Campbell Greenock is a great example of the new wave of young actors marking their acting spots on different platforms and mediums in Australia and throughout the world. These days, more and more Aussies are taking over starring roles in major US TV and movie productions to top the credit rolls.
The talent, originally from Heath Ledger’s home city of Perth, boasts the same agents as Chris and Liam Hemsworth, and knows how to breathe life into his roles with just the right portion of exposing the vulnerability of his character and does it well. Mastering his talent, he has appeared in a lot of films that have paved him the way towards an international career path.
One of the most memorable leads he has performed so far was Brett Whiteley in the hit feature, Whiteley, which portrays the outstanding life of an Australian icon who has shaped the art world as we know it.
Taking on the role was a no-brainer for Campbell, yet also somewhat intimidating.
“Whenever you are playing a real-life person, as an actor, you want to give it your all to do that person justice,” Campbell notes.
“Those parts in particular require a whole lot of research and studying the material on the subject of the story which eventually will pay off. It is absolutely necessary to familiarize with the character as much as possible so that I understand that person’s mentality. In my opinion, it’s critical for an actor to prepare for roles like these in order to deliver an authentic performance.”
Distilling his thoughts even further, Campbell remarks: “It was an honor to be part of keeping the legendary Brett alive.”
Naturally, this doesn’t apply to all sorts of roles. Campbell should know, since he is known for accepting parts that are nothing alike to previous ones he has played. It is a risky challenge that could go wrong but the challenge in each of those performances only further boosts his confidence.
“Throwing myself into roles that I have never taken on before keeps me on my feet and constantly refining my acting skills,” the unique red-head humbly notes.
He can currently be seen on the hit 9Go! comedy series ‘Metro Sexual’, starring alongside comedian Geraldine Hickey (RRR ‘Breakfasters’, Tonightly). The story is set in a disaster-prone sexual health clinic. The show is filmed in a mockumentary format and follows the lives of the sardonic personnel as it navigates government cuts and all sorts of diseases.
These are merely a few of his many accomplishments in the industry that have catapulted his career to heights he had only dreamed of when he was only a young performing arts student in his home country.
What comes next for the ambitious actor?
At this point, one thing is for certain, Campbell won’t have much free time as he has received many offers for projects shooting in the United States. Some of these are due to film in the City of Angels itself, boasting a producing team who have worked with the likes of Lucy Fry and Kong: Skull Island actor Thomas Mann
When asked about how Hollywood has already embraced him, before he has even worked there, Campbell simply states: “I am utterly excited to collaborate with Hollywood’s elite and star in big productions that give me the opportunity to contribute to create the best possible content across all media platforms.”
It won’t be hard to keep your eyes open for this Aussie – there’ll be many reasons to across the next few years.
As the media landscape changes on a continual basis, so do the standards which have long defined beauty since the birth of modern media. Once considered the apex of traditional femininity, beauty pageants specifically have had to find a different place in the market in such ways that resonate with the traditions of times past, and point towards the future.
Multi-award winning beauty pageant queen Joanna Borov is the perfect example of how beauty pageants are not the hallmarks of women vying for attention, but empowered creative individuals who have found an empowering platform for their interest in philanthropy and fashion. The busy jet-setter, who was awarded a Masters degree in Fashion from the University of Arts London, has kindly offered us her insights into how her career, pageants and fashion have coalesced.
“I have been very lucky to build a lot of publicity and popularity throughout Europe, South America and Asia for my participation in a number of pageants, it’s helped me forge some incredible collaborative relationships with a number of people I admire.”
One of those people is innovative and acclaimed fashion designer Will Franco, an industry powerhouse with whom Joanna will collaborate on a number of campaign and publicity related duties in the United States.
“Will’s company asserts itself in the market in a really creative way, and it’s truly empowering to be a part of it as a model – not just a face, but someone actively involved in the creative strategy of campaigns and business,” Joanna elaborates.
Further into our discussion, Joanna explains how Will spotted her because she won prizes at many notable beauty pageants, including World Beauty Queen and Miss Motors Formula 1, the latter of which lead her to being profiled in 32 magazines worldwide and 15 TV stations, including ITV, BBC and CNN. The annual event, which boasted the attendance of celebrities like Luke White and Jordan Wright, has enjoyed sponsors and company association such as BMW, Lamborghini London, Luxor Gold and Pilsner London.
“I felt very lucky to be a part of that event,” Borov explains.
To be given a prize by the Miss Motors Formula 1, which hosts over 200 casting sessions throughout Europe to find its eventual winner, is no small feat – the winner is awarded a trip to the Monaco Grand Prix worth £10 000, material awards from sponsors, an opportunity to participate in Grand Prix all over the world including in the UK and Abu Dhabi, press exposure, and an invitation to many prestigious events throughout Europe.
In an even stronger testament to how well-respected she is in the arts industry, Joanna has been asked to judge beauty pageant too – further cementing her status as one of Europe’s top models.
