Nomadic Jessica embraces Cut Snake
Jessica De Gouw.
Jessica De Gouw has no permanent home but that’s hardly a sign of an actor who’s out of work.
In July last year De Gouw moved to Los Angeles and quickly landed a recurring role in Arrow, the US TV series based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, shot in Vancouver.
She then spent seven months in Budapest working on Dracula, NBC’s series that stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the title character, who poses as an American entrepreneur while he seeks revenge on those who cursed him.
In between those series she flew to Perth to play a supporting role in Apocalyptic thriller These Final Hours, the debut feature from writer-director Zak Hilditch. Now she is in country Victoria shooting Matchbox Pictures’ crime thriller Cut Snake, opposite Sullivan Stapleton and Alex Russell.
“I am a gypsy. I have no base; my life fits into two suitcases,” Jessica tells IF during a break in shooting. “One day I hope Sydney will be home again.”
The actor has worked virtually non-stop since she graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts (Communication and Cultural Studies – Performance Studies) from Curtin University in Perth. Her credits include Kath & Kimderella, Underbelly Razor, Crownies, Tricky Business and The Mystery of a Hansom Cab.
In Cut Snake, scripted by Blake Ayshford, she play Paula, the girlfriend of Russell’s Sparra Farrell, a young guy recently released from jail who hides his criminal past. Their lives are disrupted when brutal ex-crim Pommie (Stapleton) tracks down Sparra.
Jess is enjoying working with director Tony Ayres, observing, “He has very strong ideas on what he wants but he lets us play. It’s the calmest set I’ve ever been on. There is lots of fun and shenanigans with Sullivan and Alex between takes. Sully is so magnetic and Alex has a simmering danger about him in the role.”
De Gouw, who's repped by RGM in Australia, is one of those actors who hates watching herself in the rushes, saying, “I’m so self-aware, that would inhibit me. I just trust Tony.”
In These Final Hours, which Roadshow will release next year, she plays Zoe, the girlfriend of the lead character (Nathan Phillips), who makes his way to the party-to-end-all-parties on the last day on Earth and encounters a young girl (Angourie Rice) who is searching for her father. Jess sees similarities in the directing styles of Ayres and Hilditch, noting, “Zak is very relaxed on the set, very nurturing.”
In Arrow she was cast as Helena Bertinelli (a.k.a. comics anti-heroine Huntress), a troubled vigilante with an uncompromising method of delivering justice.
In Dracula she plays the dual roles of Dracula’s wife Ilona and her doppelganger Mina Murray, whom Dracula meets in his incarnation as entrepreneur Alexander Grayson. She’s waiting to see if the series has been renewed, which would mean spending another seven months in Budapest, while another series of Arrow is possible.
She counts herself lucky in being able to work steadily. “Most of my friends are actors and writers and directors and many have to do two or three jobs to make the rent,” she says.