Dichen on her Transition from Neighbours to Hollywood

Before her roles in sci-fi and action series such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Altered Carbon, Dichen Lachman had to chart her own path to stardom.

TV WEEK Close Up: Australia first embraced you as Katya Kinski in Neighbours in 2005. Anything a soap character could go through, yours did. Do you have fond memories?

Dichen Lachman: That was the best. I wouldn’t be where I am, most likely, if it weren’t for Neighbours – and you’re right, I did get some really awesome storylines and I’m so blessed and lucky to have had that experience.

How did you get cast?

It really was out of the blue, because they didn’t even have a part for me. I auditioned for Pippa Black’s role of Elle Robinson, which clearly wasn’t going to work out because of my ethnicity [Adelaide-raised Dichen is of Tibetan and German descent].

But Jan Russ [the casting director] had an imagination, and they saw my tape, and I think they were being responsible. They wanted more diversity in the show and they wrote me in.

Like you, stars such as Guy Pearce and Margot Robbie kick-started their careers in Neighbours. Why is the show such a good talent incubator?

There’s no better training than going to work every single day − and also doing that amount of work. In the US, we shoot four to six pages a day. In Neighbours, you’re shooting 25 pages a day. So just the preparation and showing up on time, and you have a green room and everyone spends time together.

Neighbours had a really wonderful community theatre vibe. The older actors were excellent examples to the younger generation in terms of what’s acceptable and what’s not.

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“Altered Carbon” Heading Back to Netflix for Season 2

Altered Carbon, Netflix’s mega-expensive, time-spanning sci-fi story of endlessly-reborn detective Takeshi Kovacs, has been green lit for a second season.

Via multiple industry reports, Netflix has ordered eight all-new episodes (down from the first season’s run of 10 episodes, which debuted all at once in February) for the series, which is based on Richard K. Morgan’s line of dystopian cyberpunk novels.

Bound by Altered Carbon’s lore, in which Kovacs’ consciousness is eternally transplanted into a succession of new bodies, or “sleeves,” via downloadable technology that fits everything into portable storage plug-ins known as “stacks,” original Kovacs actor Joel Kinnaman won’t be returning to reprise the role for Season 2.

Rather, Kovacs will be played by Anthony Mackie, a face that’s familiar to Marvel fans for his multiple appearances as The Falcon in a string of MCU films: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, and this year’s Avengers: Infinity War.

Additional casting details are light, but Season 1 showrunner and executive producer Laeta Kalogridis will be back, joined by Alison Schapker, who will share both duties with Kalogridis and other executive producers for the series’ second outing.

Beyond casting Mackie as the new Takeshi Kovacs, it’s not known whether other Season 1 stars like Dichen Lachman (who played Kovacs’ deliciously twisted sister, Reileen) and Martha Higareda (the detective who first suspects, and then romances Kovacs) will be back. Kalogridis told Entertainment Weekly in February that Lachman and Chris Conner (Poe, the endearing AI manager of the Raven Hotel) might turn up in Season 2.

Also mysterious is the time and setting for Kovacs’ re-sleeved Season 2 adventures. Morgan’s second book in the Carbon series, Broken Angels, takes place 30 years after the events of the original, but Netflix has not indicated whether the show’s second season will adhere to the novels’ sequencing. We also haven’t seen word of a possible release date, but that’s to be expected this early in the development cycle. In the meantime, you can catch up by checking out the entire first season of Altered Carbon at Netflix.

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Dichen Lachman is one of WHO’s Most Beautiful People for 2018

In the dystopian future world of Netflix series Altered Carbon, Dichen Lachman plays Reileen Kawahara, a warrior woman whose memories have been attached to a new human body. In current-day Los Angeles, where Lachman is based, the Australian actress and former Neighbours star, 36, is a mum to a young daughter and, along with her co-star Joel Kinnaman, one of WHO’s Most Beautiful People for 2018.

What do you recall as your earliest conception of beauty?