Of course, it’s not just a series of photoshoots and catwalks which has lead to a watershed career moment such as this. Joanna, as someone focused on more than just physical beauty, has had to develop meaningful business relationships with key creatives, understand advertising, appreciate and perfect skills in brand ambassadorships, and ultimately position herself as a conduit through which the public and consumers see themselves.
It is this universal appeal that has positioned her to be the face of Will Franco’s upcoming winter collection and beyond, requiring her to star in a number of fashion shows, commercial photo shoots, billboards and editorials centering around LA Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week and face-to-face presenting collections within and outside the United States over the next three years.
The distinguished nature of Will’s company is self-evident. After graduating with honors in Fashion Design and Merchandising in CSULB, Franco has shown at LA Fashion Week, Palm Springs Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, New York fashion Week and featured in New Face Magazine, Vuez Magazine New York, Elegant Magazine and Teen Cruze. The list, as it were, goes on, exhaustingly so – but not too exhausting for someone with the one-of-a-kind and incredible talents and work ethic of Joanna Borov.
“My parents always told me to never rest on my laurels, and I think it’s important to match skill and talent with ambition and hard-work,” she says.
This hard work was most obviously reflected in her judging experience in Argentina, where she was invited to oversee and evaluate the merits of top South American models participating in Miss Film Festival International Argentina 2019.
Other judges, which reinforce the esteemed standing of Borov’s career, were Miss Universe Argentina 2015 Claudia Barrionauevo, international journalist Renato Russo and assisted by the presenting styles of Argentinian star Hernan Drago.
“It was very fun,” Borov explains. What was most exciting for Joanna was how she was able to support another model rising through the ranks as she did years prior, as the winner was flown to the Cannes Film Festival.
Supported by the local government, and sponsored by many brands including Bodega Puna, Dakota and others, the event was screened on live TV and profiled by Argentinian news and magazines, further elevating Borov’s profile in the region.
“I’m excited to perhaps do more of that type of work in the future, but for now, I want to enjoy the start of my work with Will, and other endeavours in the US – it’s a great time to be a part of a changing industry,” Joanna states with a smile.
Upon meeting Alina Nastase, her bubbly and warm nature is immediately apparent.
“I’ve always liked meeting new people, it’s why I’m an actress. I’m curious about how other people live their lives, and what motivates them to make certain decisions that will make them who they are, and that’s amazing to be able to explore and learn from it in my own life too”
The Ginger beauty speaks with the hint of an accent, a distinct marker of her Romanian-Spanish heritage which is clearly becoming an attractive feature in generating the interest of directors and producers who are clamoring to work with her.
“It is hard to learn the American English accent initially, but I am very lucky that I can speak multiple languages and work as an actor all over the world. The challenge of learning other languages has ultimately been worth it, and i’m motivated to keep learning more languages”
Indeed, Nastase’s multilingual capabilities are one of many characteristics which sets her apart from other actors who might simply trade on their looks. Nastase craves the exploration of human empathy and imagination in serving her roles. This hunger has unsurprisingly led her to being signed on for some exciting projects shooting in the United States.
Her managers and agents speak proudly when discussing their client, as they recall first impressions on their big expectations when they first signed the committed artist. These agents are the same who have also helped facilitate her engagements in two feature films shooting across the US. Each will make the most of Nastase’s European heritage and give the actress an opportunity to showcase her range.
The first involves her working with producers who have previously collaborated with Funny or Die, in a feature film titled Reunion. The second, a sci-fi drama, called The Next Earth, which poses the question of how humanity can survive if planet Earth as we know it does not.
The fact Alina is due to be working in different genres and exploring completely different characters is nothing new to European audiences, as existing in the polarity of these extremes is one of the hallmarks of her career.
Indeed, she has flourished in comedic roles before – as she did in the Warner Bros’ feature Villaviciosa de a Lado where she played the memorable character Simone, a prostitute with a heart of gold.
“I loved that movie so much – it was so much fun and everyone was so nice. I love comedies like this one, especially because this one was based on a true story”
Alina’s portrayal of Simone as a naive and warmhearted person went against both the writers’ and producers’ expectations, so much so that out of the hundreds of girls who auditioned, it was only she who could have played the role.
The experience in comedy will serve the actress well when she steps up to play Brittany Smyth in Reunion, where she will play the more beautiful and successful version of a character in a story that will explore success and why similar people with similar attributes still find varying levels of success.
“I am very excited about Reunion – it should be a lot of fun.”
Alina’s experience in the sci-fi world has set a strong foundation for another upcoming role in the US, in the project The Next Earth. Indeed, she notable appeared in the dark fantasy drama Vampyres in the starring role of Ann.
“Vampyres” was a hard shoot because it was emotionally demanding, but the pay-off was worth it.”
Shooting across Tulsa and California for The Next Earth will also allow Nastase to explore parts of the US as a tourist, as much as an artist.
