Fifteen-year-old Presbyterian Ladies’ College student Olivia DeJonge has stunned Hollywood by grabbing the lead role in the latest movie by Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan.
Shyamalan launched a worldwide search for his leading lady in a yet-to-be-titled thriller but settled on DeJonge after just auditions, unheard of for an actress living so far from the centre of the international movie industry.
“I cried when I found out and I never cry over anything, ” a still-beaming DeJonge said in the lounge of her family’s Peppermint Grove home.
“I had no idea they were even considering me. So when I got the phone call at 7am one morning, I just lost it. The tears came pouring out.”
DeJonge’s Perth agent Theresa Huska said that they would normally fly an actor living so far from Hollywood to meet the director and check the chemistry with other cast members.
But Shyamalan was instantly smitten.
“Apparently Shyamalan was so besotted with Olivia after her first audition he said he’d found his star. He did the second audition just to see what she could do with a particular scene, ” Ms Huska said.
But it is not just Shyamalan who is taken by DeJonge, who made her feature debut in 2012 with the US indie cyber-bullying drama Sisterhood of the Night. Her American agents, Hollywood powerhouse CCA, are thrilled with the actress’ rapid development.
“In all my years working as an agent I have never seen a US agency so excited by an Australian actor,” said Ms Huska, who is credited with discovering Alice in Wonderland star Mia Wasikowska and whose career she still guides.
After being cast, DeJonge received a call from Shyamalan to discuss the script and her character. DeJonge flies to the US early next month for two weeks of rehearsal ahead of a two-month shoot in Philadelphia.