This year, Ella Proberts appeared in the feature film The Curious Case of Dolphin Bay playing Daniella, which saw her be directed by Christine Luby, and she attended the premiere at the Gold Coast Film Festival, with the film having a recent release in the US on Disney+. Other roles for Ella have been Patty in Mako Mermaids – the sequel to H2O: Just Add Water, and Lola Lane in Death Upon a Silver Screen and Jenny in The Great Champ Fernley, both of which were student films. Ella will be playing Sascha in the upcoming release of The Edge, which is written, directed and stars Australian actor and sprinter Jane Larkin. Chatting to Ella, she told us about filming for The Curious Case of Dolphin Bay, playing Daniella in the Disney release and her upcoming role of Sascha in feature film The Edge.
You play Daniella in the feature film The Curious Case of Dolphin Bay, can you tell us about the film and was there anything that drew you to the project?
Yes, I do! The film is a feel-good movie set in Dolphin Bay (which was filmed on Australia’s Gold Coast), and it’s about four teenagers who come together for a marine biology internship. Daniella is pretty torn between her old life in the States and the new life she has created in Australia. The film follows how her internal struggles play out in her friendships. Of course, this happens alongside the big ‘curious case’, which you’ll have to watch to solve!
How would you describe your character Daniella and what was she like to play?
Daniella comes off as a bit angsty, but I think that all really comes from this conflict she has inside of her – she doesn’t really know who she’s supposed to be. I think once I realised Daniella isn’t just a classic ‘mean girl’, but rather insecure, she became a lot easier to connect with and play.
How did you find the experience on set of the film and working with the rest of the cast?
I feel so lucky to have been on such a fun, uplifting set for my first feature. The cast were all so talented and hilarious on and off set, and Christine (Luby), our director, was so supportive. Even though we had quite a few time constraints, she was always pushing us to try new things. I think she quickly learnt how to get the best performance out of each of us individually, and she really moulded to our styles which made the process a lot less nerve-racking for me.
What did you enjoy most about filming as Daniella and having The Curious Case of Dolphin Bay as your first feature film?
Exactly that – the cast and Christine and being on set in general. It never really felt like work at all.
Do you remember how you felt finding out you’d booked the role and what was it like having the film released through Disney?
I was in shock! The day earlier, my manager messaged me to tell me I had been taken off hold, so I kind of just tried to let go and forget about it. The next thing I knew I was in my car on the way to university, when I found out I was back on a ‘strong hold’, and then a day or so later I found out I got it! It was a bit of a rollercoaster, but just made it that much more exciting. I never really considered Disney would pick the film up, so finding that out was also shocking – it still doesn’t feel real.
Earlier this year, you attended the film’s premiere at the Gold Coast Film Festival, can you tell us about this?
Again, it didn’t feel real! I was so overwhelmed with adrenaline because I hadn’t seen the full film before, or much of the raw footage either. I tried to stay calm and enjoy being there with the cast and crew and some of my friends who came.
The Curious Case of Dolphin Bay has recently had a release in the US on Disney+, why would you recommend watching it?
Because it just makes you feel so good! It’s one of those movies that’s so easy to turn on no matter what age you are.
What are some of your favourite memories from filming The Curious Case of Dolphin Bay?
Waiting in the trailer was always so hectic because I shared with Jayden McGinlay (who plays Teddy) and Allegra Teo (who plays Jennifer). We would always have so much nervous/actor-y type energy while waiting to get called to set. Definitely some fun memories there.
Is there anything you can tell us about the upcoming film The Edge, in which you play Sascha?
Yes, it’s a film about women in sport, written and directed by my friend Jane Larkin. She’s an actor and an Australian sprinter (and has a PhD in creative writing and philosophy), so you can bet it will be very inspiring.
In 2015, you played Patty in an episode of Mako Mermaids – the sequel to H2O: Just Add Water, what do you remember most from filming this role and how was it being part of the series?
I was pretty young at the time, so I just remember being in complete awe of the mermaids and dolphins. One of the crew told me they put weights in the mermaid tails and the actors had to train to be able to swim in them. I couldn’t get over that for years.
Having worked on the short films Death Upon a Silver Screen last year and The Great Champ Fernley in 2014, can you tell us about your time filming them?
Those were both student films, filmed seven years apart! It’s cool looking back and comparing them both, because on The Great Champ Fernley, I was such a newbie and honestly was still getting confused whether to start on ‘rolling’ or ‘action’ (although you would think that’s pretty obvious). I can now compare that experience with Death Upon a Silver Screen, where I was much more interested in how everything was run and how the students divided their roles and produced their work. So (thank God) there have been some developments since 2014.
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you start?
I got started in my first year of primary school. There was a little community hall near me and quite a few kids from my school went to drama classes there. I convinced my parents to let me go, and I absolutely fell in love with it. Everything about drama was just so exciting to me. I kept doing it in primary school and started to get a bit of work at the end of middle school. I couldn’t believe that it was possible to get paid to act!
Do you have any favourite films and TV shows to watch and how do you like to spend your time away from acting?
I try to watch as much as I can, I really love the show When They See Us. I think it’s just a beautiful and heart-wrenching display of such an important event.
What are you hoping the upcoming year brings for your career?
Anything that allows me to keep acting! I also would really love to keep delving into other areas of film like writing and producing.
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