The Courier-Mail

Flight of fancy

Claire van der Boom found play­ing a young Diane Keaton a scary but chal­leng­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,

- Writes Vicky Roach

Claire van der Boom is a re­luc­tant name drop­per, but the high pro­file con­nec­tions she has es­tab­lished over six long and some­times hard years liv­ing and work­ing in the US are be­gin­ning to pay div­i­dends.

Play­ing Sam Shep­ard’s grand­daugh­ter in the TV pi­lot Tough Trade (2010) gave the thirty-some­thing West Aus­tralian a foot in the door when the leg­endary US play­wright re­cast the of­fBroad­way pro­duc­tion of his new play Heart­less. (Her au­di­tion did the rest.)

And van der Boom’s per­for­mance as a younger ver­sion of Diane Keaton in the au­tum­nal ro­mance 5 Flights Up (open­ing across Aus­tralia to­day) led di­rectly to a role in the dark ro­man­tic drama Bat­tle­creek, di­rected by Clint East­wood’s daugh­ter Ali­son.

“I re­ally shy away from the word ‘net­work­ing’,’’ says van der Boom, who made her big screen break­through in the Edger­ton broth­ers’ 2008 crime drama The Square.

“I feel a bit gross about mak­ing those con­nec­tions and I have never re­ally ac­tively done it. But I think my work ethic is pretty good to be asked to work with the same peo­ple again and again.”

Van der Boom’s most re­cent pro­ject, a well-re­ceived LA stage pro­duc­tion of The Trou­ble We Came From, was writ­ten by her Hawaii Five-0 co-star Scott Caan.

“In be­tween takes (of the suc­cess­ful TV re­boot) we’d sit in one of the trail­ers and read through his plays,’’ says the ac­tress, who plays Caan’s exwife in the CBS crime se­ries.

It was van der Boom’s first theatre role since a 12-month stint in New York in 2012, which also saw her cast in a new work by renowned Amer­i­can play­wright David Rabe ( An Early History of Fire).

“The stage is def­i­nitely where I am most ter­ri­fied and most ex­cited,’’ she says.

Play­ing Keaton as a young woman also came with its own very spe­cific set of chal­lenges.

In or­der to pre­pare, Van der boom im­mersed her­self in Keaton’s back cat­a­logue – from se­ri­ous dra­mas such as The God­fa­ther and Look­ing For Mr Good­bar to the Os­carnom­i­nee’s ca­reer-defin­ing role in Woody Allen’s An­nie Hall and more re­cent comedies such as Some­thing’s Gotta Give.

“I wanted to find the through-line of her man­ner­isms and where her ner­vous sys­tem lies,’’ van der Boom says.

“Diane is in­nately Diane. (Play­ing her) was such a beau­ti­ful les­son for me in terms of just be­ing brave and bold with show­ing who you are.re.

“It wasn’t so much ch mim­ick­ing her as un­der­stand­ing the spirit of who she is be­cause it comes mes through in all her work.”

In the lead-up to her own per­for­mance, Van der boom spent a week on set watch­ing Keaton col­lab­o­rate with co-star Mor­gan Free­man.

The 69-year-old screen icon’s en­su­ing vote of con­fi­dence came as a great re­lief.

“She was very com­pli­men­tary, which­hich ob­vi­ously meant a great deal,’’ says van der Boom. “It’s scary play­ing some­one real — es­pe­cially when they are in front of you.”

In 5 Flights Up, Keaton and Free­man’s char­ac­ters have lived to­gether in the same Brook­lyn apart­ment for four decades. Van der boom’s no­madic lifestyle, on the other hand, has made it quite dif­fi­cult to put down roots.

Although a re­cent, ex­tended so­journ in Cal­i­for­nia has al­lowed her to do ex­actly that — by plant­ing her very first vegie gar­den.

“I am so proud of my toma­toes and my herbs and my kale, but I am at that point now where I can’t plant any­thing else,” she says.

Van der boom is cur­rently pack­ing her bags for At­lanta where she is about to start work on the new NBC TV drama

Game Of Si­lence, about an lawyer whose ris­ing ca­reer is threat­ened by a child­hood se­cret.

Writ­ten by Dave Hud­gins ( Fri­day Nights), the first sea­son has been green­lit by NBC on the back of a suc­cess­ful pi­lot episode. Film­ing will con­tinue un­til Christ­mas.

“It will be the long­est run­ning job I have had for eight years,’’ says van der Boom.

“Fi­nan­cially, it’s a nice gift. It will be nice to pay the rent easily for a while.

Adding to her sense of se­cu­rity is a new re­la­tion­ship with a fel­low thes­pian (he’s Amer­i­can but that’s all she’s re­veal­ing to­day.)

“Peo­ple say ac­tors shouldn’t be with ac­tors, but it’s won­der­ful when you both have these lit­tle pock­ets of time when you are both not work­ing,’’ van der Boom says.

“And you also un­der­stand those 16 hour days — although we have this rule that we don’t go more than three weeks with­out see­ing each other.”

In pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ships, the strain of those ex­tended pe­ri­ods spent apart due to work com­mit­ments has proven some­thing of a deal breaker.

“I have been in the po­si­tion where I have felt like I have had to choose — to stay sta­ble and re­ally nur­ture my re­la­tion­ship or con­tinue to travel and fol­low my as­pi­ra­tions,’’ she says. “But at the mo­ment I feel very sup­ported with all of that.”

“It wasn’t so much mim­ick­ing her as un­der­stand­ing the spirit of who she is”

VAN DER BOOM ON PLAY­ING KEATON

 ?? 5 Flights Up. / GREGG POR­TE­OUS ?? Claire van der Boom and (be­low) with co-star
Korey Jack­son in
5 Flights Up. / GREGG POR­TE­OUS Claire van der Boom and (be­low) with co-star Korey Jack­son in
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