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Far from home: Angourie Rice cements place in Hollywood

Angourie Rice is the latest Aussie to crack Hollywood.

Angourie Rice is the latest Aussie to crack Hollywood. Photo: TND/Getty

Angourie Rice is the latest Australian rising star to cement a place in Hollywood, co-starring alongside actress and A-lister Jennifer Garner in a new Apple TV+ action thriller.

Rice, named after a sleepy surf town on the New South Wales north coast where her grandmother lived, is one of the latest young Aussies who’ve made a name for themselves in the cut-throat world of acting.

Just think Milly Alcock (House of the Dragon), Kodi Smit-McPhee, an Oscar nominee at just 25 with The Power of the Dog, Eliza Scanlen (Sharp Objects), Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why) and Olivia DeJonge (Elvis), who are among five recent exports.

Last month, at just 19, it was Sydney actor Teagan Croft (Titans) making headlines for playing Jessica Watson in Netflix’s True Spirit.

Now, it’s Rice’s turn to rise to the top, after doing due diligence on studio sets with big names like Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Kate Winslet and Rebel Wilson for the past seven years.

“I’ve been doing this for longer than I haven’t, so it’s in my bones,” the 22-year-old told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Child actor

Melbourne-based Rice was a child actor, beginning her career in Perth with short films and TV commercials before coming to industry attention at 11 with a lead role in Zak Hilditch’s short Transmission, for which she won a best actress award at St Kilda Film Festival.

With both parents passionately involved in the arts (her father is director Jeremy Rice and her mother, actor Kate Rice), Tinseltown was beckoning.

“I am very fortunate to have parents who love the arts and who are in the arts because they love it,” she told the SMH.

At 15, and in year 9, she shared the screen with Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe in The Nice Guys; she quarantined during the global pandemic with Winslet for Mare of Easttown, and last year played a young Rebel Wilson in Netflix’s Senior Year.

In between all this, she has been cast as Betty Bryant in three Spider-Man movies between 2017 and 2021 – Homecoming, Far From Home and No Way Home – which grossed more than $US4 billion in box office receipts.

In The Last Thing He Told Me (now streaming), Rice plays teenager Bailey, whose father has suddenly gone missing.

Starring and executive produced by Garner (and produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine), the series is based on the acclaimed No.1 New York Times bestselling novel by Laura Dave.

Garner plays Hannah, a woman who develops a relationship with Bailey to find the truth about why her father has mysteriously disappeared.

Rice, in town last week to spruik the series, told Ten’s The Project that Garner (Alias, Elektra) who shares three children with ex-husband Ben Affleck (Air), was “a dream to work with”.

“We rode bikes from our trailers to the studio … she made blueberry buckle [crumble] for the entire crew,” she said.

And she loved the whole experience.

“Growing up in that environment, seeing people in the arts just because they felt that they couldn’t do anything else, really instilled in me an understanding that if you want to do it you have to love it,” she earlier told the SMH.

“There are so many things that make it hard.

“It can be very isolating; it can be very exhausting; the rejection can be overwhelming and your love for it has to outweigh all that.

“And it does.”

She’s played the surly, angst-ridden teen a few times in these big hits, and the happy girl next door.

‘Respect for Hollywood’

And it’s all down to good acting. Hollywood acting coach and mentor to the stars, Bernard Hiller, who has crossed paths with everyone from Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz and Jeff Goldblum to Lindsay Lohan, has an explanation for why rising stars like Rice are in the zone.

“There’s a game called cricket,” he told UK’s Telegraph.

“Do you think you could play that game if you don’t know the rules? I would say the No.1 reason why people come to Hollywood and fail is that they don’t know the rules of Hollywood.

“Hollywood is a certain game. It’s not called ‘show up’ …  it’s show business, it’s a business. You need to have respect for Hollywood.”

And Rice does.

angourie rice

Angourie Rice looks totally at home sandwiched between major Hollywood stars Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. Photo: Getty

She lists former Home and Away actor turned Hollywood royalty Margot Robbie among her role models, telling The Australian last year she sees a future in producing (Robbie has producing credits on Barbie, Harley Quinn and I,Tonya).

Rice also takes inspiration from US actor Kirsten Dunst, who she worked alongside in The Beguiled with Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell and Elle Fanning.

“I admire the career path she’s taken, especially because she started when she was so young,” Rice said.

“I definitely have a desire for more control. I look up to those people who make that transition and build a business around it.”

Alcock received a Critics’ Choice Television Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Photo: TND

Rising stars

Milly Alcock, 23, won the 2018 Casting Guild of Australia Rising Star Award after her starring role playing a runaway teenager Meg, who hitchhikes across the Australian outback in Upright.

She caught the attention of producers and before she knew it she was on a plane to the UK to play Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the king’s first-born child in House of the Dragon.

Overnight, she went from 27,000 Instagram followers to more than one million fans.

Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee in Slow West in 2015. Photo: Netflix

Kodi Smit-McPhee, 26, also gained recognition as a child actor in films like X-Men and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

His stand-out role in 2021’s Power of the Dog led to dozens of nominations and awards for best supporting actor, including a Golden Globe win and an Oscar nomination.

He’s currently working on a TV mini series in the US, Disclaimer.

teagan croft true spirit

Teagan Croft goes from sci-fi series to sailor Jessica Watson in True Spirit. Photo: Netflix

Teagan Croft was the talk of the town last month after portraying round-the-world sailer Jessica Watson in the Netflix biopic, True Spirit.

The five-season Titans lead star channelled Watson’s spirit and received wide acclaim for her role.

Olivia DeJonge, Austin Butler and Tom Hanks at the Sydney premiere of Elvis at the State Theatre in 2022. Photo: Getty

Olivia DeJonge, 25, shot to stardom playing Priscilla Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic and walked the red carpet around the world with the best in the business.

Also a child star, she has worked mainly in short films and TV series including The Staircase.

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