I think my earliest conception of beauty was with nature, but I also remember being very young and infatuated with a young Englishman who was living with my family. I thought he was beautiful.

When do you feel the most beautiful?

I felt the most beautiful when I was five months pregnant… I felt pretty amazing. It was a really special time—my body felt alive and like it had a special purpose. Also, my chest was amazing. It didn’t last.

How fitting is it that in the terminology of the show, human forms are called “sleeves”?

I think the term “sleeve” works well because in this world, bodies are something you wear. Your body is not who you are.

If you slip into someone else’s skin for a day, who would you be and why?

I’d like to try maybe being a man, just curious. Not forever—I love being a woman.

What do you find most beautiful in your fellow cast members?

Everyone in the cast inspired me for different reasons. We were all so beautifully diverse but also, they were all so passionate and talented. Joel is so committed to his work. It was remarkable to see and discover the different facets as we worked together playing brother and sister.

To hear more from Dichen Lachman and other actors in our special, pick up WHO’s Most Beautiful People issue on newsstands today.

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Australian Dichen Lachman on the ‘masterpiece’ that is “Altered Carbon”

For all its mind-bending plot lines, elaborate mythology and far-reaching philosophical themes, Altered Carbon is, at its core, a love story, according to the series’ Australian star Dichen Lachman.

Lachman, best known for her roles on Neighbours and the Joss Whedon series Dollhouse, stars alongside Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman (The Killing) in the 10-part sci-fi epic, which is based on the classic cyberpunk novel by Richard K. Morgan.

She plays Rei, sister of the series’ protagonist Takeshi Kovacs, who is played variously by Kinnaman and Will Yun Lee. The use of two actors for one part is because in the neon and rain-drenched world of Altered Carbon, human consciousness is able to be downloaded on to a “stack” and implanted in a new body when we die.“Which means that anybody has the ability to switch bodies or, for some who have access, to potentially live for ever,” Lachman explains by phone from Sydney during a promotional tour for the show, which launched last month.

With shades of Blade Runner, Westworld and The Matrix, Altered Carbon’s intricate storyline explores everything from themes of immortality and what makes us human to our reliance on technology. “There’s a lot of layers to this show,” Lachman says. “There’s the relationship we have to technology and are we being responsible with that. And then there’s an epic love story that spans the ages. It’s also a murder mystery.

“It’s like a 10-hour long theatrical experience. It’s just a stunning show.”

She admits even she struggled to absorb the sweeping, time-shifting plot.

“It really doesn’t dumb itself down,” she says. “I think there’s a lot of television out there that’s just there to help you check out — this is a show where you have to check in.

“It’s like looking at an intricate masterpiece of a painting. You walk away and then you go back and you look at it again and you see something new or different.”

Lachman underwent extensive physical training to prepare for the role of Rei who, like Takeshi, is a former rebel fighter. “(The producers) wanted us to do everything we possibly could,” she says of the action scenes. “So we had an incredible stunt team. But 98 per cent of what you see on screen is the actual actor doing it.

“I trained for about three months in katana sword training and it was amazing. One of the things you look forward to being an actor is learning something you wouldn’t ordinarily go and learn.”

As for the show’s fandom, which has been demanding a season two, Lachman agrees there are still many questions to be answered.

“There’s so much story to tell,” she says. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed, and for the fans too. I try and engage with them as much as much as I can — they just want more.”

Altered Carbon is now streaming on Netflix.

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“Altered Carbon” Official Trailer

Following its fantasy movie Bright, Netflix is upping the explosive sci-fi factor with TV series Altered Carbon.

“Your body is not who you are. You shed it like a snake sheds its skin,” sets the scene at the top of the trailer.

“We transfer the human consciousness between bodies to live eternal life.”

The official blurb fills things out. “An intriguing story of murder, love, sex, and betrayal, set more than 300 years in the future.

“Society has been transformed by new technology: consciousness can be digitised; human bodies are interchangeable; death is no longer permanent.”

