The Daily Telegraph – June 21st 2009

Shy Lucas not thrilled with fame

IF Hollywood is all oversized egos, brash banter and limitless self-confidence, Isabel Lucas stands apart.

Sure, the former Aussie soap star is stunning; her fine features an almost impossible arrangement of perfection.

But beyond the willowy frame and enviable visage, Lucas, 24, is simply ashy, misunderstood, home-grown hippie.

Publicity spin would have her “unaffected”, but the truth is, and she admits it, she’s at odds with the blockbuster world built around her performance in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

“I’ve had no experience of doing junkets or big premieres before, this is all very new to me,” Lucas informs Insider during her fleeting visit last week.

“It is very scary. Sure I get nervous doing press.”

These nerves got to her on Rove last Sunday, as she mumbled her way through the interview which evoked laughter from fellow guest Lily Allen.

The insecure performance also lead to snide Internet remarks under an article in a daily newspaper.

“What was the reason for her being painfully boring and hard to watch in interviews?” questioned one reader, while others tagged Lucas “pathetic” and the interview itself a “train wreck”.

Such comments are perhaps unwarranted when provided an insight into Lucas and the intense rapidity of her rise.

A 17 year-old schoolgirl browsing the Port Douglas markets, Lucas came home with more than the usual naff trinkets.

She was spotted by Sydney-based agent Sharron Meissner, who sought to immediately sign her and set her on a path to celluloid stardom.

Stunned by her beauty, then Home And Away producer Julie McGauran created a character for Lucas, Tasha Andrews. A character whose sweet naivety and innocence mirrored Lucas’s and a character who, strangely, spent several weeks silent.

It was alleged this was a necessary period so Lucas could familiarise and accept her new surrounds, such is her fragility.

Andrews eventually spoke, her storylines subsequently grew and Lucas claimed a most popular new talent Logie in 2004 at 18.

Leaving the Seven series in 2006, she dyed her brilliant blonde locks brown and threw on a backpack bound for Europe.

Returning to Australia Lucas enrolled at the Victorian College of Arts.

She needn’t have bothered: she was quickly cast in Steven Spielberg’s World War II mini-series The Pacific – shot in Melbourne – a role that ultimately propelled her to LA.

“Oh you mean Steve,” Lucas says of Spielberg, who also acts as Transformers’ executive producer and is rumoured to have pushed for her to get the role of fembot fatale, Alice.

“Going into the production I was very aware of the magnitude of the film and those involved (director Michael Bay and co-stars Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox) and the incredible cult following that Transformers has.

“I was very impressionable and intensely focused on being 100 per cent present and being available for Michael to direct me.

“First day of set you’re always processing a lot of new information and feeling the rhythm of how everyone works and introducing yourself to the cast and crew. The whole thing was just incredible.”

“Amazing”, “strange” and “crazy,” are the other simple terms Lucas engages to describe her time onboard the multimillion dollar juggernaut.

She does, however, offer strong insight into LaBeouf, a rebellious youngster. She was his passenger in a car accident during filming. He was later done for DUI.

“In particular Shia was really warm and welcoming and has become a really close platonic friend.

“He has an amazing ability to carry a film, one of the most determined people I’ve met, a very instinctive actor, very innovative and a real risk-taker.

“And he’s grown up in the most unusual circumstances. He started doing stand-up when he was 12 and just decided that he didn’t want to be poor.

“His family weren’t financially very stable, his dad had a lot of drug problems, he really has had a very colourful past.”

Lucas, surprisingly, says she has embraced Los Angeles, where she has come to accept her starring role in the front of the odd paparazzo. Not that she ever courts such attention, like so many of her colleagues.

“I try and stay pretty separate from that world because it is unusual. I’m aware it’s something that will be coming up a lot more and I hope I learn to deal with it graciously.

“Los Angeles is a mad town. It’s a funny place, an odd environment to live in, there’s not a lot of diversity in the sense that everyone is somehow in the industry. But I’ve decided to like it.”

And while it in turn has decided to embrace her, it is perhaps the Hollywood Hills of the ’60s – dotted as they were with wooden shacks, cloaked in the sounds of Joni Mitchell – that would have proved a better fit.

Transformers 2 opens on Wednesday.