Next stop HOL­LY­WOOD

The Neigh­bours stars on the road to be the new Mar­got Rob­bie

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

HOORAY for Hol­ly­wood. That is the catch­phrase of any young ac­tor join­ing the cast of Neigh­bours.

When Mar­got Rob­bie traded Ram­say Street for Tin­sel­town and in­ter­na­tional movie star­dom, she showed all the cast mem­bers of the Eleven soapie that your wildest dreams can come true.

Rob­bie has worked along­side Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street, Will Smith in Fo­cus and Alexan­der Skars­gard in

The Legend of Tarzan.

Her cur­rent role is as crazed su­pervil­lain Har­ley Quinn in Sui­cide Squad, one of the most an­tic­i­pated films of 2016 with an A-list cast in­clud­ing Smith, Jared Leto and Vi­ola Davis.

Olympia Valance, Mavournee Hazel and Lily Van Der Meer know they have a role model to fol­low. They can dare to dream big.

Valance, who plays Paige Smith, has al­ready signed with Roar, the US agency that rep­re­sents Chris and Liam Hemsworth. The 23-yearold’s three-year con­tract with

Neigh­bours runs out early next year. Spec­u­la­tion is rife she will leave.

“It is all a bit un­der wraps at the mo­ment but we’ll see what hap­pens,” Valance says.

“Neigh­bours is my home at the mo­ment and I love my job. Long term I ab­so­lutely want to try some­thing else in the UK or USA. That’s the dream.

“Noth­ing can pre­pare you for a big move like that and I’m a real home­body. The thought of mov­ing away from my fam­ily and friends re­ally fright­ens me but in life you’ve got to take risks. I never want to look back and re­gret not try­ing some­thing.”

Hazel, who plays Piper Wil­lis, has been on Neigh­bours for just on a year so she is busy soak­ing up ev­ery act­ing skill she pos­si­bly can. Hol­ly­wood is on the wish list and she knows the skills she is learning on

Neigh­bours pro­vide the per­fect launch­ing pad.

“I’ve de­vel­oped (as an ac­tor) so much since I started on Neigh­bours,” Hazel says. “I’m very con­tent be­ing here and I want to make the most of this train­ing ground.

“Over­seas is very much a part of my fu­ture but be­fore I give LA or Eng­land a proper go I re­ally want to make sure I’m pre­pared for it. “Mar­got’s work ethic (on Neigh­bours) was im­pec­ca­ble. She al­ways ar­rived on set know­ing her lines. Be­ing where Mar­got has been I’m try­ing to repli­cate that.” Van Der Meer has al­ready been la­belled “the next Mar­got Rob­bie”. The 16-year-old joined the show in Fe­bru­ary. Like Rob­bie, she was raised on the Gold Coast.

Van Der Meer plays re­bel­lious teen Xan­the Can­ning who lives with grand­mother Sheila (Co­lette Mann) and half-brother Kyle (Chris Mil­li­gan). “I’d as­pired to be on

Neigh­bours so to get the role at 16 was in­cred­i­ble,” Van Der Meer says. “I’m not sure what the fu­ture holds. I’m happy where I am right now.

“Co­lette took me un­der her wing. I’d never been on a set be­fore. We are very close. It has been amaz­ing to have her help me along my way.”

Valance knows how far she has evolved as an ac­tor since she joined Neigh­bours. Paige is a com­plex char­ac­ter who has had a roller­coaster life.

She’s been ar­rested, black­mailed, in­volved in a stolen car ring, sur­vived the ex­plo­sion at Las­siter’s Ho­tel and had her heart bro­ken by un­der­cover cop Mark Bren­nan (Scott McGre­gor).

That has meant plenty of meaty scenes for Valance – the per­fect prepa­ra­tion for a shot at Hol­ly­wood star­dom.

“I’d love to try a su­per­nat­u­ral char­ac­ter – some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent to me or Paige,” Valance says. “I love all the Harry Pot­ter films, Star

Wars, The Hob­bit, some­thing like that.”



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