We’ve all heard stories of actors chucking in their dishwashing jobs and heading to the movie star Mecca that is Los Angeles.
Tales of woe, failure, near-misses and broken dreams nearly always ensue.
But for one former Ballarat actor, fitting into LA life and scoring more than a few good gigs has been an achievable dream.
Karen Mitchell, formerly of Soldiers Hill, credits her “verbose” personality with her ability to fit into American lifestyle and notch up movie roles.
She’s just arrived to film Broken Spirit in a leading role alongside fellow Australian actor Andy McPhee, known for his roles in Sons of Anarchy and Animal Kingdom.
The film is being filmed in the desert just outside LA and tells the story of an alternate dimension where spirits take over people’s bodies.
Mitchell, who has had success in other roles such as US movie Just One More Day and Australian series such as the Discovery Channel’s Deadly Women, plays the role of the antagonist in Broken Spirit, coaxing four young travellers to go into the portal.
“The idea is that crossing over into another dimension is easy, getting back could kill you,” she said from LA.
“I’ve found it a really solid entertaining script to be honest, there’s lots of special effects.”
Playing the role of an evil science fiction antagonist is a long way from where Mitchell started – as a professionally-trained ballet dancer.
I was a classically-trained ballet dancer so I did that from three years of age,” she said.
“Dance is a great discipline and a great foundation for a lot of performance-based work. It gives you a very strong discipline...but I prefer to act, I find it a better match. I find taking on different characters and taking yourself to different places emotionally is more of a challenge for me.”
Mitchell also said she’d adjusted well to life in LA.
“The main thing I like is there’s a lot of actors around so there are a lot of like-minded people,” she said.
“Americans really like Aussies so that’s a bonus. It’s always busy. With acting there’s lots of people and competition, but there’s lots of opportunities.
“I’m a very drive personality (type) and it goes very well with Americans. I’m quite verbose and in LA that’s pretty normal.”
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