Arts / Miranda plays it strong

MIRANDA O’Hare has been living in Los Angeles for the last couple of years, but it’s in Australia that she’s had her first big break, scoring the lead part in an Aussie feature called “Indigo Lake”.

“CityNews” caught up with the former St Clare’s College, Canberra Youth Theatre and National Acting School student by phone to LA recently as she was preparing to fly back to Australia for red-carpet nights and to visit her family before flying on to China to shoot episodes for the series “Killing the Cure”, in which she plays an American assassin.

Miranda O’Hare… “I’m not trying to cure cancer, I’m just pursuing an acting career.”

O’Hare counts herself fortunate in coming from a modestly-sized city such as Canberra.

“My family are just normal people, mum works for Qantas, my sister is a teacher – it keeps your head on your shoulders. I’m not trying to cure cancer, I’m just pursuing an acting career,” she says.

“I’m kind of in limbo. I’m going to Sydney and then to Canberra and probably then to China.”

The self-confessed acting obsessive is one of the most in-demand young Australian actresses now living in Los Angeles, but regards the role of Ruby in “Indigo Lake”, directed by Martin Simpson and produced by former “born-and-bred” Canberran Brian Cobb, as one to die for.

The film centres on an old story. Artist Jack is pressured into painting the portrait of a Sydney crime kingpin’s beautiful wife – that’s O’Hare’s part – but when he falls in love with his subject, a murderous plan is hatched. But, as the promoters unashamedly pun: “Murder is not so easy as it’s painted”.

“Ruby is something of a femme fatale, a Hitchcock blonde, vulnerable but strong,” O’Hare tells me.

“There’s a skeleton in the closet and we learn that Bill has saved her from an interesting past.

“It’s a fun role to play; there are some really dark moments in the film.” It’s a quintessentially Australian and particularly Sydney film in its setting, she says.

It’s been a long haul to success for O’Hare, but she’s never deviated from her ambition to act.

“My God, I was obsessed,” she says.

“I did a double major in drama and English, I went to Canberra Youth Theatre when I was 12 and stayed there until I was 15 and then I went to the National Acting School run by Bobby Farquhar… that was when I realised I really wanted to become an actor… I still talk to Bobby.”

After Farquhar taught her the fundamentals of acting, she moved to Sydney, studying screen acting, appeared in “Packed to the Rafters”, “Home and Away”, “Cops L.A.C”,  a recurring role on the ABC’s “The Cut” and became the face of Clearasil in “Cleo” magazine.

“I don’t really think of myself as a model and I try not to say too much about it,” she says.

She did a writing degree at UTS, wrote short stories and poetry and became a correspondent with Casting Network International.

“My God, I love writing,” she says.

O’Hare went on to play roles in two feature films, write a comedy mockumentary called “PG pals”, formed an online comedy production company Scusi Productions and co-produced, co-wrote and starred in cult YouTube series “The Casuals”.

But in 2014 her then agent suggested that she’d probably do well in LA.

“I was very happy in Sydney, but then I got a really scary feeling that I was going to settle and I thought, I have to make this move,” so she moved to the US, took classes in screen acting, got small roles on TV and continued her writing.

“It’s been a hell of a ride and it’s still tough, but I’ve had some success,” she says.

That’s an understatement. She’s played the vampire Galatea in a series called “Age of the Living Dead” and one of the lead witches in the horror feature “Coven”.

It’s ages since she’s had anything to do with the stage, but in the course of interviewing Jackie Diamond, who runs the Australian Theatre Company in Los Angeles, it was suggested to her that she should get back on the stage.

“I thought that sounded terrifying,” she tells “CityNews”, “but maybe I’d better.”

She is quick to defend her wicked-women roles, saying of her lady assassin character: “She wasn’t a bad person, she was just an assassin.

“I don’t play bad women, I play strong women… I’d rather be a strong woman than a wallflower.”

“Indigo Lake” will be released in cinemas throughout Australia from late April.


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