We were lucky enough to catch the talented Rachel Kim Cross for a five minute chat about her HI experiences, auditions in LA and her recent successes. Read more below.
You recently shot the feature How Do You Know Chris in Melbourne. Tell us about that journey and all about Christal the character you played.
‘How Do You Know Chris’ was a very special experience for me. It was my first lead role in a feature film. I was thrilled to be cast as Christal. The exciting part was understanding and inhabiting Christal’s mindset and the way she saw the world. She’s fiercely intelligent, dark, bitchy and fragile. The entire film is set at a party, in 2000 where the protagonist, Chris Black, invites an assortment of people to a celebration at his Collingwood apartment. Most of the guests at the party aren’t familiar with each other. Just like Christal, who is Chris’ ex-girlfriend. We see her journey as the night progresses and her complicated past with Chris, who she holds incredibly close and gets her only affection. We had a week of rehearsals before shooting and that time was invaluable for us to be able to film this in the short time-space we were shooting, I flew back from Los Angeles for the shoot and lived in a house with some of the other cast members that weren’t from Melbourne for 5 weeks. It was wonderful to live and work together with everyone. We all became a close family.
You’re a 2 time HI participant joining us in October of 2014 and then again in February of 2015. What take aways did you have from HI? Was there a particular thing that stood out for you?
Hollywood Immersive was the perfect introduction for me to Los Angeles. Coming over here for the first time and doing a program that supports your transition is invaluable. I often have other actors ask me about if they were to do the program and I honestly can’t recommend it enough, especially if they haven’t been over to experience Los Angeles before. That’s why I did it twice! Both times I learned about the industry here and what steps I needed to take if I wanted to move here. It’s a very supportive environment and truely was the best steps for me to take to learn about how to transition here. I was constantly inspired by all the mentors from Beverly Hills Playhouse, industry coaches, speakers and the other talented actors from all around the world on the course. I think the thing that stood out for me the most was that I could move over here and pursue a career. I secured management in LA and started working on getting my visa as soon as I finished the second program.
You’ve had a really successful career in Australia in modelling and acting. This really started to flourish in 2015 and then suddenly you were everywhere! Tell us about that journey.
When I got back from my second Hollywood Immersive program in Feb 2015 I had secured representation in LA and I was inspired and my number one priority; i.e.moving to Los Angeles and how I could make that happen. I initially started modelling to build up my portfolio, save and work with as many people as I could in the industry in order to get my O1 visa. I never thought it would kick off quite like it did but it was awesome! I enjoyed how my modelling and acting gigs always informed each other. I’ve met and worked with amazing people in the lead up to moving to LA. That definitely boosted my confidence and enabled me to feel like I was ready to make the move and book jobs in the US. This industry is challenging but so is anything worth pursing.
Now you are in the US – 01 in hand! You’ve got a great manager and you’re getting out there for some big roles and booking already. How is the transition going for you?
It’s been wonderful so far! Having come over here 4 times before moving, I had some idea of Los Angeles and connections with people from Hollywood Immersive. I think that really helped the transition for me personally. Also, having a wonderful management team before moving here was definitely a bonus. I self taped for a lot of US projects in the lead up to moving here, got comfortable with the accent. It’s really exciting going out for auditions several times a week, I’ve never auditioned so consistently in my life as I have in the US, the industry doesn’t compare to Australia. I absolutely love working in Australia and I would always go back there in a heartbeat for the right projects – there are wonderful shows being made there but the opportunities for me in Los Angeles allow me to see a bigger future in this career.
Tell us about the job you recently did and who you ended up meeting as a result?
I recently shot a big commercial which was another fantastic experience! I was directed by Mark Romanek – he wrote and directed one of my favourite films One Hour Photo with Robin Williams. He directs all of Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Jay Z’s music videos. The cinematographer was Sam Levy, who most recently shot Ladybird.
It was amazing to make connections and work with such incredibly talented people in the industry. I kept pinching myself that I’m in Los Angeles working with these people! I had the biggest smile on my face! The energy on that set was a wonderful experience. I can’t wait to see what’s next!
How do you compare auditioning in the US vs Australia?
Auditioning here is a lot more fast paced than Australia. You usually only get one take per scene and you just have to go in and make a bold choice. I really try to take my time in the room and not rush it. Everything is very last minute here and I have been getting used to getting auditions through very late at night or the day of the audition. I am in a position now where I have the time to prepare properly for the audition where I can which is really great – and I don’t have to work around the constraints of a job which is such a bonus.
What’s coming up?
A TV series that I shot late last year called Mr Inbetween premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2018. It’s been picked up by FX and it’s premiering this September in the US and Foxtel in Australia. It’s also being screened at MIFF in Melbourne. It was directed by Nash Edgerton and is starring Scott Ryan who was also the writer, Brooke Satchwell and Damon Herriman.
What bit of advice would you give to a 19 year old Rachel?
To love myself. I was very insecure at 19. I always knew I wanted to be an actor but I was often quick to judge myself, influenced by others around me and was told to go to University and do something else other than acting. Eventually I forged my own path and went to acting school, but it took me a couple of years to listen to myself and do what I wanted to do, not what I was expected to do.