The series is created by Laeta Kalogridis and features a starry cast of Joel Kinnaman, James Purefoy, Martha Higareda, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Will Yun Lee and Dichen Lachman.

In the dystopian future of Altered Carbon, the conglomerate PsychaSec has developed the technology to download consciousness so it can be placed in a storage – or a new human host – endlessly.

This ability to cheat death is exclusively available to the wealthy, or those with particularly useful skill sets.
Such is the case with Takeshi Kovacs, a soldier who is most recently reincarnated into a body that looks very much like Joel Kinnaman.

Takeshi is brought back to solve the murder of businessman Laurens Bancroft (Purefoy), who is footing the bill thanks to his own recent reincarnation.

Altered Carbon launches around the world on Friday, February 2 on Netflix.

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Dichen Lachman Reveals How Long It Took To Make Roulette’s Dragon Tattoo

Dichen Lachman made her series debut as Roulette in last night’s Season 2, episode 4 of “Supergirl.” While the episode was airing, Lachman took time to answer some fan questions on Twitter, revealing some behind-the-scenes details about her villainous role.

In a tweet, Lachman shared how long it took for the makeup team to make her character’s iconic dragon tattoo. “The tattoos took about 4 hours. It was a bit of a puzzle,” the 34-year-old actress wrote.

When asked “which took longer in hair/MU, the tattoos on #Supergirl or the grounder get-up on #The100,” the Nepali-born actress answered: “#SupergirlCW took longer. But only sometimes because I slept with those transfers.”

A lot of “Supergirl” fans love Lachman’s performance of Roulette, and it’s something that the actress is thankful for. “Hi everyone. Thanks for watching ‘Supergirl’ tonight and for all the amazing tweets,” Lachman said a in video she shared on Instagram.

Lachman also congratulated “Supergirl” writers Paula Yoo and Eric Carrasco for writing an “amazing episode.”

When Lachman’s casting was confirmed last September, a fan tweeted the actress that she would like to see Roulette “alive” at the end of the episode, to which Lachman replied: “That would be nice.”

Fortunately for Roulette fans, that’s actually what happened in last night’s episode, entitled “Survivors.” Although Roulette was arrested for running an underground alien fight club, an order from the higher-ups made the National City Police Department release the villainess from their custody, which means that viewers might have not seen the last of her yet.

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Dichen Talks About Being Cast As DC Comics Villain Roulette

Dichen Lachman has confirmed that she will be appearing as DC Comics villain Roulette in Season 2 of “Supergirl.”

In a video clip she shared on Instagram, Lachman thanked her fans for all the excitement surrounding her casting and talked a little bit about her experience in filming the CW series.

“I just want to thank everybody for all the excitement about me appearing on ‘Supergirl’ as Roulette,” the 34-year-old Nepali-born Australian actress said. “The cast and crew are working so hard and there are such incredible people. I’m really excited to be on the show, and I can’t wait for you to see it.”

#thankyou ?? #supergirl #roulette #nomakeup means #filter is necessary ? it's late ?

A video posted by Dichen Lachman (@dichenlachman) on

On Twitter, Lachman revealed why joining the cast of “Supergirl” was pretty surreal for her.

“When I was a little girl in Kathmandu I used to daydream about being Supergirl,” she tweeted. “[It’s] one of the few movies we had on VHS. Watched it many times.”

In a follow-up tweet, Lachman added: “‘Supergirl,’ ‘Superman’ and ‘Police Academy’ were the 3 tapes we had and we watched them over and over again when we had electricity.”

In the comics, Roulette, also known as Veronica Sinclair, is an enemy to the Justice Society. She runs a gambling establishment for supervillains where they can bet on different events like captive superhero death-matches. Rather than getting her own hands dirty, she is more of a calculating business-minded character who manipulates others for profit. Created by Geoff Johns and Rags Morales, Roulette first appeared in 2001’s “JSA Secret Files and Origins” #2.

