Tag Archives: Australian actors

Josh Futcher goes dark and withdrawn for captivating performance in new award-winning film

As a child, Australia’s Josh Futcher was extremely shy. He recalls it as “debilitating”, and at the age of eight, his mother put him in acting classes to get him out of his shell. That was when his life changed. He began to fall in love with acting, and when he first performed on stage, the shyness that plagued him all his life melted away. Hearing the audience laugh at his Dracula impression with a Transylvanian accent was cataclysmic for Futcher. He knew even as a child that he was meant to pursue acting for the rest of his life. That was the first time he felt truly seen, and now audiences around the world have seen his work and know his face.

“I come from a low-income household with a single mother. No one in my family has ever been in the entertainment industry. I have built everything I have achieved in my career from hard work and determination. I’ve known this is what I’ve wanted to do since the age of eight and have never looked back or doubted it since. I’ve not had help or handouts, other than the love and support of family and friends,” said Futcher.

Futcher is known for films such as Répetez S’il-Vous-Plait, Wedgetail, From Parts Unknown, and many more. He has graced the small screen many times in hit television shows like Conspiracy 365 and No Pink Cowboys, and his face is instantly recognizable in Australia from the viral campaign for Victoria Tourism “Remote Control Tourist”, winning international awards. There is little doubt as to why he has become such a force to be reckoned with in the Australian entertainment industry.

Earlier this year, one of Futcher’s latest films, Fatal Flame, won the Audience Spotlight Award at The Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema. The film, which premiered in 2017 at the L.A Shorts Awards, where it won Best Film Noir Film, has had a tremendous run at many prestigious international film festivals. It took home the top price at the Women’s Only Entertainment Film Festival 2017 and was a Special Mention for the Award of Merit at the Accolade Global Film Competition in Los Angeles.

“It’s a very rewarding experience to have a project that you had such a strong hand in from start to finish be as successful as it’s been. It’s been received with critical and audience acclaim since its release and I’m incredibly proud of the work,” said Futcher.

Fatal Flame follows Police Detective McDonald, played by Futcher, who is summoned by shady criminal Rico to a vantage point overlooking the wake for gangster Julian Blakley’s recently murdered father. Rico riles McDonald with news that Julian has corrupted his police colleagues; and ordered the death of McDonald’s informant. But McDonald, who suffers from PTSD, isn’t interested until he sees a mysterious beauty provoking a fight with Julian. As Julian tries to escape, McDonald is hot on their trail. But it isn’t Julian who interests him. Instead he pursues the enigmatic woman.

“I loved the fact that this man has gone through so much grief but is motivated to make sure it doesn’t happen to another innocent woman. He sees a woman being mistreated and he knows the man is no good, so he goes to warn her. I think he is a great man, with a care and respect for women. Not just as sexual objects. And in a time when so much harassment of women is being brought to the forefront – I feel this story shows men how a lady should be treated,” said Futcher.

In the film, McDonald suffers from PTSD after seeing his girlfriend murdered in front of him by a gangland boss, who discovered McDonald was undercover and betrayed him. This causes McDonald to be dark, quiet, and withdrawn, but the appeal of a magnetic femme fatale style character quickly peaks his interest. He can save her, like he wished he could have saved his girlfriend. Such a character had great appeal for Futcher, who is known for his improvisation and comedy, and gave him the chance to show off his versatility as an actor. He made McDonald a tortured soul with a dark past, but with a motivation to be better, which in turn made him human and relatable.

“I loved being able to sit in silence on the screen. As actors, we constantly feel we have to do so much to be interesting. It was so freeing to be still and silent and sit in the pain of my character. It taught me a lot about the power of stillness on screen and what it portrays for the viewer,” he described.

