Big Pond Movies (Aus) – June 23rd 2009

Aussie Isabel Lucas hits the big-time.

After learning her trade on the local soap Home And Away, young Australian actress Isabel Lucas hits the big time with the sci-fi blockbuster sequel Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen.

Best known as Home And Away’s Tasha Andrews, Isabel Lucas today looks every inch the chic Hollywood star. Dressed in a cream-knit Oscar de la Renta dress, baring naked tanned legs, she’s curled up in a chair in a Santa Monica hotel suite discussing her adopted new home. In the eighteen months since she made her Hollywood gamble, Lucas’ soapie colleagues have rapidly been replaced by marquee names like Christopher Walken, Sam Neill, Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke and Radha Mitchell. It’s not like she’s boasting though – it’s simply a fact. Sam Neill plays her father in the upcoming vampire flick Daybreakers, which also stars Dafoe and Hawke; Mitchell is her co-star in Claire McCarthy’s mystic love story The Waiting City; while Walken features as a nefarious LA businessman opposite her straight-off-the-bus innocent in A Girl And A Gun.

Not wishing to be perceived as climbing on the Twilight bandwagon, Lucas points out that she filmed Daybreakers long before Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart put a new spin on the vampire genre. Though the locally shot Daybreakers is still awaiting a release date, Lucas is obviously enthusiastic about the film. “It’s a high concept thriller about a plague which results in 95% of the human population becoming vampires, and my character is one of the last remaining humans,” she explains. “My father is played by Sam Neill, who is a vampire, so my character is something of a fugitive just trying to stay alive. Working with Sam was amazing. He’s got such a presence, and he really commanded respect on the set. To work with Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe was wonderful. I felt so appreciative to be working with people who have so much experience.”

Indeed, it seems like all of Hollywood has given 24-year-old Lucas their blessing, including powerful folk whom she’s never even met. “Steven Spielberg? I’ve actually never met him,” says Lucas softly, referring to the mogul who has given her not one break but two, casting her first in his yet-to-screen HBO mini-series The Pacific, and then in Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, which he produced for director Michael Bay.
“I would love to meet Mr. Spielberg and thank him for the amazing opportunities that have come up,” Lucas says earnestly. “I got this part in Transformers after working on The Pacific; he suggested me to read for the part of Alice, and that’s how it came about. My work now is a little different to when I was on Home And Away,” Lucas says in what amounts to a massive understatement. “You go with the flow, but it’s a different medium, so it’s a new way of working. On film, you have a lot more time, while a TV series is just like a factory. Home And Away was like a well-oiled machine, and it was produced at a very fast pace. We often didn’t have a lot of time to really perfect scenes.”

If Hollywood’s power brokers were originally unfamiliar with the unknown Aussie girl cast in Michael Bay’s blockbuster sequel, then Lucas was reluctantly thrust into the limelight last July after being involved in a late-night car crash with LaBeouf; it was a highly publicised event that threatened to derail Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen’s big budget shooting schedule. Mind you, with Lucas in the passenger seat, it’s little wonder that LaBeouf lost control of his vehicle. “Have you ever been in a car accident?” she asks, dropping her voice to almost a whisper. “It [the accident] really puts things into perspective, and we were both very, very fortunate. Shia’s hand is healing well. I didn’t have a head injury [as reported], so I was fine. Moments like that really do make you look at life differently.”

Perhaps one of the most charming things about Lucas is that she seems almost oblivious to the effect of her own gorgeousness. She literally stopped Entourage star Adrian Grenier dead in his tracks within days of her landing in West Hollywood. The couple dated on and off for six months, although rumour has it that Grenier wasn’t too happy to discover that his girlfriend was with LaBeouf on the night in question. Not that Lucas is the sort to kiss-and-tell. She’s far too demure for that. Of course, Grenier would be insane to walk away and never see her again, and the couple remains friends. “Oh, yeah,” nods Lucas. “I spoke to him yesterday. We always keep in touch. It’s always fortunate to be able to stay friends; we have good conversations and we still have the same interests. He’s very environmentally conscious and aware, and it’s really interesting to be able to talk to him and to still have that.”

Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen is released on June 24.