Just two months ago, Abby Earl was a struggling student. Now, the NSW-born actress, above, is a star in the making, having landed her first major TV role in Nine Network's new telemovie The Great Mint Swindle alongside Grant Bowler and Shane Bourne.
The 95-minute production, which began filming last month across *Perth *, follows the 20-year saga of the Mickelberg brothers and the most famous gold heist in Australia's history.
Earl, who is in her final year studying acting at WAAPA, stars as Diana, the love interest of protagonist Peter Mickelberg, played by former Home and Away hottie Todd Lasance.
"It happened by complete accident," the 22-year-old told Access All Areas.
"We've been having casting agents come over and give us a rundown on the industry and (the movie's) casting director Ann Fay came over and filmed some auditions.
"Then all of a sudden I was meeting the director and the producer and it all kind of fell into place.
"None of us were meant to get it, though, it was just an exercise," she laughed.
While she appeared in acclaimed Aussie drama Love My Way in 2007, Earl says working full-time on a project for the first time has had its challenges.
"It's scene after scene, 14-hour days, which is a huge shock for me," she said. "My first day, I'd been in make-up for four hours waiting around and then (the director) said walk to that spot and burst into tears and usually at WAAPA I've got weeks of rehearsals but it's wonderful, you have to just get in there and do it."
Because of the nature of the story, details of filming and the script have been tightly guarded, which Earl says sometimes makes things difficult for the actors.
"Scenes would have to be cut the night before and lines changed and names changed," she explained. "It's a really violent part of WA's history and a really embarrassing part so we had to keep everything under wraps."
After filming ends on Friday, Earl will complete her final semester at WAAPA before moving home to Sydney.
After a trip to Europe with her boyfriend of four years, actor Tahki Saul, over the summer, Earl plans to hit the audition circuit with full force.
The Great Mint Swindle is set to air on Nine and WIN next year.