McDonald was originally written as a 50-year-old-man. However, after the Director, Janet Dimelow, saw what Futcher was capable of, she decided to re-write her story for Futcher to play the leading role, knowing that he was the actor who could make her film a success. For Futcher, being offered the role so early in the piece allowed him to be a part of the creative process from start to finish. He was able to have input into rewrites, and much of the creative choices for the film. In addition to this, he was appointed casting director early on, and was therefore able to hand pick the cast he wanted to work with. When it came to shooting, he took his producing hat off and focused on the role, giving the best performance he could. Obviously, his efforts paid off.

“I was excited to be the lead actor with of lot of creative sway in the pre-production, and all the way through the process,” said Futcher.

Fatal Flame is now looking into making a feature length film, with Futcher once again as the star. Keep an eye out for it in theatres next year.

 

Photo by Lachian Woods

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Actress Madalein Jackson May Look Like an Angel, but She Plays a Convincing Villain

Madalein Jackson
Australian actress Madalein Jackson

Actress Madalein Jackson began her career back home on the stages of Australia where she quickly became known for her ability to breathe life into diverse characters. Through her roles in high-profile theatre productions such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Oliver!,” Willy Russell’s “Our Day Out” and the Footlice Theatre Company’s popular “Grubble” series, where she took on multiple roles, Jackson carved out a reputation for herself as one leading actress who effortlessly commands the attention of her audience.

“I am quite versatile, and as a result I’m lucky to have not been typecast,” says Jackson. “I also think I have a pretty keen insight into human behaviour, which helps in effectively conveying emotions and reactions.”

Playing everything from the shy underdog Gertrude McFuzz in the hit production of “Seussical” to the psychotic Clytemnestra in Andrew Coates’ staging of “The Golden Masque of Agamemnon,” Jackson’s versatility has been a driving force in her career, and it’s one that has kept her working non-stop.

While she looks innocent, once she gets into character Madalein Jackson transforms completely, and that’s exactly what she did when she took on the cunning role of Caroline Bingley in YPT’s period drama “Pride & Prejudice.”

Jackson says, “Caroline Bingley is such a great, complex character. Playing the villain is always more interesting than playing the hero, and Caroline is no exception to that. Her motivation is her snobbery and greed, however I always imagined that she must have been damaged in some way in order for her to have such a deep reservoir of pain and hatred.”

In this classic Jane Austen novel adapted for the stage, the Bennet family works to marry off their two daughters Jane (played by Kelsie Allan) and Elizabeth (played by Katy Price) in order to ensure their continued wealth and societal status. While the wealthy Mr. Bingley (played by John Shearman) swoons over Jane, she does not reciprocate his feelings, but that doesn’t stop his sister Caroline (played by Jackson) from inviting Jane over in hopes of creating a bond and furthering her brother’s chances. However, when Caroline realizes the potential match between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, who she wants for herself, her attitude swiftly switches gears. Keeping her exterior composed, Caroline turns into a cunning villainous woman, planting seeds about Elizabeth’s shortcomings in order to boost her chances with Darcy, and Jackson played the part perfectly.

“Caroline mostly keeps her thoughts to herself in polite society, making everyone aware of her opinions purely through knowing looks, however when she is in private with her family she lets fly with contempt and vitriol! Playing someone so manipulative and antagonistic is hard work, but always wonderfully rewarding,” says Jackson.

Madalein has undoubtedly made name for herself in the theatre, but she’s no stranger to the big screen. In 2013 she took on a critical role in the family dramedy film “Wiener Dog Nationals,” which won the Audience Award and the Honors Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival in addition to being nominated for four Young Artist Awards.

Wiener Dog Nationals
Poster for Wiener Dog Nationals

Directed by Kevan Peterson (“Wiener Dog Internationals,” “The Super Holidays”), “Wiener Dog Nationals” follows a family who adopts a dachshund from a shelter and enters her into the nation’s most prestigious wiener dog race, Wienerschnitzel’s “Wiener Dog Nationals.” New to the world of wiener dog races, the family is met with a series of challenges caused by the leading wiener dog champion’s owner Ms. Merryweather and her assistant (played by Jackson), who take unscrupulous measures in order to ensure their dachshund remains the champion. Embodying her character’s cold nature and looking ever-fierce on screen, Madalein Jackson nails the mark as Ms. Merryweather’s assistant in the film.

