‘The Marshes’’ and ‘Home and Away’s’ Sam Delich: An Actor’s Life During COVID

The superfluation of content and stories about adapting and pivoting to life during COVID-19 is such that any story highlighting it as a point of difference has become a cliché. 

Taking a unique spin on the story however is a profile of Australian actor Sam Delich, acclaimed star of horror hit The Marshes and Home and Away, currently filming a slew of projects in the midst of the pandemic (and associated frequency of on-set testing and masks) and about to head over to the US in the coming months for a few more. 

Suffice to say the actor’s blessed during a time when the global industry has been decimated with jobs lost and productions cut short – hence why our editors wanted to profile the actor to determine why thinks he’s been lucky enough to maintain a firm mindset and consistent opportunities when few others are. 

Sam in press-mode at the Heath Ledger awards before COVID-19 reduced the number of red-carpet events worldwide. Below, shot in Sydney.
Sam Delich shot by Sophie Jay.

“The work itself is what drives me,” Sam begins. “[A] good script, good story and a full day of shooting and I’m a happy camper. I’m easily pleased some would say. It’s been tricky with productions shutting down during covid…It’s nothing compared to what many people are dealing with on a global scale.  But I really do think in times of crisis people turn to entertainment as a means of not only escapism but a chance to hear voices of those affected by the issues we all face.”

Sam’s commitment to story is apparent when reviewing his filmography and presence on screen, since he stepped onto the stage playing the vengeful Laertes in the acclaimed final graduating WAAPA production of Hamlet, directed by the AACTA nominated John Sheedy, or on the set for magical realist drama film Back to Earth, which co-starred Spartacus’ star Tom Hobbs (also known for appearing alongside Oscar-winners Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth in The Railway Man). 

In that film, the surrealist scenario involving the resurrection of his dead brother for one more night on earth would have had any actor oscillating between tones and tropes.

Sam’s handling of the material in the character of Lou however, in moments where he effortlessly expresses unbridled sentimentalism and pure joy, all the way down to deep grief in truly affecting moments, is a clear manifestation of Delich’s ability to suspend any qualms about believability and serve story in a way that very few actors can. He, in the words of co-star Tom Hobbs is truly a “[r]are breed of talent. He’s unafraid. It’s a pleasure working with someone who constantly throws fresh ideas out during scenes. It keeps you on your toes. He’s made me a better actor that’s for sure.”

Sam’s performance clearly resonated with producers and industry decision makers, helping secure Back to Earth’s distribution with ABC iView Australia and its 3 million users. 

Sam (center) in ‘Back to Earth’, its international success on the film festival circuit a product of his empathetic performance.

Successes such as this are irrelevant to an actor of Sam’s caliber however, as not long after that production he stepped onto the set of horror film The Marshes. Reviews at the time of the film’s release frequently highlighted Sam’s gripping and truly committed performance.

When looking back at the film through the lens of what Delich is currently accomplishing in the midst of a year that many have described as real-life horror, Sam’s uniqueness as an actor is even more apparent.

In one moment Sam’s character Will has to hear the news that his friend has almost certainly been brutally slaughtered by the terrifying spectre that haunts them, all the while needing to make the rapid decision to run into the unknown marshland or stay and fight tooth and nail for survival.

“That was a bloody hard day,” Sam explains. “It’s a pivotal scene and required everything I had in the tank. Accessing emotion has never been hard for me but to perform in that environment tested all of us….After all the tears and yelling were done thankfully we were all able to shake it off and have a laugh,” Sam adds with a smile.

“I will never forget my co-star Eddie Baroo (Australia, Wolf Creek) getting stuck waist deep in the mud. He kept asking for help but nobody could stop laughing. You always remember day’s like that.”

Sam starred in the horror hit, ‘The Marshes.’

The extremities of The Marshes may have been demanding, but pushing himself to the limits of filming in the Australian outback in high-heat must’ve made subsequent appearances a breeze, as Delich’s on-screen appearances thereafter are truly easeful. In Home and Away, for instance, where Sam’s portrayal of Mark sees him pursuing the affection of acclaimed actor Sophie Dillman’s ‘Ziggy’, Sam balances charm with an underlying edge that hooked viewers at the time and is frequently cited upon as a critical moment in the self-actualisation of Dilmman’s protagonist. 