“I love exploring different parts of the world, that’s what is so great about being an actor.”
Award-winning British actor Jack Loy is used to attracting attention.
The 6’4” performer, known to worldwide audiences for his acclaimed work in ‘Jenifa’s Diary’ and the recent British crime flick ‘King of Crime’, nevertheless embodies the humility of someone shorter in both resume and height.
Such is the integrity of this artist though, that, while a towering presence on both screen and in real life, Jack is more concerned with leaving anyone with whom his work comes in contact feeling better for the experience.
“I think one of the best things about acting is that you get the opportunity to entertain people.”
The trained thespian, of part Indian heritage, goes a little further.
This might be by bringing a smile to their faces and an opportunity to escape ‘real life’ or it could be something that inspires new ideas and thoughts.”
It’s clear that this attitude at leaving a positive impression on people has helped Loy in more ways than one. Most obviously, Loy recently won the Best UK Actor Award from the London International Motion Picture Awards for his leading role as Nick in the film Beautiful In The Morning.
The most obvious of these is that Loy is consistently cast in a number of impressive productions all over the world, with a number of filmmakers jumping at the chance to work with him.
In the past few years, the stages and screens of the UK, India and Russia have been blessed with Loy’s presence. Next stop? The US.
“I’m really excited to be entering the U.S market. It’s surely the biggest acting market in the world.”
Loy is attached to a number of US projects, including one involving him filming across Nevada and Los Angeles. The role will call for him to use his well-known charm with a dose of darkness.
William Prescott, who currently appears across two seasons of the Netflix hit series Glitch, is also widely seen in huge campaigns for companies for Ford, Sportsbet and VB.
When William Prescott started acting, he wanted to do it all. Every genre, every type of character, every medium.
It’s rarely the case that actors’ dreams actually come to fruition, but in the case of this Melbourne local who’s now bound for the United States, William’s career has enjoyed the dreams of many a fellow actor.
“I worked in an office for 10 years before finally getting my acting going. I didn’t start until I was 27 and it takes time to build it to a financially sustainable place. Eventually I quit the office life for good. I’m so grateful that I now get to just do what I love doing full time with no more Monday dread!”
The versatility of the acclaimed actor’s talents, which have treaded the boards for Q44 Theatre Company and shared screen-time with other award-winning Australian actors, is reflected in the dynamism of his project choices and the wide variety of roles he continues to play.
In the series Glitch, William embodies the role of Connor Carmichael with such considerable edge that only someone of his left-of-centre awareness, reminiscent of actors like Joaquin Phoenix and Christian Bale, could do so.
In one scene in this year’s new season of Glitch, William’s character of Connor returns to an unexpectedly hostile reception from “Phil” played by award winning actor Rob Collins. Without giving too much away, William plays the bumbling and friendly Connor to perfection and expertly showcases fear, panic, comedy and drama. When watching the series, it’s clear that William manages to do it all seamlessly across the two seasons.
William’s role appears across two seasons.
William delivered an affable charm in his ongoing role of Connor Carmichael in Netflix series Glitch
William delivered an affable charm in his ongoing role of Connor Carmichael in Netflix series Glitch
William’s role appears across two seasons.
Also significant is the way William continues to play starring roles in campaigns for iconic Australian company Dare Iced Coffee on one end, and in another for McCain Chips. It’s no surprise that he is a firm favourite for these multinational companies and their big advertising budgets, as William naturally embodies an everyman charm which continues to posit him as an audience favourite.
“I love comedy. It’s where my acting naturally sits. I find myself gravitating towards it even in drama because often it’s where the truth lies. I don’t need to think too hard about it and I find that so long as it’s not forced, making people laugh means they’re connecting to the story you’re telling.”
In an increasingly saturated media landscape, it’s rare for an actor to make a living full-time off their craft, but William is one of the lucky few who benefit from prioritising ability over the pursuit of fame or celebrity. Indeed, when examining his resume which includes critical roles in shows like Movement with Maria Angelica and The Time of Our Lives with Shane Jacobsen and Claudia Karvan (Love My Way), it’s clear that William has bided his time in forging relationships with revered industry figures.
“I worked with Shane Jacobson on The Time of Our Lives and I just remember how much he had everyone on set laughing…I was nervous. He had me at ease and sharing some banter quickly and I thought – that’s how I want to operate in the industry. I want it to be fun, all the time, even when it’s hard work.”
It’s no doubt the case that William has played a crucial role for companies like McCain and Dare given the lasting impression his hilarious performances in their campaigns leave on the minds of audiences, shaping the way the company is perceived.
Funnily enough, William has experience playing two characters in the same project, as he did with brilliant comedic timing in Tom Cruise Disorder and The Next Big Thing. Both performances attracted notices from top industry figures.
Justin Rupple, American actor and comedian known for his celebrity impressions and work in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and his performance alongside Liam Neeson in the 2016 film Operation Chromite said “William’s Tom Cruise performance in TCD might be one of the best impressions I’ve ever seen.”
