If her early promise is anything to go by, Lauren McGuckin has the potential to be one of the next Australian’s actors to make it big in the US. The charming young actor gave a standout performance in Jake Löfvén’s short film Sophie’s Turn last year and now has a number of exciting projects lined up for the coming months.
Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge caught up Lauren to talk about what drives her, spending time in L.A, admiring Margot Robbie and much more.
Q: There are great photos of your face splattered in blood on the set of ‘Premonition’. What can you tell us about the project and your role in it?
A: Thank you! It was an incredible concept to be a part of, I love working in this genre.
Premonition is an upcoming horror/thriller short film that focuses on the lead character, Sam, and her confusing visions of her sister’s death. This film blurs the lines between what is Sam’s mind and what is reality. You will be able to watch Premonition later this year, and if you’re a fan of blood and gore.. you won’t want to miss it!
Q: A lot of short film fans will recognise you as one of the mean girls from Jake Löfvén’s horror short ‘Sophie’s Turn’. How do you reflect on that project and its success?
A: Sophie’s Turn is my first internationally recognised film, reaching a growing number of 800k views after it was picked up by Crypt Tv in Los Angeles. I am so grateful to director Jake Löfvén and producer Alex Kakoniktis for casting me as bad girl Katy, and for allowing me to explore my skills to bring such a powerful character to life.
My co-stars, Brodie Cornish and Winnie Mzembe, are two of the most professional actors I have worked with, so I’m not surprised by its international success. It is a surreal feeling each time I see a fan based reaction video, even if half the comments are hate towards my character, it’s amazing!
Q: What has been the most challenging role you’ve have so far?
A: My most challenging role to date would be a recent VCA film I starred as the lead in titled Holden. I play the role of someone from such a broken background who lived in unimaginable conditions, something so far from my life. It was a huge reality check and it was emotionally exhausting. But after attending the screening and watching the final cut for the first time, I was so thrilled to showcase the journey of this character and was proud I pushed my boundaries as an actress.
Q: As an up-and-coming actor, what inspires and drives your work?
A: Every time I get into an audition room or set foot on a film set, that passionate feeling in that creative space is unexplainable and that is my biggest inspiration that drives my work. It’s not the money and it’s not the fame, it’s purely the future dream of waking up every morning and going to work with a smile on your face, which is something that is sadly become a rarity these days.
Life is short, so why would I do something that doesn’t make me happy? Acting is my absolute passion, and my determination and hunger to continue in this industry proves I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. I couldn’t be living out my dream without the constant support of my family members and loved ones, they are easily my biggest fans and I owe them everything.
Q: We have seen on Instagram that you have been spending time in LA. What have you been up to?
A: I spend a fair amount of time in Los Angeles, not only because of the overwhelming amount of opportunities as the entertainment industry hub, but because the people you meet are also incredible.
As an animal activist and foster carer, I spend a lot of time volunteering at rescue organisations in LA. I have met so many incredible artists through adoptions, including Harry Potter’s Bonnie Wright – it is my favourite place. The training opportunities and industry connections are also unbeatable, nowhere else have I met a well-known UK actress through a Facebook page, reached out for coffee and somehow made a genuine friend for life.
LA is a unique and fast-paced place. I fall in love with the city of stars every time I’m in town – it is now a second home.
Q: Do you have any ambitions or plans to work in the States?
A: Somewhere in the near future I would love to chance to work in the States, it’s a goal I’m working very closely with my agent and willing to put in the hard work to achieve. If I’m completely honest, daily iced Matcha’s could possibly be enough reason for me to make the move to the States.
Q: Is there an actor out there that you would love to follow in the footsteps of or that inspires you?
A: One of my main inspirations is the incredibly talented Margot Robbie. Throughout her Hollywood success, she has never strayed away from focusing on her trade and she is constantly learning new skills. That is such an important trait as an artist, continuously bettering yourself no matter your level of success, something I respect about Margot and strive to embody.
Q: You had a musical theatre background before you got into acting and modelling. Can you talk more about your background and what led you to performing?
A: I grew up dancing six days a week and my love for performing continued into musical theatre. I jumped into roles such as Elle Woods and Amber Von Tussle in well-known theatre classics, which became a stepping stone to where I am today. It also explains the ‘Broadway tunes’ playlist I belt out on the way to auditions!
Although my career focus has shifted towards film and TV, theatre will always have a place in my heart and I hope to step back in my tap shoes on the stage again once again sometime soon!
Q: What should we be on the lookout for from you in the upcoming months and years?
A: Since my move to Melbourne, I have been busy with a number of projects, ranging from educational films, music videos and short films.
In the upcoming months, you will see films such as Paid in Full and Premonition released, as well as a few exciting projects in production for 2019. I’ve been working closely with my incredible agent, Peter Gunn, to continue training and booking roles and I cannot wait for what’s to come… stay tuned!
Title image by Klo – Lee Studios