Aussie up-and-comer Daniel Lissing beat out other hopefuls to score a lead role in the US pilot ‘Last Resort’ – which has just been picked up for a series.
While February to April sees many of our local actors temporarily relocate to Los Angeles for "pilot season" in the hopes of being cast in a television series that will launch their career, emerging Australian actor, Daniel Lissing, scored a role without leaving the country. Furthermore, while other actors slug it out making a string of pilots that are never picked up for series, Lissing's first, Last Resort, has just been acquired by America's ABC network, and there's some impressive talent on board with the first episode directed by Martin Campbell and produced by Shawn Ryan (The Shield).
"I've been lucky," acknowledges Lissing whose previous credits include a regular role on the law drama, Crownies, and a handful of other popular local television series. "This is the first pilot that I've shot and it got a pick-up. I'm over the moon. Scoring a role in a pilot is hard to come by for us actors. I'm really fortunate in that my Australian agent is an American with deep ties and contacts in Hollywood. His relationships have opened a lot of doors for me. As a result, I haven't had to spend time in LA for pilot season, as I shoot my auditions on-tape in Sydney and send them over. Gotta love technology."
Sounding as though it sits somewhere between a thriller at sea and Lost-style mystery, the Hawaii-shot series follows a renegade crew of a nuclear submarine who go on the run after defying an order given under strange circumstances to deploy their weapons. They seek refuge at a NATO listening post and declare themselves the world's smallest sovereign nation with nuclear capability. They then face the challenges of creating a new society while monitoring the movements of the world's militaries.
"There aren't too many shows like Last Resort on commercial television in the US," Lissing says while keeping any spoilers well under wrap. "It's a different and exciting adventure drama and I think audiences will really enjoy this show. There is quite a big cast with many levels of story to tap into."
The series sees Lissing tackle the role of Navy Seal James King, a highly trained soldier with no ties back home in the US, and who sounds like the dark horse of the piece. "He's a little bit of a puzzle," Lissing says of his character. "He's broken up after his team leader is killed so he turns to the bottle. Also, he blames himself for the war that kicks off in the pilot. We don't know what side he'll be on in the show... if any. He's been so much fun to play."
Directing the action is New Zealand born Martin Campbell, whose work on Casino Royale and Green Lantern, sees him as a filmmaker well versed in huge-scale Hollywood productions. "Working with Martin Campbell was an amazing experience and a massive learning curve for me," Lissing says. "He has so much energy and a very clear view with how he wants a scene to play out. He'll talk to each actor in a way that they'll understand and he'll get a good performance from you...or else," the actor laughs.
Starring alongside Lissing is an impressive list of acting talent including Scott Speedman (Barney's Version, Underworld Evolution), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2L Judgment Day , Walk The Line, The X-Files) and Andre Braugher (Glory). In somewhat of a coup for the Aussies, local actresses, Daisy Betts (who impressed in last year's local thriller Caught Inside) and Dichen Lachman (Being Human), also scored lead roles. "Daisy and Dichen are both lovely and talented girls," Lissing says of his Australian co-stars. "It's great having them on set. We all like to see us Aussies doing well over there."
Find out more about Last Resort and watch the trailer for the pilot here.
The whole cast below.