by James Mottram and Reuben Lazarus

Sydneysider Danielle Macdonald, residing in Los Angeles for the past 7-years, moved when she was only 18 to follow her acting dream. Now the lead in Sundance breakout Patti Cake$, we spoke with the actress on the rise at the recent Cannes Film Festival.

Had you acted in Australia before you came out to L.A?

I did all these theatre productions with my acting school and local theatre, but no film or TV. I had been doing classes in Australia for years but I had never worked professionally. I got a job in LA, which is why I came out. It was a show called Huge that was on ABC Family, but I was not able to do the job because I didn’t get my visa in time.

That must have been annoying.

I know, but at the same time I was so grateful that I got my visa. Otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten it. It’s really hard to get one and that project got it for me and really cemented it for me.

When you moved to LA did you move on your own?

Yeah, my parents, they miss me like crazy but they travelled as well. They love travelling. They both went travelling when they were younger. So, they understood it, which is really nice. They come out to visit, and I go home to visit. It was definitely really hard, when you are living away home, and you never have before. Figuring out how to pay bills and all. And doing this halfway across the world where you don’t know anyone, it makes it harder.

 Would you want to go back to Australia to work?

I would love to do a film in Australia for sure. I think that would be really cool. I’m based in LA now just because I’ve been there for a while, I have pets there, and my manager and agent, all of that’s kind of set up in LA. But I would love to be able to go back and film in Australia, as that’s where my family is. I’d love to be able to travel for work, it’s such a cool thing.

Coming from Australia and not New Jersey, how much could you relate to Patti’s upbringing?

I really figured out who Patti was through her heart, through her love for her family, through her passion, through her insecurities. That’s really where I found her, and that’s how I can relate to her. We’re very different on the outside, we have different passions. We have different ways of walking, talking, feeling, and reacting to situations. Very different, but at the same time we have something in common. We have something that makes it not easy in the industry. Rapping obviously, she’s not easily accepted, acting industry’s not easy to get into either. It’s especially difficult to get into when you look like someone like me, because I’m not the typical girl and that’s ok but it makes it more difficult. You get told by a lot of people that it’s not going to work.

Do you get told that you can be a character actor in certain things?

People definitely think that you’re a character actor. That’s just assumed. It’s like ‘oh yeah, you’re a character actor, you’ll be the best friend’.

Is it insulting?

On some level they’re like, ‘yeah, you’ll be the best friend’ and it’s like ‘great…. I won’t get to have my own story because I don’t look a certain way’. People don’t mean it to be insulting, it’s just how society is. That’s why I think it’s incredible when you have movies like this, because we are showing someone else’s life that’s different. The other thing about being a character actress that’s been really amazing for me, is that I never got typecast as something. Every project I’ve done has been really different. I have to match a physical description, but emotionally and character wise they’re so different from each other because of that. Whereas some of my friends that look like a beautiful leading lady they kind of get the same roles a lot of the time. And it’s very boring for them, it’s not the best, it’s not the most fun.

I want to do everything and what’s cool about being a character actor is that I’ve always gotten to experience different things. People always say, ‘get good at what you’re good at and then you’ll be fine’. But that’s not what acting is, you want to do different things, that’s the whole point.

Patti Cake$ is screening at the Revelation Perth International Film Festival ,the Melbourne International Film Festival and will be released in cinemas on September 14, 2017


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