”No one my age was writing things for our own demographic.”
When 19-year-old Australian actress Olivia Deeble arrived in Los Angeles for pilot season, she discovered two things: most people couldn’t determine if her accent was English or Australian, and she seemed to be playing the same few roles in every project she auditioned for.
Olivia tells TV WEEK that “Australian film, television, culture, music, and art don’t have enough representation or comprehension worldwide.”
“Being a young Australian actor in America and no one even knowing I was English or Australian, that was shocking for me.”
“No one my age was writing things for our own demographic.” (Image: Paramount+)
As she reflected on her experience, she realised that the lack of young, complex and realistic characters written into these shows wasn’t for a lack of trying, it was because the wrong people were writing them.
“No one my age was writing for our target audience. And no one was capturing the actual essence of the Australian experience “She clarifies. “High school in Australia is very different from high school in the United States or the United Kingdom. I wanted to present that narrative in order to bridge the divide between mainstream media and young people who are developing these things.”
Luka Gracie, a trans non-binary actress and filmmaker, was her best friend and collaborator, and the two began interviewing their friends and writing a show that would resonate with generation Z, matching the genuine Australian high school experience today.
She wrote the show with her best friend, filmmaker, Luka Gracie. (Image: Instagram)
While the former Home and Away actress was comfortable acting in her own project, stepping into a production role was challenging, and a risk.
Thankfully, she had a strong support structure in the form of her mother, Kate Gorman, director and producer, and aunt, Charmaine Gorman, producer, who believed in Olivia and More Than This from the beginning.
“Having these wonderful, experienced adults come together because they believed in me and believed it was something they wanted to be a part of was the nicest part,” she adds.
“Production was really hard work and it made me appreciate how much goes into it.” (Image: Instagram)
“Production was extremely difficult, and it made me realize how much effort went into it. As an actor, you arrive on set, deliver your lines, and then leave. I was actively involved. I’d sit on set even if I wasn’t filming since I could assist anyone with line questions. I was really proud of myself for taking the initiative and doing it.”
Olivia is now balancing her studies of English language and media with creating season two of More Than This. But that doesn’t rule out the possibility of a Home and Away reunion for the growing star.
“I will always be a little bit open,” she shares. “I have so much love for the cast and crew and I would love to see Rafi come back. It depends on what everyone else is doing in the bay.”
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