On CW’s “Supergirl,” on the other hand, Roulette runs an underground alien fight club in National City and is eager to get the Girl of Steel in the ring, Comicbook.com reported.

According to TVLine, Lachman — whose recent TV acting credits include “The Last Ship,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “ and “The 100,” among many others — will appear in “Supergirl” Season 2, Episode 4.

What do you think of Lachman’s casting as Roulette? Share your thought in the comments below!

“Supergirl” Season 2 premieres on Monday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. on The CW.

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[Review] ‘Too Late’ is an ambitious film noir

The long David Lynch-like opening sequence is memorable: Beautiful young Dorothy awaits the arrival of old flame Mel — a private detective — in a Radio Hill park high above Los Angeles. Two drug dealers, followed by a handsome park ranger, get there first. By the time Mel shows up, it’s — you guessed it — “Too Late.”

Even more memorable, perhaps, is the second sequence, in which trophy wife Janet (Vail Bloom) wanders around naked below the waist, up to and during the murder of her mobster husband, who used to employ Dorothy at one of his sleazy strip clubs.

If you stand on the cutting edge, be careful: It can slice your feet off.

Director-writer Dennis Hauck’s feature film debut plumbs the tangled depths between private eye Mel (John Hawkes) and missing Dorothy (Crystal Reed), the stripper with the proverbial heart of gold he’s hired to track down. It’s a familiar setup. But Mr. Hauck tears it apart, then stitches it back together into a tapestry of eccentric SoCal lost souls, skipping most of the PI detective stuff and focusing instead on the characters’ emotional lives, the backstory and the aftermath — NOT in that order.

This ambitious contemporary film noir unfolds across five nonsequential acts, filmed in the old 35 mm Techniscope format, which yields 22 minutes of footage per roll, compared with the 11-minute max of most subsequent 35 mm formats. With its self-conscious lighting, long zooms and tight focus, Bill Fernandez’ old-fashioned photography superbly captures both the seedy and faux-glamorous vistas of LA.

Oscar-nominated for “Winter’s Bone” (2010), Mr. Hawkes is a self-effacing, less-is-more kind of actor. Here, as the grizzled gumshoe, he resembles a down-and-out Sean Penn. Dichen Lachman as Jill, a hard-boiled Asian vamp, is a little too inscrutable, while Sydney Tamiia Poitier — yes, the daughter of Sidney! — has a nice turn in the opening.

Mr. Hauck strives to channel Quentin Tarantino — a “Pulp Fiction”-style take on the noir genre — but his script’s long-winded, grandiloquent dialogue, packed with film references, grows tedious. Is a stripper’s monologue on Bugs Bunny really necessary?

“I thought it was more interesting to ostensibly solve the case right off the bat and then delve deeper into who these characters are and how they know each other,” the director has said. “The film’s structure was conceived before I even knew what it would be about. I told myself it could be about anything, as long as it takes place in five 20-minute scenes.”

Content follows form, in other words, rather than the usual other way around.

Interesting, in theory.

Dubious, in practice.

“I could be wrong,” he adds, “but I think the shots in ‘Too Late’ are the longest continuous shots filmed on 35 mm in cinema history.”

He is, in fact, wrong. There are many instances of longer takes dating back to the silent era, up through the Andy Warhol films. Anyway, it’s not really about the length of the takes. It’s about the challenge of editing them.

Some nice music adorns “Too Late” — notably, Mr. Hawkes’ performance of “Down with Mary,” and Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”

But, oy veh, the self-indulgence of this project — whose climactic finale involves a drive-in theater that doubles as a boxing venue, run by scantily clad Jill.

Director Hauck says he has another project in mind, described as “Nathanael West meets Terry Gilliam for a weird movie about a guy with no tongue.”

Gotta admire the man’s imagination. Gotta wish him better luck next time with the coherent execution.

(Opens Friday at the Pittsburgh Film Makers’ Melwood screening room in Oakland.)

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