Jackson says, “I loved the challenge of playing a villainous character in a family film; there had to be a balance between meanness and humour. The character was torn between supporting Ms. Merryweather and helping with her evil schemes, and struggling with working for such a cruel, mean employer. She knows what they are doing is wrong but feels she has to support her boss or face the consequences.”

Acting alongside award-winning actors Jason London (“Trafficked,” “All Roads Lead Home,” “The Rage: Carrie 2”), Alicia Witt (“Urban Legend,” “Dune,” “Cybill”) and Morgan Fairchild (“Days of Our Lives,” “Freaked,” “Flamingo Road”) Jackson definitely holds her own in the film.

Up next for this diversely talented actress is the film “All Our Yesterdays” from writer and director Emily Price. In the film Madalein Jackson will take on the starring role of Dianna, a successful young woman whose death is ruled a suicide, but she knows she was murdered and she’s out to prove it, even if she has to do it from the other side.   

 

Challis and Cooke: Actors Talk Making ‘Memories’ and Movies

Sitting with Australian actors Alistair Cooke and Mia Challis, it’s easy to forget that we’re here to talk about work, such is the fun energy they both bring into a room. After quickly discussing how they like to spend their weekends however, an assistant director reminds the actors that they’re due on set in another 30 minutes. Both quickly start sharing details about the project that’s brought everyone to set this week. ‘Memories,’ a film produced by Lachlan Ward (who has most recently found success with the film ‘Quiche’, which won the Drama Award at the Deep Cut Film Festival in Canada) and helmed by acclaimed director Cassandra Lionetto-Civa, is a perfect example of a project that manages to assemble an accomplished cast, a distinguished creative team and a unique story.

Actors Alistair Challis and Mia Cooke
Actors Alistair Cooke and Mia Challis shot by David Attwell

Lead actor Alistair, who plays Tim, offers some insights into ‘Memories’ storyline. “Without giving too much away, the film is set in the not too distant future where accessing and viewing people’s memories has become a reality.” His co-lead Mia, who plays Charlotte, is equally discerning about revealing the plot completely, but did tell our editors that it’s a “sci-fi love story.”

Aside from what is clearly a fascinating blend of genres, ‘Memories’ also reflects how an accomplished cast can elevate a project’s esteem. Cooke, who made his debut in Ben C Lucas’ award-winning feature film ‘Wasted on the Young’ opposite ‘The Originals’ star Oliver Ackland, played the critical role of Young Hammers in the SBS mini-series ‘Deep Water’. It was in that series, which only aired just recently to high acclaim, where Alistair shared the screen with ‘Orange is the New Black’ Screen Actor’s Guild winner Yael Stone. He adds: “[w]atching that woman work was incredible and so inspiring.”

Of course, being the talented actor he is, Alistair is firmly grounded in the present and not focused too much on the past. He describes current co-star Mia as “something else. During the course of our first job together I soon discovered she was a natural talent, a true professional and a force to be reckoned with. We clicked immediately and I now consider her a great friend.” Mia, whose exotic looks seem to blend the innocence of Natalie Portman with the fierceness of Jennifer Lawrence, interrupts. “Working alongside Alistair was a pleasure; I learnt a lot from him and had the best time too. He’s very talented and we clicked straight away which was a bonus!” Mia elaborates that she originally recognised Alistair from his key role as Jake in the international hit series ‘The Horizon,’ which has garnered over 54 million views worldwide.

Although Mia may have been somewhat star-struck, she is an established actor in her own right, currently juggling three projects. Along with ‘Memories’, she is currently filming ‘Backstabbers’, directed by Lauren Mazzucato and ‘The Twincident’ directed by Blake Thomson, playing identical twins Claire and Evelyn in what will surely be a funny turn in her growing body of work. When asked who was crazy enough to represent her and her busy schedule, she laughs.