“I remember the moment where the audience was going to realise my intentions were a little more sinister. Grabbing Sophie’s arm and saying “Where do you think you’re going?” After playing a charming surfer for every other scene was fun. Sophie kept saying between takes “I wonder if girls watching will still think you’re cute.”

Sam made a memorable appearance in the award-winning drama, ‘Home and Away.’

Clearly Sam likes to keep the viewers guessing.

With all these memorable appearances considered, Sam’s success is unsurprising. Like most actors, it’s been a long-road but consistency and discipline over many years obviously has a cumulative effect which has attracted directors, casting agents and producers seeking to collaborate with Sam in a manner that, in hindsight, seems like an inevitability. 

At the end of our conversation, Sam echoed a sentiment that borrowed from Al Pacino’s character in Any Given Sunday, one that will undoubtedly resonate not just with actors reading this but anyone in need of inspiration during what has undoubtedly been a challenging year.

It’s a game of inches”: You just gotta get bit by bit over the line and eventually you have an opportunity to score. Sometimes work comes easy, sometimes you gotta hustle. The industry is always trying to blitz you. Outsmart it and find the play that is going to get you to the end.”

Home and Away’s grant Lyndon on alternating between mediums

While 2020 has been a year characterised by people being forced to pivot, Australian actor Grant Lyndon has been used to doing just that on a regular basis since the beginnings of his career in Sydney for quite some time.

As he, and any other prominent studio executive or producer would attest, actors need not just be malleable and versatile in their screen abilities, but their dexterity with life too. 

Grant Lyndon, shot by Leeroy TeHira.

The life of an actor calls for flexibility and frequent change. It’s to be expected that, in the case of an expert on the matter like Grant is, he boasts prominent experience across all different mediums and genres. 

The Shane-Abbess-directed feature The Osiris Child, where Grant is listed amongst other cast members such as The Mummy franchise star Luke Ford and Transformers actress Isabel Lucas, represented a pivot in a medium after Grant had spent years in television and voice work. 

In his role as Dr Curruthers, Lyndon stands out especially in the penultimate scene counseling Sy (played by Twilight star Kellan Lutz) through the loss of his wife in the futuristic world’s emergency room.

The gritty realism infused with a metallic energy reminiscent of the best George Lucas movies formed a fitting backdrop for the compelling energy of Grant’s time on screen in character, underscoring the notion how he is a true cinematic actor deserving of a close-up. 

Grant’s pitch-perfect embodiment of an American character was also a notable feature of the stand-out role, which is an effective juxtaposition to the father-of-four’s memorable appearance in Home and Away. 

The iconic and long-running TV series could not be more different from the futuristic world in Shane Abbess’ feature, serving as another strong example for how Grant – in his dexterity as a trained actor – effortlessly jumps from world to world. 

Grant appears on the iconic and award-winning drama ‘Home and Away’, also streaming on 7+, reinforcing the importance of his role at the network.

There was one similarity between the roles however, as Grant was asked by Home and Away producers to embody the senior academic authority of his Osiris Doctor character when playing the part of Professor Calabra. While the storyline was crucial to viewer interest, involving the development of Pia Miller’s Katarina Chapman’s career changes, the performance gives any viewer insight into the skills and talents that set Grant apart from other Australian TV actors. 

For one, echoing the words of notable producers, Lyndon’s handling of the material and dialogue encapsulates a masculine credibility as conflated with an understated sensitivity. This duality, seen throughout exchanges between Grant’s character and others as well as in private moments and close-ups, embodies a masculine credibility more reminiscent of old-style Hollywood than modern television.

If that proven versatility wasn’t enough, Grant also is well-known for his voice work. In Motown Magic, Grant voices the character of Johnny in a role well-received by viewers of the hit children’s series all over the world on none other than streaming giant, Netflix. 

In one notable moment, Grant brings the tender tones that are available in one’s voice when using a US accent, to console his daughter. Less is definitely more in this case. The subtleties that are required to really nail a convincing performance so the accent is as natural as possible & doesn’t get in the way, can only come from an artist who has carefully fine tuned his craft over years of development and work. 

The role in Motown Magic solidified a relationship Lyndon has proven with the streaming platform, as he also made a memorable appearance in the popular Netflix series Chosen, alongside Sam Hayden Smith and AACTA-nominated actor Fayssal Bazzi (who stars alongside Cate Blanchett in Stateless). 

