in drawing in a large audience and eventually lead to over 1.4 million views in Australia.” This writer acknowledges that such numbers are unheard of in the Australia market, as the land down-under only has a population of 24 million.
Network Seven no doubt loved the numbers that came from the show, as it helped them take up nearly 28 per cent of all Australian audiences.
While it’s clear though that Millie’s role at Andrikidis’ company will continue to be a lucrative one, her relationship with MetroScreen is a testament to her commitment to her artistry and willingness to challenge herself in grittier independent projects.
MetroScreen, a company that was instrumental in developing community access to video and television production through training, productions and capital investment in equipment and facilities, cast the two-time Heath Ledger Scholarship finalist in two esteemed films: The Passenger and Three Heart.
When asked about the development process, Millie confidently sheds light on the topic. “The films were green lit as a result of my involvement due to my professional credentials. The films required a lead actor with enough credits and experience to be able to push it into film festivals.”
Her casting clearly paid off for the MetroScreen and the producers, as Three Hearts was nominated for an award at the highly-regarded Dances With Films festival and enjoyed a world premiere at the Chinese Theatres in Hollywood, while The Passenger premiered on the ABC network in 2014. The latter added to the strong connection Millie also boasts with the ABC network.
In her closing remarks, Millie is articulate and thoughtful. “As an actor regardless of the medium or the genre I know there is importance in the work we do. As the world becomes increasingly disembodied and dehumanised by fear and greed it is through our work that can bring change. I am able to remind the world of our humanity through the many characters and stories I am so grateful to be apart of.”