The two are looking to collaborate in the US together soon on a comedy project.
Aside from the critical acclaim such performances generate, William’s roles in campaigns like McCain, Dare and also Sportsbet reflect a considerable degree of success in helping the Australian companies generate a substantial return for stakeholders and investors.
Indeed, each campaign has seen a return or increase in a customer base, a commercial accomplishment that can without a doubt be attributed back to the memorable performances of William.
“I remember the first time I performed in the ABC series Glitch in season 2, I really didn’t know anyone. I had a scene with Hannah Monson who I hadn’t met before. The first time we did meet was 3 mins before we filmed the scene during a rehearsal. Fortunately she was a total champion as was everyone else. But walking out onto the outdoor set and meeting everyone, thinking about the scene, the lines, etc. It tests your ability to focus on the reason you’re there – to help tell a story.”
William’s performances in other projects, like his memorable turns as Teddy in Beat Bugs or as Sam in Lucky Stryke alongside Leticia Monaghan (Neighbours) and Mark Kenfield (Underbelly). In those projects, William’s abilities to deliver short sharp bursts of comedy were readily apparent. More than that, William stole every scene he was in much the same way he continues to do so with all the campaigns that currently air all over the world.
“When I get cast in something, anything, I just feel grateful. It goes back to the office stuff for me. This acting life is all just one big game that I get paid to play. It’s a reminder that I don’t need to be unhappy in my working life. I don’t believe that anybody does.”
It’s no surprise that William has been offered work in the US – the specifics of the projects are under wraps, but it goes without saying that this hard-working actor is excited.
“I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to work in the U.S. It’s going to be an adventure and I’m interested to see where it takes my career. I’m open to all possibilities.”
It’s become standard for well-known actors to represent companies in huge commercial campaigns.
Acclaimed actor Zara Michales however does things a little differently. While Australians have seen her image plastered across TV and computer screens all over the country (and by extension, around the world) for Colonial First State’s savings campaign, Zara distinguished herself from fellow Aussie and The Mentalist star Simon Baker (himself known for fronting bank ANZ) by including her family in the campaign as well.
It was a personal touch such as this which speaks to the integrity around which Zara’s career has been built – only taking on projects if she has a personal connection to them, rather than serving her ego. And it’s for this reason that she was tipped for a profile in our publication as an artist making an impact in all the right ways, through creative choices that help make the entertainment industry a better one to work in.
“I think it’s really important to only do things that you’re going to be proud of, and the Colonial campaign was one I knew I could look back on with fondness because I got to work with my parents – how good is that?”
She adds with a laugh, “I mean, everyone’s parents drive them crazy sometimes but they’ve been so supportive of me over the years so I knew it was really awesome to spend time on set with them.”
Zara’s starring role in the commercial campaign has attracted millions of eyeballs online and on the TV where the spot was first shown, and is a testament to the credence of her body of work that a respected company like Colonial wanted to work with a TV and film actress like Zara.
“The company represents security and family, things I value a lot – so it was definitely something I wanted to be a part of when my agent called me about it.”
Of course, Zara wouldn’t have been approached to front a multi-million dollar company were it not for the credibility she’s built over many years in the entertainment business, attracting a growing fan base each year she adds a roster of projects to her resume.
Starring appearances at events like the Australian premieres of Snow White and the Huntsman and Thor: Ragnarok also can’t hurt. Zara adds with a laugh, “It’s always lovely to get invited to those events and help support other filmmakers and actors, especially Aussies doing well.”
More important to Zara though were her involvements with UN International Women’s Day Breakfast, and her volunteering with the National Stroke Foundation. Each event, hosted by well-known newsreader Chris Bath, also boasted the attendance and support of fellow celebrities such as Sandra Sully, Kris Smith and Sarah Murdoch, just some of the high-profile entertainers like Zara who have merged entertainment with philanthropy.
Undeniably important to Zara though is her actual craft, as evidenced by her role in the feature film 2:22. In that fan-favourite feature film which attracted attracted notices from leading publication The Wrap for its compelling storyline, Zara took on the critical role of Ellie.
Zara’s character was specially written for her, as she had originally auditioned for a different character months’ prior. The award-winning director Paul Currie, himself known for producing the Oscar-winning Hacksaw Ridge, wanted to meet with Zara to figure out what type of character he could write into the script for 2:22. If there’s a definition for ‘making it,’ our writers could be forgiven for using that hallmark of Zara’s career as an example. It’s not often that an acclaimed filmmaker like Paul customises his film to fit in an actor, but with the reputation Zara has cultivated over many years in the industry, it should come as no surprise she found herself on set working alongside fellow household name, Teresa Palmer.
“I remember first meeting Teresa at the Table read during pre-production. She was so lovely and was a very down to earth girl.”
The shoot proved to be demanding and challenging in all the right ways, as Zara’s character was crucial to the developments of the thrilling script.
