Nick Hardcastle is fun, irreverent and has a distinct ‘up for anything’ attitude – traits that made him a favorite with kids on Saturday Disney, Nickelodeon, alongside The Wiggles and on ABC Kids. And, traits you would think might set him up as the perfect Aussie-to-LA success story.
But, while this talented entertainer and media personality has certainly carved a popular place for himself in Tinseltown, Nick is the first to admit it’s been a hard slog, saying LA “is transient, vast and moves at a cracking pace.” He’s busy, but does that mean he’s ‘made it’ in LA? Here, Nick shares his LA story with us in the first of our Gumnut Mafia series – bringing you tales from Tinseltown about Aussies ‘making it’ in Hollywood.
Where did the LA dream all begin for you?
I had no desire to move to LA. None. London had been my home – its theatre, music, arts and culture and its proximity to the rest of Europe was far more appealing to me than the tangled web of freeway in that vast smoggy horizon I always remembered LA to be.
I have worked in the entertainment industry since I was a child, but the ‘Holy Grail’ of Hollywood never really tempted me. Then out of the blue I received a call telling me that I had won the Green Card Lottery. I’d never so much as won a chook raffle before. Suddenly, everything changed.
Has it been all tinsel and glamour for you? What’s it really like to live and work in LA?
Since making the move here last year I’ve had a pretty incredible time. There have been massive peaks and troughs. I have certainly experienced moments that just aren’t possible in any other place on the planet. It’s great to be back on the Pacific and to stand in the sunshine, but LA is not an easy town. It is a city that attracts people wishing to serve their dreams and greatest desires. It is transient, vast and moves at a cracking pace and it can be difficult to develop and nurture meaningful relationships with people under those circumstances.
Tell us about your Aussie crew in LA and what role they play for you…
Thank god for “Aussiewood”! Australian expats always look out for each other and look after each other. It was true in London and it’s as true or truer in LA. The support network of Australians here has been a life-line for me and I have always been equally as generous to my Australian friends trying to create a life here.
Having provided the entertainment for the Australian High Commission UK as well as producing and hosting the Australian Talent Showcase series ‘Sunday in the Apartment’ in London, I was invited to meet the Australian Consul General of Los Angeles as soon as I arrived.
What opportunities has that relationship opened up for you?
I’ve worked closely with the Consul and G’day USA ever since – hosting Australia Rocks the Pier for the last two years – a concert at Santa Monica Pier that showcases Australian music to over 10,000 people, the G’day USA Gala in New York City and Houston and I also launched the Australian Theatre Company in April 2014, producing its first hit show ‘Holding the Man’.
This year I hosted the red carpet arrivals for the AACTA’S international chapter awards night, interviewing Jacki Weaver, Cate Blanchett, Michael Fassbender, Geoffrey Rush, David O’Russell, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Steve McQueen. Again, theses are experiences that I would never have had back home. I’m looking forward to doing it all again in January 2015 when it’s even bigger and better!
I love film and I’ve moderated a number of Q&A’s after advanced screenings of Hollywood studio and indie films with the ‘Directors Guild of America’ and ‘Australians in Film’ and have also managed a fantastic event called the ‘KCET Cinema Series’ where our guests have included Meryl Streep, Robert Downey Jr, Jeff Goldblum, Daniel Radcliffe, Rob Reiner, Hans Zimmer… the list goes on.
It was while working at KCET – a local Southern Californian TV station that I landed the gig that got me my SAG AFTRA (union) card as a culture and lifestyle reporter, on their magazine show SoCal Connected. I absolutely love it! I’ve been working on the show since July and look forward to the next few months on this season.
Awards Season kicks off in LA in December – talk us through it…
The film industry Award Season basically starts in December and ends at the beginning of March. This isn’t a town that’s shy of patting itself on the back but I had no idea that there were so many awards events! Now sure, we know about the Writer’s Guild, the Screen Actors Guild, the Golden Globes and of course the Academy Awards but when Jacki Weaver invited me to be her date at the ‘The ACE Eddie Awards’ where film editors award each other and the rest of the industry – who knew? But wait, there’s more! There is the Cinema Audio Society, the Costume Designers Guild Awards, the American Cinematographers Awards, The Critics Choice Movie Awards…. You get the gist.
Have you ‘made it’ in LA? What does ‘making it’ there actually mean to you…
I’m definitely busy, but does all this mean that I have ‘made it in LA’? I’m not rich and famous – well, at least not yet. Isn’t that what ‘Making it in LA’ is perceived to be? Isn’t that the myth that the city and the industry have created to keep everyone else around the world so fascinated?
If you just read about it in the glossy’s then perhaps. Of course there are fabulous actors like Joel Edgerton, Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Margot Robbie, Rebel Wilson and Brenton Thwaites whose stars are rising up towards the ranks of our big names like Hugh, Toni and Nicole. However, actors like Damon Herriman, who has always worked in Australia and has appeared in the smash US shows ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Justified’, slips under the radar. In my opinion, Herriman is one of the most successful Aussie actors here. Rachael Carpani who you might remember from ‘McCleod’s Daughters’ has appeared in films, the hot new show ‘Stalker’ with Dylan McDermott, she had the lead role in her own show ‘Against the Wall’ and is currently playing Heather Graham’s daughter in ‘If there be Thorns‘ and ‘Seeds of Yesterday‘ from the VC Andrews ‘Flowers in the Attic‘ saga. Tim Minchin, regarded as a comedian and composer back home is at the helm of a huge Dreamworks picture, collaborating with Aussie writer Harry Cripps. Again, another example of Aussies ‘making it’ in LA that you don’t always hear about.
‘Making It in LA’ is not about column inches. There are musicians, writers, directors, producers, restaurateurs, business people, designers who are all here and all ‘making it’ in their own way. It’s really exciting. We’ve all been so fortunate that people in the US love Australians and graciously welcome us, helping us develop our lives and careers here. But, all these things aside, the greatest thing about being an Australian in LA is knowing that you can always come home …and ‘there’s no place like it’!
Images all courtesy of Williamson Management and Instagram
Are you an Aussie ‘making it’ in LA? We’d love to hear from you…please email Managing Editor Yvette Le Grew [email protected] and tell us your story.