Alistair: “her manager actually is crazy!”

Mia: “in a good way!”

Alistair: “she’s exactly how you would imagine a Hollywood manager to be!”

Mia and Alistair’s chemistry is proven as the stars proclaim, “[w]e have the same American manager!” launching into a discussion about their different representatives around the world.

Actress Mia Cooke
Actress Mia Challis in ‘Memories’ (photo by: David Attwell)

Most importantly, both Alistair and Mia shed light on how actors’ own traits can inform character development. Mia tells us about Charlotte: “We actually have quite a lot in common; we both can be pretty awkward and really don’t have a clue how to flirt! She is a character that cares deeply for others, isn’t afraid to take chances and follows her heart.” Regarding Tim, Alistair explains that “Tim throws himself into everything he believes in and that’s a trait that really resonates with me. I’m a passionate guy and I can really relate to his way of thinking and drive in life.”

Actors Mia Cooke and Alistair Challis on set
Actors Mia Challis and Alistair Cooke on set of ‘Memories’ (photo by: David Attwell)

While ‘Memories’ might explore the challenging terrain of technology and the questions it raises about our society’s future, the film is nevertheless grounded in a very human story. It certainly would’ve helped that the actors were guided in their direction by celebrated filmmaker Cassandra Lionetto-Civa, who beat out an incredibly competitive field to win the open category at the Hip on Heritage Film Festival in Perth, Australia just last year. It’s therefore no surprise that ‘Memories’ is fielding countless distribution options to screen right around the world.

So what’s next for these screen stars?

Alistair tells us: “I am going straight into rehearsals for my next film. A black comedy that follows an unusual friendship between an armed robber and the man he is holding hostage.”

Mia explains that she can’t talk too much about her upcoming project, but she is allowed to share some funny details.“I’ve actually just started filming a new project where I play a character that is the polar opposite of Charlotte. She is a high school student who is the leader of a group of girls who murder some of their classmates with stilettos!”

Whatever is coming up for them filming wise, audiences can rest assured that ‘Memories’ will live up to its hype and challenge us all about love and the future of technology.

 

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.”

From High Stakes Stunts to Emotional Character Portrayals, Rick Tonna is a Knock Out On Screen!

Rick Tonna
Actor and stuntman Rick Tonna shot by Andrew Campbell

Over the past two decades leading actor and stuntman Rick Tonna, who’s originally from Melbourne, Australia, has made an indelible mark on the Hollywood film industry and abroad through a number of memorable performances in high profile films such as Russell Crowe’s “The Water Diviner,” Jon Hewitt’s “Elimination Game” and “I, Frankenstein,” as well the Awgie and ADG Award winning crime series “Rush,” the AACTA Award winning series “Underbelly” and more.

Shining a bright light on the diverse talent Australia has to offer, Tonna is the perfect example of how drive, dedication and skill can turn a Hollywood newcomer into a leading figure in tinsel town’s competitive film industry in a relatively short amount of time. While breaking into Hollywood is rarely easy, Tonna’s established reputation for delivering first-rate work back home in Australia provided a helpful segway for him to begin landing roles in major Hollywood productions once he moved stateside several years ago.

In 2014 Tonna took to the screen in Oscar Award winner Russell Crowe’s (“A Beautiful Mind,” “Gladiator”) directorial debut “The Water Diviner,” in which Crowe stars as Connor, an Australian father who travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli in search of his three sons, who go missing while serving with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

A major hit among Australian film critics, “The Water Diviner” earned the AACTA Awards for Best Film, Best Supporting Actor and Best Costume Design, an Awgie Award from the Australian Writers Guild, as well as four awards from the Australian Screen Sound Guild and four more from Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards.