Zara’s character of Ellie works in Air traffic control with Dylan, played by Game of Thrones’ and The Haunting of Hill House’s Michael Huisman’s character ‘Dylan’. Ellie, in true Zara-fashion, offered a funny and edgy character to the roster of roles in the film as she was Dylan’s ‘bad influence’ who likes to have fun.
“I took Dylan out and about on the town to get his mind off the major incident that happens at the beginning of the film where two planes had almost collided under his supervision.”
If it weren’t for Ellie, Dylan wouldn’t overcome his guilt and insecurities – crucial to the next set up that leads to the movie’s famous plot-twists.
At this point in the conversation with Zara, she wants to hold back from revealing too much about the feature’s plot so that readers can enjoy the film on their own via Netflix.
“It’s so gratifying to be an actor who’s a part of the Netflix family,” Zara says with a smile.
Zara’s work on 2:22 is just one in a number of edgy film projects that, she believes, helps innovating the film industry to challenge audiences in the most impactful way possible.
“I love playing vastly different characters…I’ve always try to work with the director to flesh out what the character needed to be in the life of the project.”
Indeed, Zara’s played everything from a tough and ruthless army officer to the spunky, sassy, confident, hot blooded girlfriend.
In Crossing Paths, Zara joins the trend established by Black Mirror by taking part in an interactive film, where she plays the leading role of Lena. The director of Crossing Paths, JJ Winlove, is also in talks with Margot Robbie’s company LuckyChap Entertainment to produce a feature script.
It goes without saying that Zara’s on a great run; something though which hasn’t come out of luck, but instead due to hard work and smart choices.
“I’ve had to work really hard, and developed new skills along the way.”
For her role in US series Childhood’s End, which was filmed in Australia, Zara had to perfect a Latin American accent with a coach. The hard work paid off, as she proved to be critical to the show’s storyline.
“In the first episode my character Freya abducts and interrogates the lead Ricky Stormgren played by Mike Vogel. From this point of the story onwards the plot catapults forwards and everything more or less descends into chaos.”
In real life though, Zara’s less of antagonist and more of an agent for positive change. Something she hopes to do in the near future as she gears up for a role in a US feature film.
It’s more often than not a stunt actor’s job to not get any attention, which is why award-winning stunt performing veteran Casey Wright was somewhat resistant to being interviewed for this feature.
“I tend to stay on the sidelines, I don’t like the limelight too much – probably a big part of why I do what I do and I’m not a TV or film actor,” Casey adds with a chuckle.
Casey’s recent bursts of success however have meant it was difficult for our editors to keep themselves from profiling this down-to-earth home-grown talent who, in an era of crowded filmmaking and TV production, has truly made a name for himself as one of the few likeable guys working in the industry today.
“The best advice I was ever given was ‘Don’t get a big head’. You realise pretty quickly how lucky you are to be in the industry, and there’s no room for egos. The performers I look up to, the ones with the most successful careers – there’s no ego there. So I try to model myself on that” Casey adds
Since his win at the illustrious SAG-awards for Best Stunts in Mel Gibson’s Oscar-winning “Hacksaw Ridge”, Casey’s career has continued to go from strength-to-strength.
Only just last year, he worked as a stunt double to Dan Fogler in the acclaimed feature film, In Like Flynn, a sweeping biopic of the swashbuckling Australian screen legend Errol Flynn.
Instead of regaling tales of celebrity that others may have spilled in relation to the filming process, true to Casey’s nature, he offers a tidbit about his role in offering crucial safety guidance during the shoot.
“Dan…had tweaked his ankle during a scene where he was being chased by headhunters. I was called in to double Dan. This meant that I had to perform the actions required in character, which involved sprinting through the bush, swimming across running rivers, and more. My work meant that Dan was able to rest and heal up, and filming wasn’t disrupted.”
The humble way in which Casey reflects on this experience is a testament to his practical nature, and clear aspirations to only offer meaningful contributions to the project as a whole rather than use it for his own entertainment leverage.
The other project that has benefited from Casey’s hard-working nature is the acclaimed TBS comedy series, Wrecked.
Working on 2 seasons of Wrecked, Casey had to not only perform the requisite stunt and safety actions also do them in character as Brian Sacca’s persona, Danny. This meant taking cues from Brian’s body language and immersing himself in how Brian holds himself in a scene, and so on.
Casey’s remarkable success in doing this role effortlessly meant viewers are never taken out of the scenes while watching the comedy favourite. As a corollary to this, Casey’s actions had to match the comedic tone of the show that meant he stretched his performing wheelhouse.
“Most of my work has been on big action films,” Casey goes to explain. “Explosions, runaway horses, all that kind of stuff. Working on a comedy like Wrecked was a whole different beast. At one point a crew member came up to me and said ‘Just remember – it doesn’t matter if you stuff up. Sometimes that can be even funnier than what’s planned.”
Casey adds to that last thought.