Playing another surgeon, Grant clearly solidified his place as the ‘go-to’ doctor in the Australian film and television industry.  

When asked about the secret to carving out places in different pockets of the industry, Grant speaks from a humble place. 

“You just need to be yourself. Ultimately there  is something in the essence of each character in all of us. Locating the likeness (sometimes it may be something we don’t necessarily like about ourselves!) in your character allows you to really walk in the shoes of your character.” 

The spirit echoed in Grant’s words speak to the balance between focus and relaxation needed for people during a stressful year like 2020. 

If there was any advice to aspiring actors, Grant’s would be: Be patient, and use all of the experiences in your life, good and bad, to allow you to deepen your empathy, and ultimately give life to any character you play with authenticity and truth.”

Grant also adds something someone once told him: “the best advice I was ever given was, “Be the kind of actor that gets booked twice”, meaning be humble, generous, and a team player.”

If dominating the feature, television and animated corners of the industry wasn’t enough for the accomplished actor, however, Grant boasts a career as the undisputed ‘voice over king’ of Australia. 

Grant is not just the voice of one, not two, not three, but 6 major household name companies in Australia, ranging from Toyota, bank ING, Qantas, Channel Seven and none other than McDonalds. 

Grant Lyndon is the voice of McDonald’s prolific television and radio commercials.

“Putting in the hard work on your technique, really getting used to hearing yourself in a studio environment, and knowing your strengths are all super beneficial to becoming a working voice artist…It’s also great to be able to work remotely. It’s a saving grace in a world where human contact has been very limited. Most voice artists have a home studio set up of some description.”

Suffice to say, Grant’s capable of giving valuable advice but doesn’t stray away from continuing to evolve himself, as 2020 has shown.

Exclusive: award-winning Australian Actor Alec Ebert on craft and commerce.

Alec Ebert as ‘Derek’ in ‘The Expert’.

Award-winning Australian actors Blanchett and Hugh Jackman have each been quoted on a number of occasions that their success on screen, and their award-winning performances, are attributable to their early careers in the theatre. And while it’d behove many young actors to follow their advice, it’s rare in today’s age to meet a successful TV or film actor who develops a career on stage like the generations of actors before them in an era of TikTok and Instagram.

Award-winning Australian actor Alec Ebert therefore falls into a rare category. After starting out a career in sales, Ebert burst onto the Australian theatre scene in 2016 with an acclaimed performances Charlie Fox in David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow.  It’s this past history which has formed a solid bedrock onto which his film and TV career has been built which, in the word of those industry professionals interviewed for this profile, will allow it to continue for decades to come. 

As well-known actor Chris Thornton attests, “…few can rival the skills and ability Alec Ebert possesses. I would rank Mr. Ebert as one of the very best performing artists internationally.”

Alec’s work in the film The Expert is in many ways a synthesis of his work in the theatre. In the intense thriller, Ebert plays Derek, an introverted, socially awkward man who fetishises one of his work colleagues. The story concerns the presumptions we make of others, social  isolation, and a thriller-style twist, while dragging the audience into the dark inner life of Derek. When watching the film, it’s clear how it called on Alec to tap into a range of intensity reminiscent of Marlon Brando. 

‘After Nightfall’ star Alec Ebert as ‘Derek’ in ‘The Expert.’

In one moment, Alec, as Derek, portrays the intensity and inner life of his character through wordless expression, raising a scarf stolen from his crush in his mouth in a creepily sensual way, leaving no allusions as to how we as the audience feel about this guy.

It probably also helps that The Expert’s director, Rachel Soland, has also worked on Hulu thriller series Into The Dark, from legendary ‘horror’ production company Blumhouse (helmed by Oscar-nominated producer Jason Blum). That company, helmed by Oscar-nominated film producer Jason Blum, is behind such mega horror successes like Insidious, The Invisible Man (Elisabeth Moss), Paranormal Activity and Happy Deathday.  Such esteemed associations evident when examining Ebert’s career reinforce how the creme da la creme of the industry always ends up working with one another, and that he himself belongs in an elusive category of artists who – while ironically commercially and financially successful – are first and foremost focused on story and craft. 

Ebert’s career boasts associations with filmmakers who have worked on Hulu’s popular ‘Into the Dark’ series

Good art leads to commerce, as they say. Not the other way around. 

