A Q&A with Belinda Gosbee

Feb 24, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Uncategorized

Australian actors infiltrating the US entertainment industry, is certainly not a rarity these days. Once upon a time, invading ‘Aussies’ blended into the fabric with their pitch perfect American accents and we just assumed they were American. But today our film and TV is so crammed with Aussie faces, it’s hard to escape the fact that they are taking over Hollywood. From True Blood’s Ryan Kwantan, Hawaii 5-0’s Alex O’Laughlin, The Mentalist’s Simon Baker, United States of Tara’s Toni Collette and Chuck’s Yvonne Strahovski; to the film world’s current hot property: the Hemmesworth Brothers, Mia Wasikowska, Abbie Cornish, Sam Worthington, Guy Pearce, Rose Byrne and Joel Edgerton.

Australian actress Belinda Gosbee has been in the US herself for two and a half years and has already worked alongside the likes of Leo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara. She also morphed perfectly into the quintessential rural Southern Girl in Indie thriller East Stackton, played an All-American mom in baseball film The Pitch and recently won several awards for her portrayal of a ‘texting whilst driving’ mother in a powerful new commercial.

Belinda took some time out with me to explain the phenomenon of the Aussie actor, and her journey so far in the US of A.

Q. Belinda, everywhere you look right now there is an undercover Aussie gracing the screen here in the US. Why do you think Aussie’s are so successful here?

A. Yes! We really are infiltrating more than ever, aren’t we? I think it’s a few factors really. Firstly, we integrate well. We are quite adept with the American accent and we always turn up to auditions in an American accent. We don’t like to ever have it questioned that we are anything but American and we work hard at that. Why are we so great at the accent? It’s really hard to say but we do grow up with a lot of American film and TV in our ears, and I also think we have a very adaptable accent. The sounds are somehow easy to shift for us. Hey, we’re all convicts I think we just inherently know how to blend in! Secondly, we come from a very British style of actor training rooted deeply in the theatre. I think this gives us a real solid training base. And ultimately, I think we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’re a pretty grounded lot, and we drink far too much. I think the crews enjoy having us around (she laughs).


Q. So last year you got to work with Leo DiCaprio and Clint Eastwood on J. Edgar, and this year you filmed a small role in Spike Jonze’s new film, Her, alongside Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara. Tell me about it. You’ve only been here such a short time.

A. Yeah, it is quite a ‘pinch me’ moment when you find yourself up close and personal with some of the greatest working actors out there today. I personally grew up watching countless Clint Eastwood films, as my dad is such a fan. When he stepped out onto the set that day I was rendered speechless and started to tear up. I don’t think anyone has had that effect on me before! I was already standing beside Leo and was all very cool and calm about that, but Clint… And what an amazing director he is. So quiet, and yet so quick and efficient. Spike Jonze was very much the same. Very quiet, just got the job done. I’m really excited about Spike’s new film. It’s really unique, and it was such fun to shoot. I got to work directly with Joaquin Phoenix, who I just rate so highly. He is such a phenomenal actor. I think this film is going to be a cult classic.

Still from Aussie TV Show, Rescue: Special Ops

Q. So you were telling me that you are madly in love with the state of Louisiana. What’s the deal? Aren’t we lovable enough in Cali?

A. Oh my sweet Louisiana! I am, I’m in love! And New Orleans, don’t get me started. It’s officially my favourite city in the US. I had the pleasure of working for almost a month on location in rural Louisiana last year on this fantastic Indie film. I played the lead role of Kelly, who is a small town girl with a load of secrets. I was so honoured to get to play her. They auditioned in Hollywood as well as Louisiana to cast that role, and they gave it to an Aussie gal! I was the only non-southerner playing a southerner on that set and boy, that first day was daunting. I felt like they were hearing every little mistake in my accent and cursing me under their breaths. But everyone was amazing and stupidly fun, and the greatest compliment I could have been given was when a local girl came up to me and was, “Shut up! They’re telling me that you’re Australian?! There is no way. You’ve got my accent, girl!” But the people, and the food, and the culture down there, I was just in heaven. I was also a mad Saints fan already, so I fit in very well. And y’know I do absolutely adore California. I knew I’d become a true Angelino the day I first stuck up for my adopted city. I get so sick of people knocking LA. I take it so personally these days.


Q. So what’s next? What have you been up to recently?

A. Well, I just completed writing my first screenplay, which was a major accomplishment for me. I still can’t believe I did it. I’ve always written for myself, and I have a degree in Journalism, but the idea of writing a whole screenplay was so daunting. I kept convincing myself that I was the actor in this arrangement and that writing was for writers. The minute I acknowledged myself as a writer everything just fell into place. A wonderful writing teacher told me, “Write what you know”, so I did just that. I let it pour onto the page and somehow by the end I had this story. I’m excited about it. I really want to get it made, and I most definitely wrote with the idea of myself in the lead role. I’d be crazy not to. It’s all about making your own work these days. I’m so inspired by everything Brit Marling (Another Earth) has achieved.

I also want to get back onto the Stage. I am missing it incredibly right now. It’s like an ache in my heart. That is something I really want to focus on in the near future. I think LA has some great theatre, you just need to know where to look.


Q. So finally, tell me about this ‘anti- text and driving’ campaign you’ve had such success with of late.

A. Yes, it’s been doing so well. It has such an important message. We all take it so lightly, but texting and driving is serious and people are dying every day because of it. I sat down and spoke personally with the Santa Monica Fire Brigade (who funded the campaign) and the stories they could tell you just out of the Santa Monica area were horrific. In the commercial, I play a mother who ends up killing herself and both of her young daughters whilst sending her husband a quick text from behind the wheel. It’s just awful. But hard-hitting messages seem to make people stop and listen. I’m all for it. And yes, we have now won two awards for it. I’m stoked! An Indie Fest Merit and a Bronze Telly Award.

Belinda Gosbee is from Sydney Australia where she has carved out a career for herself across three mediums, having worked continuously in TV, film and theatre. She is a graduate of the Australian Academy of Dramatic Arts, and holds a BA in Journalism. www.belindagosbee.com

Stills from East Stackton, Louisiana