“Coming from a world where everything was marked to a tee, that took all the pressure off me. I still had to be safe, but I didn’t have to be perfect. It was a very different experience, but it was one of the best of my career.”
Casey is equally complimentary of the TBS team and Brian too, when asked about his experience.
“I had a great time. Everyone was warm and welcoming, and made me feel right at home. When I came back for Season 3, I was greeted with a big hug from Brian – I found out later that he had actually gone up to the stunt coordinator for the new season and requested me back personally.”
No doubt Casey’s vital contributions to the show’s success were reason for him being brought back, and the personal request of his return to the set is valuable proof in demonstrating how he offered indispensable contributions to the show’s success.
“I’m very lucky to do different things – and am looking forward to doing more of it in the US.”
There’s no doubt Casey would be embraced by the American community, as he already proved on the Fiji set of the American produced series
“I was told by the [“Wrecked”] stunt coordinator that I may have been the most accurate stunt double he has ever hired. During breaks in filming, I had producers, the director and others come up to me to to discuss upcoming scenes. Once they heard my Australian accent, they jumped back, as they had no idea it wasn’t actually the actor they were speaking to. Everyone loved it, and it made me really feel at home with the crew.”
Karlisha Hurley arrives to our interview fresh from a pre-release screening of her latest film, Wrapped, directed by Calen Coates. In it, she plays the lead role, Abby, who overcomes her insecurities and learns to stand up for herself by stealing back a birthday present from a drug dealer who has robbed her. The unopened present was from her mother who had recently been killed in a car accident. Abby’s journey is just like life itself; it’s both comedic and tragic.
A particularly captivating scene in Wrapped is during the kidnapping of the two lead characters, Karlisha and Sawyer, played by actor Danny Irizarry. The scene is an emotionally difficult one because of the detail Karlisha has to go within the character to honestly portray the actions and depth of the overall situation. The diversity of Karlisha’s skills are superbly conveyed here as she speaks to Sawyer. Not only is she frightened and angry about the situation she finds them in but she begins to openly grieve about her mother’s passing and exposes her own guilt and self-destruction as she blames herself. Karlisha’s natural reaction combined with masterful technique captures the audience’s sympathy and draws them into her character so deeply they are mesmerised into willing her to succeed.
The role marks a continuation of a trend in Karlisha’s career – that of appearing in compelling film projects, while also staying in the public consciousness through a successful run of commercially driven projects befitting any young Hollywood star.
“It’s not necessarily planned – I just gravitate towards what roles I’m interested in and they are often gritty, challenging and highly emotional roles. As it happens, those types of roles and projects – I guess, the more ‘indie’ ones – are what attracts more commercial opportunities.”
It’s a common pattern: big-budget producers generally want to borrow from the street cred of artistically driven actors like Karlisha. Oscar-winner Casey Affleck has built a career on it, much like Oscar-nominee Chloé Sevigny or Michelle Williams.
While Karlisha has jumped from edgy film projects like Red Wire (directed by Gary O’Toole), Hello Tom Sullivan (directed by David Raynor) and Hostages: Don’t Take Another Step (from Kristine May), shot all over the world, she’s most recently garnered the attention of audiences in her role in O.A.R.’s music video – Miss You All the Time – which attracted nearly 4 million views.
Indeed, it would be entirely untruthful to say that Karlisha turns her back on the mainstream parts of the industry. For one, the industry has embraced her with awards from the Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival, the same year that Constance Ejuma of Black Panther and Robert Clohessy of The Avengers, The Wolf of Wall Street and The Place Beyond the Pines, with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, won acting awards. Adding to that triumph, Karlisha maintains a tie to her home country by playing a major role at Australians in Film (AIF), the esteemed organisation that has solidified Australian A-listers’ places in the film and TV worlds of Los Angeles.
“AIF is so supportive, I’m really lucky to be an Industry Member there.”
Karlisha’s ‘industry membership’, reserved only for VIPs in the same vein of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, is one such watershed in the career of the young Miss Hurley, who in the past several years has had work screen at a number of international and American film festivals.
Among these were the San Francisco Film Awards and LA Independent Film Festival for projects like Hello Tom Sullivan and Karlisha and Morgan, directed By David Raynor. Industry insiders acclaimed Karlisha’s work, which in the performance of Karlisha and Morgan – playing two roles in the same film – demonstrated a nuanced sense of her craft few other young performers are able to showcase.
One example was the scene in which she plays ‘Morgan’, the spirit of a dead teenager who has suicided after being bullied at school; she is angry and wants the world to stop ‘sweeping under the carpet’ student suicides and do something about addressing their cause. The intensity of Karlisha’s anger balanced with her empathy for the victims and shown through the deep control of her revealing stare, her emotional facial expression and reactive body movement are all captivating and disturbing, demonstrating an award winning performance of a quality well beyond her years.