In the film, which also stars Olga Kurylenko (“Oblivion,” “Quantum of Solace”) and Jai Courtney (“Insurgent,” “A Good Day to Die Hard”), Tonna shares screen time with Crowe and gives a riveting performances as a Turkish soldier defending his country.

Rick Tonna
Still of Rick Tonna (left) and Russell Crowe (right) in “The Water Diviner”

“My character was a hard working Turkish man who was conscripted to fight in the war against the Greeks and later fought the Australians in what is known today as Gallipoli. He was simply defending his homeland… His land and people came first his own life second,” explains Tonna.

“‘The Water Diviner’ was both a physically challenging and immensely rewarding role for me. Firstly, it was a role I was requested to play directly from the director Russell Crowe and the Oscar winning stunt coordinator, Doug Coleman, themselves. That it itself brings pressure.”

But as we’ve seen through his high stakes performances in a long list of other international hits over the years, such as the Logie nominated film “Jack Irish: Black Tide,” the Golden Globe nominated series “The Pacific,” Syfy’s Saturn Award nominated series “Childhood’s End” and the Logie and AACTA Award winning series “The Secret River,” Rick Tonna is not one to crack under pressure.

In 2015 Tonna took on the critical role of Devine in the multi-award winning series “The Secret River,” where he acts alongside Oliver Jackson-Cohen (“Emerald City,” Despite the Falling Snow”), AFCA and AACTA Award winner Sarah Snook (“Steve Jobs,” “Predestination”) and Logie Award winner Lachy Hulme (“The Matrix Revolutions,” “Killer Elite”).

Adapted from Kate Grenville’s novel of the same name, “The Secret River” is set in the early 1800s and follows William Thornhill, played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen, a young man who is sentenced to life in New South Wales where he finds himself in the middle of a bloody conflict between the British settlers and the land’s indigenous people.

Being from Australia originally, the story “The Secret River” brings to life hits painfully close to home for Tonna, which is only multiplied by the fact that his character Devine is one of the most ruthless and hateful British convicts on the show.

Tonna says, “‘The Secret River’ was a truly emotional journey for me. This part of Australian history has been sugarcoated to hide the cold and brutal truth of the heartbreaking slaughter of the Aboriginal people.”

 "The Secret River"
Still of Rick Tonna as Devine in “The Secret River”

Devine is seen throughout the series murdering aboriginal people without remorse, and the way Tonna embodies his character’s brutal and villainous nature on screen makes Devine an easy character to hate. From the audience’s perspective Tonna seamlessly inhabits the character, the truth beyond the screen though is that the role posed overwhelming challenges for Tonna; but that’s what it means to be a great actor after all, to be able to remove one’s self and truly become the character at hand, and Tonna does that without missing a beat.

“From an emotionally moral point of view, this was one of the toughest roles for me. Devine was part of a group whose hatred for the Aboriginal people was gut wrenching, I had a very defined ‘on- off’ switch where right up until I was on set I kept the switch off. I had to as the savage brutality of Devine pushed me to edge every time,” admits Tonna. “There were days I held back tears until I was alone.”

One of the toughest days for Tonna was shooting a scene for “The Secret River” episode two where Devine and his group slaughter an entire tribe.

Tonna recalls, “As we watched the bodies burn I hear a newborn child cry. I have to load my gun and shoot the child. Needless to say that this scene absolutely wrecked me emotionally.”

While stunts are what started Tonna’s onscreen career, with his expertise in martial arts and motorcycle precision driving landing him innumerable roles in action-packed productions, his gift for powerful character portrayals, even the ones that are painful to watch like his performance as Devine, are what have made him such a sought after actor around the world.

“For me it is about connecting with the audience through the scene. Becoming the character and bringing life to the words on the script. To be able to tell a story that hopefully will move the audience,” explains Tonna about what drives him to perform.

