Tilda Cobham-Hervey, 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship Finalist
Tilda Cobham-Hervey’s first professional acting gig was at sixteen, when she was handpicked to play the lead role in the Australian coming-of-age drama film 52 Tuesdays. Directed by Sophie Hyde, the film was shot every Tuesday over the course of an entire year and screened at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim. Tilda has since landed supporting roles in the American-Australian feature film Hotel Mumbai alongside Dev Patel and Armie Hammer, as well as starring roles in the sold-out theater show Things I Know To Be True and the short films Eaglehawk , The Suitor and Marcia and the Shark. It was at the of age thirteen however that Tilda first started working professionally in the creative arts, even founding her own multi-award winning circus theater company Gravity and other Myths with a group of friends at the age of fourteen. And as further proof of this emerging actor’s unmistakable talent and versatility as an artist, Tilda was most recently nominated for the prestigious Graham Kennedy Award at the 2017 TV Week Logies in recognition of her performance as Eliza Grayson in The Kettering Incident.
AiF: Where do you call home right now?
TCH: A suitcase is my home right now! I am originally from Adelaide but I have been moving around quite a bit lately following work which is a rather strange feeling but also very exciting. For the next little while I will be based in Los Angeles though.
AiF: When did the acting bug first bite you and you knew it was your calling?
TCH: I come from a family of “makers” – my Mum is a dancer and my Dad is a lighting and event manager – so art has been a huge part of my family ever since I can remember. I was nine years old when I first started circus performing and ended up specializing in hula hoop and trapeze, but I wasn’t very good at tricks so focused more on the talking-side of performance.
AiF: What inspires you in life?
TCH: Art in its many forms is my number one source of inspiration in life, it’s a hobby and a passion as well as the industry I work in and always want to be a part of. I could happily walk around museums and go to theater shows for the rest of my life and remember so fondly my parents picking holidays based around unusual art festivals for us all to experience..
AiF: Who are your favorite actors and/or filmmakers and why do they resonate with you?
TCH: There are millions and they change every single day for me but from about the age of fifteen I discovered American film director, screenwriter, actor, author and artist Miranda July whose work includes film, fiction, digital media presentations and live performance art. She has been a source of inspiration for me for a long time and I just love how her brain works on so many different levels. I’m also always so impressed by Tilda Swinton who seems like a creature not from this world.
AiF: What work are you most proud of creating so far in your career?
TCH: I am very lucky because I feel like everything I’ve worked on so far in my career has been so different and because of that reason I’ve learnt so much from them all. If I had to pick one though it would be 52 Tuesdays because it was such an incredible production to be part of. Funnily enough I fell into that role by accident when I attended the open casting call in Adelaide with a lot of friends from high school who were auditioning. I was initially intending to just go to the audition to catch up with a friend working on the production but when I met director Sophie Hyde we really hit it off and they offered me the part. It was such a magical experience to see the film in full for the first time at Sundance.
AiF: How are you hoping your career will unfold in the years to come?
TCH: I really feel in this business that the ball is not always in your court and honestly, all the jobs I’ve worked on so far were such a big surprise to me! I hope I just have the opportunity to keep working on projects that are surprising and different, whether they’re different forms or genres, as long as they authentically represent human beings I feel a connection with. And ideally inspire others just as I was so inspired as a child.
AiF: When did you first hear about the Heath Ledger Scholarship and make the decision to enter?
TCH: I heard about the Scholarship maybe four or five years ago when I was in high school after (52 Tuesdays director) Sophie Hyde sent me the application form, but I didn’t think living in the U.S. was right for me so soon after Sundance and I was still in high school. I’ve applied three or four times since then though and was shortlisted in 2014 so it’s very exciting to be a finalist again this year.
AiF: What does California represent for you in terms of your dreams, aspirations and goals in life?
TCH: I find L.A. to be a really interesting place! I was nineteen when I first came here and I found it quite overwhelming to be honest. It’s simultaneously incredibly familiar and foreign but I really love the energy of the city and I find everyone here is so supportive. It’s a true creative melting pot and a land of many contrasts that I’m still trying to figure out, but I do love that everyone is here to tell stories that are important to them.
AiF: What are your favorite parts of California and what makes them so appealing?
TCH: I love the Downtown L.A. Arts District – I’ve found it really exciting to visit in the sense that it feels like a new area and so similar to New York.
AiF: What would it mean to you if you won the Heath Ledger Scholarship for 2017?
TCH: It would mean so much to me! It is such an honor to be nominated and I love that the Scholarship is all about celebrating young artists which is so rare. Winning would completely change my life right now – to have the funds and resources to set myself up in a new place would be incredible.
Heath Ledger Scholarship 2017 presenting partners are Qantas, Visit California, Screenwise and Ausfilm.
AiF would also like to thank Penfolds and Kate Raynor & Associates, official Immigration law partner.