The Other Project, Hello Tom Sullivan – in which Karlisha rescues a disadvantaged teenage boy, Tom Sullivan, from bullying – called for Karlisha to deliver an immense level of strength and sympathy for the role of Cynthia. When Cynthia and Tom meet for the first time, you can see a genuine evolving spark between the two characters, showing a high level of skill and technique delivered naturally by Karlisha. When introducing a character to an audience, it can be difficult for an actor to portray exactly the emotions and qualities of the character as envisioned by a director, but Karlisha depicts the essence of the character beautifully. As Cynthia walks Tom home after rescuing him, Karlisha’s body movement and emotion when talking to him gives the audience a perfect idea of what her character is like; her quirkiness and innocence, rising beneath her need for affirmation and acceptance.
Producer/Director Lucinda Bruce (The Faceless Man, 350 Days and FSM) says: “Karlisha has an amazing presence about her. Her acting is beautifully structured and I can’t wait to see all the projects she has in the making.”
Editor of Sharknado William Boodell, who directed Karlisha in Sister Mercy, says: “Karlisha is truly a remarkable performer able to work under high pressure on difficult material with great finesse.”
Performances such as these have not gone unnoticed by mainstream media, as Karlisha has been featured prominently in publications like the Northern Territory News, Surfcoast Times, Leader newspapers and Cinema Australia.
“I’m so grateful for the amount of interest and support I get from the media. Honestly I’m just happy they love hearing about my latest films and enjoy my contributions to the Hollywood film industry as much as I do.”
On the heels of the Golden-Globe nominated and box-office sensation Crazy Rich Asians, there’s no doubt that Hollywood has started to embrace a more diverse casting strategy when it comes to filling out the roster of its biggest films.
Japanese actress Yoshie Morino, well-known for her turns in Sharknado with Tara Reid and The Cat Diaries TV series, is one such beneficiary.
“I’m really excited to be a part of this new wave of talent, and to bring much needed diversity to the American filmmaking and acting landscape.”
Morino has recently joined the cast of Team 4, cementing her place within the company of celebrated filmmaker Len Davies, known for directing Emergency: LA. Indeed, Morino is currently working on two projects with Davies, who’s also been acclaimed for his work producing Bomber Command and World Association of Wrestling.
“I’m very lucky to be working with Len on multiple projects – it’s validating as an actress to be a part of a production family. It means I can make meaningful economic and creative contributions to my industry, and to America more generally.”
In Team 4, Morino plays the leading role of Kumiko Kobayashi, a controller and leader in the mission preparation laboratory.
The series, which is about agents enhanced with nanotechnology who risk all to protect their world from evil forces, will showcase the character of Kumiko as having to shoulder the responsibility of programming the very nanotechnology inside each of the team members.
The role has therefore required Morino to access her strong sense of power and authority that, in real life she says, doesn’t come very easily.
“I’m very shy in real life, but that’s why I love acting – I get to play a part and do things that I would feel like I have to apologize for in my everyday world.”
The series also relied on Morino’s ability to effortlessly demonstrate her grasp of scientific terminology, as her character was an assistant on the original project that created the nanotechnology system and has the highest level security clearance from the NSA.
It’s not all serious business for Morino, though, as she enjoys some lighthearted scenes with another character who is a student to whom Kumiko imparts her knowledge. This allows the procedure to be carried on in the form of a legacy, as Morino’s character is the only person who understands the procedure and is therefore vitally important to the progression of the series’ hero journeys.
“My character Kumiko is totally unique in her field,” Morino adds proudly.
Aside from the character’s role in the plot, the role has also called on Morino’s unique screen talents and heritage to bring some authenticity to the project. Her gripping and powerful presence on camera brings out the best in the character of Kumiko Kobayashi, as well as revealing a vulnerability that engages viewers in a really effective (suggested: visceral ) way. Ultimately, as the director Len Davies and Morino both attest, Morino’s Japanese heritage grounds the series with an authentic representation of Asian culture that helps the series connect with audiences all over the world.
The other project Morino will be working on with Len Davies and his company is the feature film Astral Princess.
Don’t think though that Morino is intimidated at all by the change in medium, as it simply represents another opportunity to give service to a character and story.
Morino’s role is similarly demanding in Astral Princess, as she plays Ami Sato, an FBI field agent working with the lead agent Joel Finn.
“Joel,” Morino tells us, “is assigned to work on Suzannah Foster’s unique situation and as the pilot story develops, they become more involved in her abilities and the saving of Ricky Santos from the kidnappers. As the series progresses Ami becomes the liaison between the FBI and Suzannah.”
It’s clear that Morino’s multi-cultural heritage gives her the added ability to transcend cultures in order to deliver a compelling performance that relates to viewers of different backgrounds, a skillset that marks her as an actress at the top of her game.
“I think actors have a responsibility to relate to as many humans as possible, as we’re supposed to give life to the human experience and make people think and feel things they don’t otherwise get to experience in real life.”
Morino’s position as an Asian actress carving out a place at the top of Hollywood has been recently cemented with her contributions to the Glendale International Film Festival.
