cover story: Thrills, chills and spills on Con­spir­acy 365 .........

Ev­ery month Cal Or­mond’s life takes an­other dra­matic turn, writes Lisa Simmons

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAYCONTENTS -

HAR­RI­SON Gil­bert­son hopes view­ers like the thrilling new Con­spir­acy 365 as much he and his co-stars en­joyed mak­ing it.

The Ade­laide-reared 18-year-old knows fans of Gabrielle Lord’s best­selling ac­tion ad­ven­ture books will be watch­ing as he brings young an­ti­hero Cal Or­mond to life on TV screens.

Like the books, the 12-episode thriller will be re­leased in monthly in­stal­ments, each de­voted to a cal­en­dar month.

The first, called Jan­uary, de­buts on Satur­day week.

The $13 mil­lion Fam­ily Movie Chan­nel se­ries is the the most ex­pen­sive made for pay TV in Aus­tralia.

Filmed in Mel­bourne over 26 weeks, its com­pli­men­tary web­site will role out additional con­tent, games and video blogs recorded by the main play­ers.

‘‘Ev­ery­one, cast and crew, has worked so hard on this. We’re proud of what’s been ac­com­plished . . . well I know I am,’’ he says.

Gil­bert­son com­pleted his HSC while film­ing the ad­ven­tures of the young fugi­tive who has a year – the 365 days of the ti­tle – to un­ravel a deadly fam­ily se­cret, as­sisted by young friends played by kids TV favourite Marny Kennedy ( Mor­ti­fied, The Sad­dle Club) and screen new­comer Tay­lor Glock­ner.

Gil­bert­son, who ap­peared in the home­grown films Aus­tralian Rules and Be­yond Hill 60, en­joyed work­ing so closely for the first time with ac­tors so near his own age.

‘‘We got on well,’’ says Gil­bert­son, who adds the trio sparked over their shared pas­sion for act­ing.

‘‘Tay­lor was al­ways ref­er­enc­ing this ac­tor and that – I en­joyed his method ap­proach and I learned some things I never knew.’’

Like Gil­bert­son, Kennedy com­pleted her HSC while the trio worked on Con­spir­acy 365.

‘‘Marny is a smart and lovely girl. She comes from a dif­fer­ent work back­ground to me. As some­one who’s been able to do a lot of tele­vi­sion work, if I had prob­lems I could talk to her and she’d say ‘I re­mem­ber on this show the same thing hap­pened to me and this is how I dealt with it’.’’

Gil­bert­son en­joyed train­ing to pre­pare ahead of the stunt-heavy plot, filled with thrills, spills and car chases.

Like his co-stars, he had not read Lord’s books when he landed his role.

The show’s mak­ers ad­vised them to keep it that way. The idea was to keep their re­sponses fresh to some of the fear­ful sit­u­a­tions faced by the teens.

The se­ries, adapted from Lord’s books with the author con­sult­ing, has some points of dif­fer­ence, says Gil­bert­son.

‘‘The thing I like about this Cal is he’s so nor­mal. He’s some­one you or I could know,’’ he says.

‘‘He starts out as this kid who is com­pletely gut­ted and then some­thing hap­pens that makes him run, and he’s not good at that, but as the se­ries pro­gresses he gets fit­ter, stronger, leads his pack. Amaz­ing cir­cum­stances call for amaz­ing re­sults. He doesn’t start out as a hero, but he be­comes one.’’

The se­ries opens at Cal’s fa­ther’s funeral where a stranger ap­proaches to warn the teen he has a year to solve the puz­zle that killed his fa­ther and brings death or riches to first-born sons.

An at­tack that leaves his sis­ter in­jured fol­lows. Cal is blamed and flees.

Mean­while, lawyer Ori­ana De La Force (Ju­lia Zemiro) and the wicked Sligo (Rob Carl­ton), hope the teen will be their pass­port to riches and will use any means to get re­sults.

Con­spir­acy 365: Jan­uary: Satur­day, Jan­uary 14, 5.30pm, Fam­ily Movie Chan­nel

Har­ri­son Gil­bert­son

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