Interview With LIAM GRAHAM | Mastering My Own Destiny
We all see the world through our own unique lenses, and despite pre-established rules or opinions that have been formed through our own human evolution, we always have the freedom to decide what’s best for us. When we allow ourselves to tap into our inner power, it feels good, loving, and kind. If we can celebrate the abundant diversity and embrace our uniqueness while we walk through life with the feeling of appreciation for ourselves and others, we will deliberately start to create our own destiny full of joy and happiness. And then, our differences will become blessings, and our lives will move towards unity.
Scottish born and Australian raised actor Liam Graham has embraced his exposure to such contrasting cultures by seeing the world with openness and acceptance. He mastered his own destiny through his love for acting. While he was an introvert as a child, the possibility of becoming “someone else” has opened a world of self-discovery in both, professionally and personally.
This talented award-winning actor can be seen soon as Tyler on the new ABC TV series “The Heights,” among other exciting projects that you will discover throughout this inspiring interview.
- Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Liam Graham?
He’s a guy from Perth, one of the world’s most isolated cities, who loves the beach, wide-open spaces and a good summer ale!
I’m also profoundly interested in telling people’s stories, as I firmly believe that we all have something to say and contribute to the world, no matter our circumstances.
- You were born in Glasgow, Scotland but spent time in Perth, Western Australia. How did the exposure to two different cultures affect your identity?
From the beginning of life, you’re immersed in a colorful world with such a diverse range of people, which to a performer, is gold. Never being forced to live within the “rules” of one specific culture has enabled me to have a highly accepting, neutral and non-judgmental lens on people from all walks of life.
I really feel the contrast between the two cultures has helped me with my acting as I’m able to access a wide range of characters and see the world from their perspective.
- At the age of seven, your grandmother introduced you to the world of theatre. Since then, you fell in love with the performing arts. How does acting contribute to your self-discovery as a person?
In the early 90’s my Granny was returning from Scotland to Perth and was seated next to a Scottish man who also had immigrated to Perth and was returning home. They got chatting, and it turned out he taught drama classes for kids in Perth only a few suburbs away from my parent’s house. Being an extremely introverted child, My Granny thought that it might help me with developing social skills. As a child who could barely converse with anyone other than my parents, being on stage was literally the last place on Earth, I wanted to be! After kicking and screaming in the car every Saturday morning, I think a seed was planted around six weeks into the term. I discovered a deep love of telling stories and found having “permission” to be somebody else, was intoxicating. Acting has not only enabled me to evolve as an artist but also as a person. Relationships are the foundation of society, and without them, we’d crumble. Being an actor has opened my eyes to the world and has, in turn, caused me to reflect continuously on who I am at my core.
- How does your experience in theatre, TV, and film enhance and nourish each other?
They may all be classified as acting through the process and preparation of each medium are worlds apart. In saying that, they nourish each other richly in a myriad of ways. Having my start in theatre in retrospect was beneficial. Theatre is an art that is ruthless, and you don’t get second chances. I have an immense amount of respect for stage actors. Although I have performed on the stage, I consider myself a screen actor as that’s where most of my experience lies.
My love of the screen sparked when I would hang out with my dad at his work as a toddler. My Dad is a television audio director and was head of sound at Channel 9, where I used to play on the floor drawing on the back of old auto-cue scripts. I remember being so fascinated by the whole team working together to create one product. That has stuck with me my whole life.
I landed my first film role at the age of 12, as the director contacted the school about his project, ‘Growing Jacob’s Gold.’ After working on set, I knew this was the path I was going to head down. The collaboration of all these different artists; writers, directors, art department, graphics, gaffers, etc., overwhelmingly resonated with me.
- You have a major role on the new ABC TV series “The Heights.” What did you feel when you first read the script?
When I first read the script, I was extremely impressed with the quality of writing. The storylines are so true to life and engaging. Seeing the writers attached, it wasn’t surprising that the script was as well written as it is.
The detail of each character is incredible. The key element to the series that makes it so relatable is that it’s so true to life. If you think about it, real life is far more bizarre and fascinating than fiction. Most true stories I hear from people just would not be believed on screen! The writers, directors, and producers have made a conscious decision on this aspect of the show. The show deals with a broad range of real-life issues that all sorts of people will be able to relate to. It doesn’t whitewash, the world isn’t perceived as “Pleasantville, “and it deals with all sorts of minority groups, which ironically in life make up the majority of us. I think Australia (and hopefully other countries) will vibe with it.
