Aussies go nuclear
Daisy Betts, one of three locals in naval action series Last Resort, shows Australia is still wowing Hollywood, writes Colin Vickery
ANYONE who needs convincing that Australian actors are the flavour of the month, year or decade in Hollywood need only look at Last Resort.
The US action TV series features three Aussies in its cast: Daisy Betts, Daniel Lissing and Dichen Lachman.
Better still, Betts, who recently announced she was pregnant, has the starring female role — as submarine navigator Lieutenant Grace Shepard. It is a part that would make any female A-list star green with envy.
Betts made her mark in Australia with a recurring role in Sea Patrol and a starring part in Out of the Blue.
The 31-year-old also racked up feature roles in All Saints and East West 101.
Taking a chance in the US paid immediate dividends. In 2010, Betts scored the lead female role, Janet Cooper, in Persons Unknown. The mystery-drama series centred on seven strangers stuck in a deserted town.
In 2011, she played opposite Kathy Bates in three episodes of Harry’s Law, from producer David E. Kelley ( Chicago Hope, Ally McBeal).
Last Resort has thrust Betts into the big league.
‘‘ Last Resort was the most impressive pilot script (I read) but I was a bit nervous about the military drama aspect of it,’’ Betts says.
‘‘( My concern was) being the token female and not having enough of the strong, intelligent work that I wanted.
was the most impressive pilot script (I read)
‘‘ Shawn Ryan (creator) got on the phone to my agent to convince me that wasn’t the case at all.’’
Betts needn’t have worried. Grace Shepard more than holds her own against Last Resort’s other key characters, Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) and XO Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman).
Last Resort begins deep beneath the ocean’s surface. The crew of the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine Colorado receive an order to fire nuclear weapons at a foreign country.
The order is received over a communications channel that is to be used only if the US mainland has been wiped out. Gritty: Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman (top), and (above) Daniel Lissing and Daisy Betts in
That makes Captain Chaplin suspicious. When he requests confirmation of his orders to fire the missiles, he is relieved of his duties.
The Colorado is then attacked and the captain and all crew, including Shepard, are declared rogue enemies.
Chaplin retreats to an island base, Sainte Marina, and decides to use the submarine’s nuclear weapons as a bargaining tool — against his own country.
Last Resort, helmed by Casino Royale director Martin Campbell, is Battleship meets Lost.
‘‘ Captain Chaplin tries to be the moral compass but, as the series progresses, viewers realise he doesn’t have all the answers,’’ Betts says.
‘‘ Grace realises that too. She is a long-time family friend of the captain. She would normally follow him wherever he goes, but in this heightened scenario nobody is really sure about the right thing to do.’’
Grace, who is among the first wave of female officers to serve on US submarines, has an added complication. Her father is powerful Admiral Arthur Shepard.
‘‘ Grace has always followed the rules and done a lot of things in her life to make her admiral father proud — and now she has a chance to work out what she stands for,’’ Betts says.
‘‘ Every obstacle she’s faced with makes her stronger. She becomes a respected leader of the crew.’’ Last Resort, Channel 7. Tonight, 8.45pm LOCAL DUO MAKE WAVES AND GRADUATE TO SET OF LAST RESORT. DICHEN Lachman, who played Katya Kinski in Neighbours from 2005 to 2007, has rung up a string of US TV and movie credits in recent years. The 30-year-old, of Tibetan/German heritage, starred in cult hits Dollhouse and Being Human. She has also appeared in Hawaii FiveO, Torchwood and NCIS. Daniel Lissing, who recently appeared as Conrad De Groot in legal drama Crownies, is new to this Hollywood caper. The Aussie scored the role of Navy SEAL officer James King from an internet audition. ‘‘I’m the luckiest guy on the planet,’’ Lissing says. ‘‘I got a script and character brief, went to my living room, pressed ‘play’ onmy video camera and did a tape. ‘‘The next thing I know I’m on a plane to Hawaii.’’