“The President of the Glendale International Film Festival even requested me to present the closing awards,” Yoshie tells us with a big smile.
“It was an amazing experience to present the awards to fellow filmmakers.”
Overall, the experience of being a judge also allowed her to use her own experiences to help others.
“I am grateful to be a part of these prestigious, well-known film festivals and to have been able to contribute my own acting experience.”
Aside from this integral perspective on her artistry, Yoshie’s successful career and relationships with illustrious companies have also brought her a degree of commercial success that would make any other actor envious. Perhaps a role in Crazy Rich Asians sequel is on the cards?
“I can’t quite say,” Yoshie says with a coy smile.
She adds, “I don’t think about the numbers, or money, I just think about the art.”
Ayeshah Rose is the embodiment of an international storyteller. Now more than ever, artists whose talents and skills traverse the globe and transcend cultural barriers are in demand, and Ayeshah’s career shows no signs of slowing down.
When asked about her success, Ayeshah is humble and points to her craft.
“Being trained but not strictly offers me more flexibility in my work. I am able to sense moments for a character quicker and deeper. I can indulge in a character’s identity which allows me to respond to the other actors that helps them stay empathetic.”
When looking at her body of work however, it’s clear that her consistency in building relationships with award-winning filmmakers and production companies in different facets of the industry have equally contributed to her current place atop the heap of Australian filmmakers making waves overseas. Indeed, she has recently been cast in the American film project “Vendetta”, to be shot in the US in the coming months.
“This project excites me…because of the technology involved…I’ll be working with weapons and using green screens and using skills that I’ve learnt over the years…it requires a lot of commitment and discipline.”
Ayeshah is blessed with a leading role, playing Elena, best friend to the protagonist Sofia.
“[The characters] went to school together for most of their lives. Elena recently changed schools after going down the wrong path and getting involved with a member of the mafia’s son. She’s terrified of being involved again, especially as she is the only one who knows their next target.”
In a reflection of Ayeshah’s impressive ability to connect and collaborate with highly revered filmmakers and companies, she’ll be working with Ryde Studios.
“With Ryde Studio’s reputation I am so excited to join a team that is making its mark significantly in the film industry as well as the resources I will get to experience while working on Vendetta. I am really excited to work in a professional environment which such a high calibre team that I know of so far. It’s the first big step I will have to the trajectory I hoped for. This is an opportunity to learn whilst performing which is so stimulating for me.”
Our interview soon turns to one of Ayeshah’s recent projects. In the feature film “Angel of Mine”, Ayeshah worked with Sundance award-winning filmmaker Kim Farrant (who directed Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman in the drama/thriller “Strangerland” alongside Hugo Weaving). “Angel of Mine” also boasts a top cast in “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” star Noomi Rapace (also known for her role in the “Alien” prequel, “Prometheus”) and “Fast and Furious” actor Luke Evans .
“My character is a regular client at the hairdressing business of Noomi’s character,” Ayeshah astutely explains.
“She has a constant dialogue with Noomi’s character and serves as a confidante.”
When one understands that the film is about a woman grieving the loss of her daughter, only then to lose her grip on reality after she thinks her daughter may still be alive, it’s clear that any person considered a confidante to Noomi’s character is vitally important to story and the protagonist’s development. Ayeshah’s significance in the film therefore does not go unnoticed.
When asked about the shooting process, Ayeshah is quick to praise her co-stars while also touching on the demanding work schedule.
“Yvonne Stravoski and Noomi Rapace are both revered and honoured actresses – and rightfully so. They’re really fantastic. Being onset with both of them was exactly what I had imagined working with actors you can bounce off. Seeing their professionalism and focus was what I wanted within a professional team. I am so happy I got this moment in time where I felt I was of the same calibre.”
Filming, Ayeshah elaborates, “required a lot of patience. My role was a crucial cross-over between Noomi’s character being confronted by Yvonne’s character about a murder.”
Not all elements of filming though were arduous, as Ayeshah is quick to reference a comical moment she shared with Noomi on set.
“In between [takes], I complimented Noomi’s nose (which I thought was very striking) and she informed me that Orlando Bloom broke it onset the film “ Unlocked” giving her that lovely nose of hers.” Ayeshah adds with a small laugh.
An ability to be flexible on set has in part been informed with Ayeshah’s other roles, including the leading character of Jane in film “My Day Job.”
“I had the ability to adlib when the other actors changed their lines by mistake and the focus was necessary for an intimate and dramatic scene. I had to also learn a Latina accent very last minute.”
Skills such as these are impressive, but ultimately, what motivates Ayeshah is not being good at something to impress a stranger, but to work in service of story and character.
“I am excited to merge into the US industry because I feel my look will be celebrated with the variety of roles I’ll be able to play, accessing all the colours and content that will allow my multi-skilled artistry to thrive and therefore I’ll be able to add value to the industry”.
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