On the Couch with Alastair Osment

Alastair Osment - photo by Alex VaughanWho is Alastair Osment?
I’m an Australian actor and producer. I am a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing (WAAPA) and am best known for my work on Deadline Gallipoli (Foxtel/NBC), Top of The Lake: China Girl (BBC/Sundance TV), Rake (ABC/Netflix) and Home and Away (7 Network). Originally from Brisbane, I am now based between Sydney and Los Angeles.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Spend more time with friends and family (we are spread all over the world). Take more risks. Take more holidays. See more of the world and experience different cultures.

Who inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by a lot of things – works of art, music, movies and television. I’m inspired by observing human nature and people-watching. I’m inspired by my family and the stories of my own family history. I also love forced moments of downtime… whether that be sitting on a long-haul flight or waiting at the train station, airport or bus stop. When you allow inspiration in and don’t force it, it comes to you in the strangest and most peculiar ways.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Exactly what I’m doing now. Telling stories and sharing what it means to be a part of humanity. It’s my small contribution to society but I believe that it, in doing what I was born to do, in it’s own way, it makes a difference.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
My favourite holiday destination is Berlin. I’m obsessed with this city – the art and culture is unlike anywhere else in the world. Whenever I’m there I make sure I see some German theatre at either the Schaubühne, Deutsches Theater or Berliner Ensemble. Then there’s the world class music at the Komische Oper, Deutsche Oper and The Berliner Philharmoniker. And then there’s the history! I could go on and on…

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
In Sydney, I’d take them to a beautiful family run cafe called The Little Cup and Saucer in Canterbury – it’s got great food and atmosphere. The owner and head chef Joe is an absolute champion. Then I’d take them for a drive out to Coogee Beach, go for a swim and walk the Bondi to Coogee Coastal walk… in reverse! In Los Angeles, I would take them for a sunset hike up to the top of Wisdom Tree, followed by dinner at an amazing Vegan Thai restaurant named H.O.P.E. Healthy Organic Positive Eating.

What are you currently reading?
I’m always reading scripts and screenplays, but for recreation, I’m currently absorbed in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré. I also read the Guardian newspaper online and The New Yorker Magazine to stay up to date with current events.

What are you currently listening to?
Bruce Springsteen is always on high repeat on my Spotify, his storytelling is second to none. Podcasts I love listening to include NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross – she always asks the most interesting questions in interviews. And I just finished listening to all of the Change Agent podcast by the NY Times.

Happiness is?
A by-product of pursuing your joy / following your curiosity. I aspire to create and live in accordance with a T. S. Eliot quote from Four Quartets “There is only the trying. The rest is not our business.” To me that means, do your thing (whatever that is) keep moving forward, keep creating and don’t worry about the outcome or how it’s received.

What does the future hold for you?
I’ve just returned from the Austin Revolution Film Festival in Texas for the film premiere of Animal, where we won ‘Best World Film’. I went with the director Henry Young to network with fellow filmmakers and pitch certain projects to producers at the festival. I was nominated for ‘Best Actor’ alongside fellow Australian Michael Dorman (Patriot, Daybreakers), and Henry was nominated for ‘Best Director’. So I’m currently readjusting to life in Sydney and grieving the absence of Texas BBQ from my life!

This week I’m in Brisbane for a Q&A session and screening of On The Move (otherwise known as Rider) at the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF). The film premiered earlier this year in March at the Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF). It’s an international co-production between Australia, China and Korea and is a modern adaptation of the classic Chinese novel The Rickshaw Boy by Lao She.

I’m heading back to Queensland later this month for the Noosa International Film Festival (25 – 28 October) with my co-star Emily Gruhl and writer/director Ashley Pollard. Our short film The Bookshop will screen on Saturday 27 October, having just made its Australian premiere at the Canberra Short Film Festival and it’s international premiere at the Down Under Berlin Film Festival in Germany. The Bookshop is nominated for ‘Best Comedy’. I am also developing a series to be filmed in Sydney for online distribution in the next 6 months.

Image: Alastair Osment – photo by Alex Vaughan