Leading lady Hanna Griffiths, who stars in the new hit drama “Bittersweet Sadie,” currently available on digital platforms, chats life in Los Angeles as an Australian actress, making movies and being front and center on high-profile commercials for international brands.
Thank you for taking time to speak with us today. Congratulations on your latest film “Bittersweet Sadie.” You were born in Australia. Can you tell us a little about life as an actor there?
Thank you. I grew up in the country on a farm. Most of my childhood was spent in nature with horses. We went from farm to Melbourne all the time. We moved to Parkville and went to school near there, but I spent most of my spare time in the country with my horse.
I started acting in primary school. I did ballet first, I loved dancing, and from there did plays, musical theatre. Then I started working in film, television and commercials. I studied at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne and really liked it there.
Melbourne has a very strong art community and I made a lot of very creative friends. I got involved in everything I could. I did theatre and short films I would help even if I wasn’t in the project. I just wanted to be in the world of it. No one in my family was in show business so I just threw myself all in.
Your recent film is the drama “Bittersweet Sadie,” which follows a naive womanizer who learns a valuable lesson after he meets a mischievous lady by the name of Sadie. Can you tell us about the movie?
Yes, I play the lead Sadie, and it was a very fun character to play. It’s not often that the woman gets to have the power but in this story, she does. It goes inside the mind of a woman who seeks thrills and pleasure without thinking through the consequences, she lives each day as if it were her last.
You play Sadie in the film. Can you describe your character, and how she fits into the story?
Sadie is very clever, and she gets men to do whatever she wants. Using her charm and smile, even the strongest womanizer will fall into her trap. She is fun, mysterious and alluring. A deadly combination. She takes the male lead character on a journey down a dangerous path and ultimately puts her life at risk. It really is an exciting film.
You have starred in some other notable films and TV shows. Can you tell us a little about some of your favorite roles to date, and why?
My favorite roles are usually the ones that are the most challenging. I would say that playing mentally unstable characters have been the biggest challenge. I have to build a lot of pain and trauma to be able to find the truth in a person like that, so there’s a lot of research and rehearsal, but where there is the most challenge, is the most reward.
I would say that “Bittersweet Sadie,” and “Spaces Between the Ripples” required the most work. These are not the biggest projects I’ve worked on that got the most attention, but I don’t really value them like that. I also loved playing Jodie in the multi-award winning Australian TV series “Underbelly.”
We have seen you on many billboards, across major cities front and center, for many international advertising and commercial campaigns. Can you tell us some of your most challenging shoots?
The bigger the brand the more money they spend, the more people they have on set. It can get kinda crazy when there are so many people involved and you can spend over a week on a 30-second commercial.
I find it very interesting how much goes into something like that. Graphic artists, story boards, marketing tests, every little detail has been thought out down to the color of your reading glasses frame and there’s a reason why you would have silver over black. There are millions of dollars of testing behind it. It’s just like the popular TV show “Mad Men.” That gives you great insight into the world of advertising.
The most challenging shoots for me have been the ones with gadgets because they get extremely technical, where you are holding something that is not real, and you have to pretend all these amazing things are happening.
It can feel like being inside a pressure cooker, you look out and there are 100 people all standing there staring at you yelling things “do it this way, that way, say this, say that, look here, look there, don’t blink, move your finger, smile, don’t smile” it’s quite intense and surreal.
From Melbourne to the sparkling city lights of Los Angeles, both are so different. Can you share with us some of your preferred California hang-outs?
Fryman Canyon for hiking, Malibu beach for chilling, Melrose Avenue for shopping. The coffee isn’t as good in Los Angeles as it is in Melbourne, so I switched to drinking iced coffee instead, and that they do pretty well. I like Alfred coffee, Urth Cafe, and my favorite hang-out of all, is the Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, by the pool and in the Polo Lounge.
Are there any creature comforts from Australia that you miss?
Yes, I miss the farm and my horse Jake – I have dreams about him all the time. For my family I do FaceTime, but it’s not the same, I like to annoy them in person. Vegemite on toast, Milo and Golden Gaytime ice cream are my favorites.
What’s next for Hanna?
My new film is called “Brokers.” It is a true story based on the rise and fall of a currency trader who seems to have the perfect life but is far from content. It is a fast-paced comedy set in the 1990’s that explores decadence, temptation, power, betrayal and love. The feature-film is set in New York City and Sydney in Australia. I am really excited about sharing more news soon!