– June 3rd 2008

Eco transformer

Away from the big screen, Isabel Lucas is on a green mission.

Wearing an eco dress and a multicoloured ribbon in her hair, Far North Queensland actor Isabel Lucas blushes in front of the camera. Softly spoken, with an infectious smile, the former Home and Away starlet is relaxed and friendly on a picture-perfect morning at Kewarra Beach.

Back in Cairns for a brief family visit and to finalise a visa that will allow her to work in Hollywood, Isabel says she is spending time enjoying the beauty of Crystal Cascades and riding her horse.

“It’s always lovely coming home,” she says. But the rainforest of Tropical North Queensland is far removed from the new home the 23 year old is now making in Los Angeles as she prepares to film blockbuster movie Transformers II.

Although Isabel was reluctant to confirm she had scored the part of Alice in the scifi film, according to her Sydney-based agent Meissner Management the deal has been made. “There’s been a lot of auditions and it’s completely different to being based in Melbourne,” she says.

“In LA you have to days to prep for an audition and you really feel a momentum. You feel you’re actually going forward, you’re improving with each audition.”

Although her first impression of the US movie capital was not so wonderful, she says she knew it was important to give it another chance. “I went there two years ago with my agent but only for six days,” she says. “I was kind of put off by the Hollywood kind of superficial world and I thought to myself I’d never be able to live there.

“So, going back I really chose to have a different point of view and to be really positive. I really can acknowledge now that I met so many really creative and intelligent and interesting people who were doing some really fantastic things. It is very much about your head space.” And she admitted being in Hollywood for the past three months had its perks. “I met lots of people, like Cameron Diaz … and I met Lawrence Bender, who was the producer of An Inconvenient Truth. That was really special to me, personally.”

After scoring roles in war epic The Pacific and yet-to-be released sci-fi film Daybreakers, the now brunette actor is making an impression in the US, particularly after gossip blogs revealed she was dating 31-year-old Adrian Grenier, star of popular TV series Entourage. Adrian and Isabel seem to be on the same page when it comes to environmental awareness, with both heavily involved in eco causes. As the face of the anti-whaling campaign in Australia, the former St Monica’s College student has been working hard to raise the profile of organisations such as Sea Shepherd and The Whaleman Foundation, at the same time as promoting Earth Hour and Earth Day.

She and her father Andrew, along with other celebrities, were involved in a high-profile whaling protest in Japan in 2007, paddling into the ocean during a whale slaughter while others filmed the horrific sight.

Meanwhile, Adrian has been promoting green issues, with the actor in the process of producing documentary TV series Alter Eco, which aims to encourage viewers to take up more environmentally friendly habits. And Isabel has been giving him a helping hand.

“There’s been a few episodes when I’ve come on board,” she says. “It inspires the viewer. You know, they ride their bikes everywhere and get organic food. It’s really tangible. He does interview a lot of people and I’ve learnt a lot from it.”

Never dropping her environmental crusade for a minute, Isabel even encouraged Cairns Regional Council to symbolically adopt a whale while she was in town.

But the young actor also has bigger issues on her mind.

She hopes, if her filming schedule allows, to go to Chile to protest during an international whaling conference.

“It’s an annual conference where all the people in the whaling industry gather together and talk about how many whales they’re going to be slaughtering,” Isabel explains.

“We’re going with the Whaleman Foundation. I’ve already requested time off for it. We don’t sort of claim to go there and corrupt the whaling system, I just want to go and soak up information and see if there’s anything else I can physically do or just learn more and become more educated about this whole topic.”

When asked if she planned to stay in LA indefinitely, Isabel says: “It really depends”.

“I’m just a complete gypsy girl at the moment. It really depends on work and schedules. I’d love to come back home, but LA is the centre of the entire industry.

“You do have a lot more opportunities over there and that’s become clearly evident. It’s a compromise.

“I have found a really grounded, beautiful group of friends and there are some really beautiful natural places around LA, which was really important for me as well.”