- On “The Heights” you play Tyler, who is he?
I have to be very broad here as we’re still filming…. let’s go with …’my character is a 20-something wealthy bohemian with a busy social life!’
- What excites you most as an actor and personally for being part of series “The Heights?”
Definitely being able to explore my character ‘Tyler’ thoroughly. Tyler’s personality is multi-dimensional. That, mixed with directors who are open to character suggestions has been the most exciting part of the series for me. The directors have given me the chance to manifest a personality that I hope audiences find unique yet relatable.
- How was your experience working with an amazing cast such as Marcus Graham, Roz Hammond, and Shari Sebbens to mention a few?
Working with actors like Roz Hammond, Shari Sebbens, and Marcus Graham has felt more like a dream than work. These are Aussie screen legends I’ve seen on film and TV growing up, and now I get to work alongside them…. it doesn’t feel like reality!
Later this year you will be shooting in Los Angeles for the upcoming feature ‘End of the World’ directed by Joel Nix. What can you share with us about this project and Brandon, the character you portray?
Yes! I’m beyond excited to work with Joel who has worked on some great projects and with some fantastic people including Roland Emmerich. At this stage, I can’t really say too much, but what I can say is, I have the lead role and will be shooting in the US later this year. I wish I could say more sorry!
- You received a BEST ACTOR nomination from the West Australian Screen Award’s for your role of ‘Michael’ in the series ‘Greenfield’, and won the BEST ACTOR award at the 2017 ‘Next Gen Short Film Festival,’ as part of ‘Fringe World,’ for the sci-fi short film ‘Council.’ What does it mean to you, and how does it feel having received this win and nomination?
Winning BEST ACTOR at the 2017 ‘Next Gen Short Film Festival’ and being nominated for BEST ACTOR at the ‘West Australian Screen Award’s’ was both humbling and encouraging. I’m not one who is in the business for accolades but don’t get me wrong, whenever I’ve received acknowledgment for what I do, it’s great, and I highly appreciate my work being recognized.
- What other exciting projects you are working at this moment?
One project that’s in the works at the moment is ‘Dark Sister’ distributed by ‘Wild Eye Releasing.’ You could call it an homage to the thriller sub-genre of ‘Giallo’ (meaning yellow), which has its origins in 60’s and 70’s Italian cinema. The Giallo genre is getting a revival at the moment with the remake of ‘Suspiria’ coming out in November, it’s really exciting stuff. It will be released in the US later this year.
- You are a vivid philanthropist. Where does your passion for humanitarian causes come from? Do you support any charitable organization you want to mention? If so, please do.
I think my humanitarian drive comes from when I was very young. After I was born, my late Granny sponsored a child from a famine devastated country. She said to me at around age six that at the time I was born it really struck her how lucky we were to live in a country where we had food, water, shelter, and were not under the threat of war. In her beautiful Scottish accent she said, “Liam, you are a very lucky wee boy to live in Australia where it’s safe, most little boys and girls in the world don’t have that privilege. Always count your blessings.” As an adult, this has stuck with me.
I work closely with people who have acquired brain injuries. I spend several days a week with a few specific people I have developed a connection with. It’s a very personal relationship so I try and juggle it with filming when I can. Sometimes my schedule doesn’t allow me to be as involved as I like to, however this year I’ve been able to make it work. I get a sense of gratitude helping people become as independent as possible especially when they’ve been through quite traumatic situations. It really puts into perspective what is important in life.
- Do you have a habit or ritual when you want to re-connect with yourself?
When in Australia, I’m fortunate enough to live by the ocean, which to me is the most healing place I can be. I sit on the sand and just zone out watching the waves. I always sense a feeling of revival once I leave. I also love to drive long distances alone through the South West of Western Australia.
- The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is “The Essence of a Joyful Living.” How does joy during the creation process affect your own experience, and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?
I think many people believe being joyous can only come from outside influences. Joy is one of those emotions you can manifest within yourself and can also find in a magnificent amount of life’s situations. I can say that finding joy and also being neutral with life as much as possible, has made me a much more relaxed person…and probably more enjoyable to be around (hopefully!)
- When you hear: “You can be, do and have anything you want,” words by Abraham Hicks. What is your take on such a statement?
This is a very strong quote, one that will always be relevant. I think this kind of mantra to me is powerful because of the amount of doubt and insecurity in the world. Being able to say these words to yourself and really believe them is far more important than having anyone else tell them to you because it means you hold your mental well being in your own hands rather than leaving it to the fate of others.