Sam Cotton in ‘Diary of an Uber Driver.’
When Sam Cotton landed the title role in the ABC/RevLover Films’ dramedy Diary of an Uber Driver, he approached the job with some trepidation.
It was his first lead after playing Bruce, the nemesis of Luke McGregor’s Daniel in the ABC’s Rosehaven, and son-in-law Wayne in SBS’s The Family Law.
He plays Uber driver Ben, whose life had always been in cruise control until his newish girlfriend Beck (Zahra Newman) gets pregnant in the six-parter scripted by Tom Ward, based on Ben Phillips’ blog.
He got the gig after doing a self-tape when he lived in Brisbane (he is now based in Sydney), followed by a call back in Sydney a few weeks later.
“At the outset I was kind of terrified but the director Matt Moore did so much to make me comfortable,” he tells IF. “He ran rehearsals where I got to do my lines with all the actors and he would dissect every scene. So by the time we started filming I was so prepared.
“Also Matt creates such a super-relaxed, fun atmosphere on set that even though you know as the director he has so much on his plate, he never once showed it.”
Cotton found it easy to relate to his character, who is of similar age, and he loved the concept of an Uber driver who constantly picks people up, giving him glimpses into their lives and struggles.
Impressed with his co-star Newman, he says: “She is one of those people who is effortlessly really good and so much fun to be around. She raised my game when I was in scenes with her.”
Produced by Martha Coleman and Lauren Edwards, the series, which features a stellar guest cast including John Bell, Caroline Brazier, Ed Oxenbould, Julian Maroun and Emily Barclay, premieres at 9.30 pm on Wednesday August 14. He’s very hopeful it will be renewed.
Sam Cotton in ‘Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan.’
He will next be seen in Kriv Stenders’ Vietnam War movie Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan, which Transmission Films is launching on August 8.
Part of an ensemble cast including Travis Fimmel, Luke Bracey, Richard Roxburgh, Daniel Webber, Nicholas Hamilton, Aaron Glenane, Anthony Hayes and Stephen Peacocke, he played Corporal Phil ‘Doc’ Dobson, a medic.
Dobson treated 23 wounded men, not one of whom died, when 108 Australian soldiers held off about 2,500 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers for three and a half hours in torrential rain on August 18 1966.
It was a joy for him to work with Stenders, observing: “He and the team have done a brilliant job in showing how heroic those men were and how significant that battle was.”
Sam set his sights on acting when he was 16 and he entered a competition entitled Search for a Movie Star staged at Warner Bros. Movie World. He did a Chopper Read monologue and was declared the winner.
Actor Tony Bonner presented him with the award: a few hundred dollars in cash, a year-long pass to the theme park and a role in a movie which never happened.
Sam secured an agent and did acting classes conducted by casting director Tom McSweeney. He has written, directed and produced several short films and he is also an animator.
“My dream is to create an adult animated series about an encounter between bogans and aliens in outback Queensland,” he says. “I am writing the scripts and preparing pitch documents.”