Regardless of whether he’s grabbing our attention with his action heavy roles as a stuntman, or captivating us with his authentic and emotionally honest performances as an actor, Tonna is one talented Aussie we can’t help but fixate on everytime he hits the screen.

Up next for Tonna is the highly anticipated new series “Emergency: LA,” a dramatic crime series where he will take on the lead role of Motorcycle Officer Joey Truscott. He is also slated to play a critical role on an upcoming series that is currently being developed for Netflix, so make sure to stay tuned for upcoming announcements about that.

Australia’s Karen Mitchell Displays Unparalleled Diversity

 

nikwilliamson2
Actress Karen Mitchell shot by Nik Williamson

 

Multi-talented Australian actress Karen Mitchell has proven herself to be a performer with unlimited range. After more than a decade of landing lead roles in award-winning films and highly watched television shows, it’s clear that the caliber of her gift for performing will keep her on our radar for years to come.

Originally from Sandringham, Victoria, Mitchell spent several years honing her skills on the stages of Australia where she starred in a long list of high-profile productions in roles that include Clara Eynsford Hill in the Peridot Theatre Company’s presentation of “Pygmalion,” Adelaide Adams in the Hampton Theatre Company’s presentation of “Calamity Jane,” Nora in “The Mouse that Roared” and others.

While her stage presence captivated audiences across the country, Mitchell was destined for the screen and in 2010 she landed the starring role of Twila Busby on the Investigation Discovery crime series “Facing Evil.”

 

facing-evil
Karen Mitchell as Twila Busby in “Facing Evil”

 

She went on to star in several more television series taking on roles such as Pia & Rena in the 10-episode fantasy series “Atomic Kingdom” directed by James Peniata (“Silent Eyes,” “Dead Moon Circus”), Catherine in “Nameless: Blood and Chains” alongside Gary Boulter from “Silent Majority” and “Bedlam,” and the villainous Tracey Grissman in “Deadly Women.”

Mitchell admits, “I am passionate about working as an actor because it is constantly changing and always challenging. I am allowed to breathe life into different roles, develop new characters and work with different people. No one day is ever the same.”

With such a diverse range of characters already under her belt, Mitchell’s passion for challenging her craft with roles that are completely different from those she’s taken on in the past is easy to see.

Through her dramatic roles in films such as Sage Benishay’s “About A Husband,” which earned recognition at the Colortape International Film Festival, and “Torn Devotion” where she acts alongside Sontaan Hopson (“The Newtown Girls,” “Dark Temptations”) and Richard Cotter (“Dog’s Breakfast,” “All Saints”), Karen Mitchell has left an indelible mark in the minds of viewers as an actress who masterfully takes on deeply layered characters.

When asked about her favorite genre to work in, Mitchell admits, “If you would’ve asked me this question five years ago, I probably would’ve said drama, because I relish giving justice to a person’s story so that people learn something about themselves or humanity when watching it, whether it be a TV series or feature film.”

In recent years though, Mitchell has been landing more and more lead roles in comedy series and films, a genre where she has carved out a place for herself as the kind of actress who seems to effortlessly make us laugh out loud. Some of her recent comedies include the film “The Tail Job,” which was nominated for Best Narrative Feature at the 2016 Slamdance Film Festival and chosen as an Official Selection of the CATE Film Festival in Los Angeles, and the series “It’s A Dole Life” where she played the critical role of Megan, a quirky manager who runs the government benefits office.

Karen also appeared in comedic roles in the series “Skit Box” alongside the creators of the viral “ActiveWear” video which amassed 17 million views and was featured on Perez Hilton’s website. Other comedy roles include the lead character Evelyn in the series “Greg,” Hazel in “Aging Gracefully,” Julie in “Love That Car” and Mariah in “The Final Year.”

When it comes to working on a comedy project, she says, “I’ve always been asked to employ my own unique personality into the role, and that’s what audiences and critics respond to, being me! It’s funny how easy it might sound but it’s very difficult being yourself, being loyal to the script and making it all work together so that people laugh.”