When asked what theatre has taught him, and how it has undoubtedly informed his success which can be seen in film Vulture, and David-Lynch-like online series After Nightfall, Alec is simple and direct. 

“The theatre taught me that no performance is too big if the inner life of the character’s experience is truthful. This is as true for the camera as it is for the stage.’

In many ways it’s not a shock to learn of Alec’s success, as it’s to be expected that someone with such an ardent appreciation of art, as he shows, would want to have explored every facet of performance on his way to moving through the ranks to be among the top of the acting field in Australia.

“Child-like curiosity is in all of us, sometimes just below the surface, sometimes buried deep. As we grow older, we forget it, we ‘grow up,’ but it’s still there. I really believe that the secret to true maturity is finding your curiosity – learning to be a child again. I learned this from my late grandfather and it is how I found acting.”

Alec’s upcoming starring performances in US projects from filmmakers like Tim McNeil and Eric Thompson are a testament to how the international film industry seeks out exceptional talent, no matter where they are in the world. The engagements in these projects were arranged by his Amercian sponsor, underscoring how vital a role he will play at the companies in the future, given the high-anticipation the industry places on the productions as it seeks to recover from COVID-19.

Ebert, who was originally born in Melbourne, Australia to parents of Sri Lankan and Australian heritage, is humble when asked about his current success, even when we point to the the recent acclaim The Expert attracted at the Los Angeles Thriller Film Festival or the Minnesota Terror Film Festival, and his acknowledgment by the Short + Sweet Festival for Best Actor, where none other than Miranda Otto and Peter O’Brien were in attendance. 

Ebert in a rehearsal for one of his many stage productions which have established a strong foundation upon which his screen career has been built.

Alec’s appearance in DNA: The Petersons is an additional reflection of the wide range of his craft as proven in a number of leading roles in production of significant merit. In that film, Ebert worked with Nelson Cruz. 

“Acting will never be about Instagram or networking or accolades. These are incidental. It’s all the work you do in the quiet of the night that will define you. It is hard and it is rewarding. The true joy of acting is in the process – to honour the truth of a story – not the honours that come from a job well done. Having said that, it’s always nice to indulge in a little recognition every now and again!”

script supervisor extraordinaire tamara hansen proves to be an invaluable asset to hollywood filmmakers

The extensive and superior role of a script supervisor requires immaculate focus and attention to detail, not to mention the ability to overcome high-stress situations when unexpected curveballs are thrown their way.

With a superpower-like range of skills to her name, leading script supervisor Tamara Hansen is undoubtedly the ultimate behind the scenes ninja when it comes to filmmaking.

Script Supervisor extraordinaire Tamara Hansen – photographed by Rolan Shlain

A true master at multitasking, Hansen’s ability to go above and beyond her general job expectations made her an invaluable member behind the scenes of the recent 2020 conspiracy thriller film “18 ½”. 

The dark comedy was produced by award-winning filmmaker Terry Keefe (“Slaves of Hollywood”) and directed by award-winning producer, author and screenwriter Dan Mirvish, who was recently named one of Variety‘s Top 50 Creatives to Watch.

The film, which stars two-time Primetime Award winner Jon Cryer (“Two and a Half Men,” “Pretty in Pink”) and award winning actor John Magaro (“The Big Short,” “Carol”), is a 1970s era Watergate scandal conspiracy thriller about a Whitehouse transcriber who obtains the only copy of the infamous 18 ½ minute gap in the Nixon tapes. 

Hansen’s role on set was to ensure continuity and prepare the edit logs for all departments, including camera, lighting, sound, wardrobe, make-up and sets, helping to prevent any errors that could occur between takes. 

Considering the size of each department, Hansen’s scrupulous organizational skills along with her ability to facilitate clear communication channels between all teams were integral to ensuring that production ran smoothly.

“For a director, having a strong script supervisor is essential. Tamara was a wonderful creative collaborative partner to work with, dedicated to the film, and loyal to a fault in helping protect my creative vision for the film,” says “18 ½” director Dan Mirvish. 

He adds, “Tamara is easily the best script supervisor I’ve ever worked with, and she’s an invaluable member of the filmmaking creative community… We couldn’t have made this movie without her.”

Unfortunately, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the production of the film took an unexpected halt in March and only recently completed shooting in late September. 

