When it comes to filming back-to-back projects, one could do worse than swapping out Byron Bay for the Great Ocean Road.
Such was the scenario for young actress Savannah La Rain, who went from shooting Tyler Atkins’ debut feature Bosch and Rockit with Luke Hemsworth in the second half of 2020 to riding waves in regional Victoria earlier this year for upcoming Netflix young adult series Surviving Summer.
The 16-year-old told IF the transition was a case of art imitating life.
“I loved how could just tell the vibe [with Surviving Summer] was so Australian with the surfing and the lingo,” she said.
“Having just come from Byron, where I had been experiencing the surf culture, it was very cool to see it in a television show and it felt very relatable.
“I could just tell it was something so special that I wanted to be a part of.”
The roles signal a step up for La Rain who has been acting since the age of eight.
After starting out by appearing in television commercials and music videos, she began acting in student films, while also scoring a recurring role in Jonathan Shiff’s Mako Mermaids.
Her lead role in 2018 horror short Here There Be Monsters garnered international acclaim and La Rain was given the Australian Screen Industry Network’s Tony Bonner Award for Best Emerging Talent in 2019.
In Bosch and Rockit, she joins the lead cast of a feature film for the first time as Ash, the friend of Rasmus King’s 13-year-old Rockit, who believes he is on a magical holiday with his dad, played by Hemsworth, until he sees the cops are in pursuit.
Inspired by true events, the road movie drama is being produced by Jamie Arscott, John Schwarz, and Cathy Flannery, and also stars Michael Sheasby, Martin Sacks, and Isabel Lucas.
La Rain, who is based in Brisbane, said she initially declined the audition because of the character’s age but was eventually won over by the story.
“I got asked to do the audition again and I read the script, which I loved,” she said.
“Right after I auditioned, they basically told me I booked it, and then I started talking to Tyler.
“That was really great to do because it wasn’t too far from home and I’d never been to Byron before.”
She continued her momentum into this year with Werner Film Productions’ Surviving Summer, a 10-episode teen surfing drama co-commissioned by Netflix and Germany’s ZDFE.
Created by Joanna Werner and Josh Mapleston, the series stars Sky Katz as fierce Brooklyn teen Summer Torres who is sent Down Under to live with family friends in a tiny coastal town on the Great Ocean Road.
La Rain plays Bodhi Mercer, one of five teens that walk the line between competing with each other out in the water and maintaining close friendships ashore.
She said she was able to explore the different sides of her character through her interactions with five-time Queensland Junior State Surf Champion Lilliana Bowrey, who plays Poppy Tetanui.
“There’s a really cool dynamic between Bodhi and Poppy, who have been best friends their whole life and they really push each other,” she said.
“They’re really on each other because they care but it was sort of hard to keep a balance between friendship and competitiveness in the characters and not let either one overpower the other.
“But I think that’s what makes the connection between the characters so cool.
“You can see how hard each of the characters work behind the scenes; when they’re not doing surf competitions, they’re always just so focused.”
La Rain is heading back to Victoria this week to film an as yet untitled Universal project, which will shoot for the next two months.
Going forward, she wants to expand her range as much as possible.
“Right now, I’m still very young and I think the universe has a plan for me, so any audition that comes, I do it and I think I’m going to end up where I need to be, but in the long run, I’d love to end up doing something like Euphoria, or playing a Katniss Everdeen-type character,” she said.
“I just want to do things that are going to challenge me, whether that be mentally or physically, and just do things that are outside my comfort zone.
“I want every role to be different from the one before and just do as much as I can.”
Bosch and Rockit will have its world premiere on November 11 as part of the Sydney Film Festival, while Surviving Summer will screen on Netflix next year.