Her work as a commercial actress is another area where ‘just being herself’ has contributed to Mitchell’s success. Over the years she’s amassed an astonishing list of credits as a featured actress in commercials for Coles, Commonwealth Bank, Eurobed, Shark Sonic Duo, Pack & Send, Smart Cleanse, Dollars Direct, Ruby Radar and more. She is also featured in the music video for D-Block & S-te-Fan & Isaac’s hit song “Alive” feat. Chris Madin, which has garnered more than three million views on YouTube. The music video paints the story of a dying teenage girl in the hospital with Mitchell taking on the role of her heartbroken mother. Even without speaking, Mitchell’s emotional expressions in the video are palpable. Check it out below.

 

Young Australian Actor Caleb McClure Stars in the film “The Legend of Ben Hall”

TV series Underbelly
Actors Matt Boesenberg (left), Caleb McClure (center) and Luke Ford (Right) on set of “Underbelly” shot by Brett Cox

Australian born actor Caleb McClure just wrapped production on writer-director Matthew Holmes’ film The Legend of Ben Hall, which is set in the 1800’s and based on true Australian historical events focusing on Bushranger Ben Hall and his gang of outlaws.

The film co-stars Callan McAuliffe (The Great Gatsby, Homeland), Andy McPhee (Saving Mr. Banks), and displays McClure’s emotional depth as a child actor. He plays a policeman’s son who is traumatized and impacted by Ben Hall’s unlawful ring, as his father is shot down and dies in his very arms. McClure’s character drives the narrative and demonstrates that, even though he is still in his early teens, he is an actor who’s well beyond his years in terms of emotional maturity.

“My role was intense at times with a lot of action and emotion so I had to be quick on my feet, and it was definitely physically challenging,” says the actor who also worked in freezing conditions while shooting on location in Victoria and New South Wales in Australia.

The Legend of Ben Hall is currently in post-production and set to be released in 2016. McClure adds, “Transforming into another era and becoming this character was great.”

Caleb McClure is no stranger to showcasing his impressive dramatic range and depicting characters in period pieces. In 2008, he starred in the sixth season of Australia’s Award Winning Television series Underbelly, entitled Underbelly: Squizzy, which was set in the early 1900’s and revolves around notorious Melbourne gangster Squizzy Taylor.

In 2011, McClure took on the leading role in the film Where Is Mum? where he played a child who conceals his HIV from his fellow classmates at school.

“I try to find something I can relate to or is challenging, and something that I can accomplish in a great way,” says the actor about choosing roles. 

Recently McClure tackled the AIDS ailment once more as he co-starred in Tim Conigrave’s bestselling memoir, turned film adaptation Holding the Man, where he played Tim’s younger brother, Nick Conigrave. Holding the Man focuses on the 15-year love affair of two gay men set during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s.

“I had to show a lot of emotion and be aggressive and upset,” says McClure.

In the film, which received rave reviews in Australia, McClure stars alongside Guy Pearce (Memento, LA Confidential, The Hurt Locker) as Tim and Nick’s father, Dick Conigrave, as well as film veteran and Oscar Winner Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy, The King’s Speech, and Shine) who plays Tim’s acting teacher.

Like most actors who have reached pivotal success in their youth like, Leonardo Di Caprio or Tobey Maguire, McClure began building his resume when he was just a toddler. At the ripe age of four, the now dramatic actor started his career as a print model for Elle Magazine and within a few years landed his first acting gig at the age of eight.

From that point forward, McClure swiftly landed several roles from Where is Mum? A View from Below, I am Evangeline, and Underbelly. Now with over fifteen film roles under his belt there is no stopping this actor’s rocket career.

“I’m interested in whatever will carry me to the next level as an actor,” says McClure, and you can bet that audiences will continue to watch as this versatile young performer’s career flourishes.

You can find out more about Australian actor Caleb McClure through his IMDb Page: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3899794/