“Tamara’s calm but determined personality was exactly what our cast and crew needed,” says the film’s producer Terry Keefe. “Nerves were very frayed because of events happening in the outside world.”

Director Dan Mirvish adds, “She’s always got a welcoming smile on her face, whether it’s first thing in the early morning, or after a long night’s worth of filming. She’s incredibly even-keeled and supportive even when the rest of the crew is freaking out or panicking.” 

“Dan always listened to my notes which was great,” says Hansen. “Now that we’re in the edit, Dan is sending me cuts of the movie to get my notes and thoughts on it, for a final edit, which is very exciting and I really appreciate his trust.”

The highly anticipated film is currently in post-production, and expected for international release in 2021.

Behind the scenes with Tamara Hansen – photographed by Greg Starr

Her exceptional work as the script supervisor on the 2020 horror “Dreamkatcher” had the film’s award-winning writer and director Kerry Harris (“Grip and Electric”) dubbing Hansen as the “Google” of filmmaking. 

“Tamara is quite simply indispensable and I fear by singing her praises I may not find her available for my next film,” says Harris. “That said, the filmmaking world deserves to know.”

“Dreamkatcher” tells the chilling story of a young boy trapped in a nightmarish entity, and stars Radha Mitchell (“Man of Fire,” “Finding Neverland”), Henry Thomas (“E.T the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Legends of the Fall”) and Lin Shaye (“Insidious,” “There’s Something About Mary”).

After applying for the role via a job posting, it was her strong determination to follow up with the director after several weeks of silence that essentially landed her the job. 

“I remember not hearing back from the line producer and thought I didn’t get the job,” she says. 

“After two to three weeks I followed up and she let me have an interview with the director. I found out later that the director didn’t like any of the others who interviewed previously that’s why they were still looking. This is the best example for when persistence works out.”

Given that Hansen is extremely diligent when it comes to detail, it was her ability to maintain strong continuity between each department that ensured every shot remained unanimous in order to cut together for the final edit.

Her flawless edit logs became invaluable to the film’s editor, who thoroughly relied on her notes to effectively bring the whole film together. 

She adds, “I made sure the editor had a record of what the director’s choices on set were, what takes he liked best, what worked out great and what didn’t. I made sure everything stayed cohesive and would cut together in the edit.”

The film, which was released in April 2020 by global entertainment corporation Lionsgate, is streaming across major digital entertainment giants such as Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix.

Official “Dreamkatcher” Trailer (2020)

But it’s not just Hansen’s studious leadership and organizational skills that sets her apart from the rest. 

Notorious Hollywood directors and producers often rely on her ability to make decisive verdicts on set, which inevitably improves the final result of the shoot. 

Her ability to actively support the production team extends to include more than just full-length feature films, and over the years she’s applied her unwavering work ethic to the detailed world of documented television series. 

The historic docuseries “The Food that Built America,” which was narrated by award-winning actor and producer Campbell Scott (“The Amazing Spider Man 1 & 2,” “Jurassic World: Dominion”), tells the unknown stories of the innovations and rivalries behind the American food industry’s best known tycoons. 

“Working on a tv-show is more fast paced than filming a movie,” says Hansen. “It was a recreation show, which was very interesting, because we recreated the stories of how Heinz Ketchup was invented, how McDonalds became a franchise etc., It was interesting learning and recreating real life events.” 

Coming off the run of an incredibly strong first season, which drew over 18.8 million viewers, the hit series has been renewed for a second season by leading documentary channel History, which will include 18 episodes.  

Hansen was asked by the show’s line producer to return for season two, however due to her prior commitments on a soon to be announced independent film, she was unable to commit.

“The Food That Built America” television series – History channel

When a director or producer requires integral information, whether a slight detail in a costume change, or whichever lens was used in the film’s opening scene, it’s guaranteed that with Hansen’s precise memory and intricate edit logs, she’ll always have the answer. 

“18 ½” producer Terry Keefe says, “Tamara has an almost photographic memory, or maybe she has an actual photographic memory that may be a superpower, she keeps that a secret.. that really comes in handy in her work.” 

With a stellar repertoire of success to her name, and with consistent praise from honored Hollywood filmmakers, it’s no surprise that Tamara Hansen is renowned as the ultimate right-hand woman when it comes to filmmaking.