In Scanlan with Olivia DeJonge
Following a rapid ascent through the film and TV industry in her early twenties, Australian Actress Olivia DeJonge reflects on "growing up" on the set of ‘Elvis’ working alongside the formidable Catherine Martin and the fundamental importance of storytelling.
Radiating an undeniably Australian effortlessness that defies her new-found Hollywood stardom, the actor is honest, playful, and full of sincerity. When we ask about her recent AACTA Best Supporting Actress win she remains humble, “it means a lot…it’s really just a nice feeling to be appreciated by the Australian film/television community”.
It is this cherished community that DeJonge attributes to the nurturing of her independent spirit. Surrounded by a league of formidable women, both in her professional and personal life, she credits her unwavering strength to the encouragement of her female peers. “They taught me to not be afraid to speak up”, a sentiment that serves as a compelling reminder of the power that lies within those that we surround ourselves with.
One individual that has had a profound impact on the rising star is critically acclaimed costume designer, Catherine Martin. “She’s amazing! She’s a boss. I miss her” DeJonge reflects, “I learnt a lot from her”. Working together to portray the style icon that is Priscilla Presley, the actor was outfitted in ensembles reminiscent of the infamous photographs from the 60’s and 70’s. Recounting her time on set, DeJonge describes the transcendental sensation of embodying art itself, “every frame [of Elvis] is like a painting”.
Acting has been Olivia’s long-time love, and her enchanting talent speaks for itself when recalling her recent work such as the portrayal of Caitlin Atwater in ‘The Staircase’ in which she stars alongside Colin Firth and Toni Collette, as well as Elle Tomkins in Netflix’s mystery teen drama ‘The Society’. But it was her portrayal of Priscilla in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic ‘Elvis’ that escalated her burgeoning Hollywood career.
“I grew up a lot on that job” she admits when speaking of the 2022 retelling of the King of Rock 'n' Roll, “there’s definitely a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ ‘Elvis’”. It may have been the immense preparation for the role that naturally pushed her to mature, her dedication to reading “the script back to front and front to back”, deepening her understanding of who Priscilla Presley was, and is. Perhaps, the progression lies in the inner workings that she enlists for herself when preparing for an upcoming role, a time in which she prioritises self-reflection, “listen[ing] to music that reminds me of the character” and “journal[ing] a lot” she lists, “most of the work is really just me working on myself”.
The opportunity to star under the direction of Baz Luhrmann was a task that did not lack intimidation. However, fearful is not a word that comes to mind when thinking of DeJonge. She is a powerhouse who is driven by her love of working and is inspired by the community that the arts fosters. “I think it’s an effort to connect us and an attempt to make sense of the world. There’s a beauty in seeing parts of yourself, or your relationships, or your way of life being depicted in a film” she describes when asked about the importance of storytelling.
The innate nature of performing forges the opportunity to explore and embody diverse personas, however ather core DeJonge remains “pretty chill”, a quality that is reflected in her personal style. It is this duality that highlights the forte that is the intersection between fashion and art.When asked about this concept DeJonge responded “clothes create shape and express emotion and reflect the characters inner monologue”, a sentiment that Scanlan Theodore celebrates—a testament to the enduring allure and power of both film and fashion mediums.
In a world where personal style reflects the core of an individual and costuming breathes life into characters, fashion becomes a vessel for self-expression. Whilst on set with Scanlan Theodore, the actor points out her favourite pieces from the Summer 23 collection, a pair of patent black heels and a classic trench coat in a soft pink hue, “the black shoes on a date and the pink coat on a brisk spring morning” she muses. The elevated ease of Australian fashion is woven into the tapestry of both DeJonge and Scanlan Theodore’s identities, the undeniable elegance binds the two, alongside a mutual commitment to craft and dedication to excellence.
Emanating a luminary-like aura, DeJonge's talent and dedication know no bounds. Her upcoming project, "Narrow Road To The Deep North," is set to showcase her immense talent, leaving no doubt that her star is poised to continue shining brightly.