Callan holds Cottesloe close

He's been called a young Zac Efron and played the young Jay Gatsby before Leonardo DiCaprio took over in The Great Gatsby.

Yet rising Aussie star Callan McAuliffe, who moved to LA at just 15, says he has a special place in his heart for Perth, where he lived as a toddler and still returns to visit family.

"I lived down by Cottesloe Beach back when the prices where cheaper," McAuliffe, now 19, laughs to AAA Weekend.

"It was a great spot and I often come back because most of my relatives are still there, including my grandma, who is 95 and crazy and energetic and an inspiration. So I have plenty of more recent memories."

After appearing in Packed to the Rafters, the untrained model-turned-actor enjoyed a meteoric rise in Hollywood. He was cast by Steven Spielberg in I Am Number Four and recently worked with Samuel L. Jackson and Sir Ben Kingsley in the upcoming films Kite and Robot Overlords respectively.

In the coming-of-age indie drama Beneath the Harvest Sky, which screens as part of the Possible Worlds Film Festival at The Jaffa Room today, he plays "a good guy with a bad-boy friend who raises all sorts of hell".

The teenager is living a charmed life in LA, where he says about half of his circle of friends also work in Hollywood.

"I'm having a great time," he beams. "I'm generally pretty nerdy and lazy. It's very easy to make friends here because everyone is so laid-back and almost everyone is in the industry.

"But that can sometimes be a bit risky, too, because you never know what they're trying to get or whether it's an honest relationship."

Yet the Unicef ambassador says that's not why he's stayed single.

"It's just too much effort, mate!" he laughs in true Aussie style.

The West Australian

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