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Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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17 December, 2020

Casting call allures Outback actors

OUTBACK residents got the chance to live out their acting dreams as casting directors visited Winton and Longreach earlier this week in search of locals to play extras and small roles in one of Australia’s most critically-acclaimed television shows.

By Hamish Hart

Anousha Zarkesh worked with regional residents to ensure the best auditions were given.

As a part of her self-titled agency, Anousha Zarkesh has specialised in casting for Australian television and films for more than 25 years in a wide variety of genres including political satire, drama, comedy, and documentary series and film.

Popular shows and films on her casting resume include Mystery Road, Tomorrow When the War Began, Black Comedy, and Underbelly Files: Chopper.

Zarkesh’s commitment and remarkable eye for talent recently earned her two awards during the 2020 Casting Guild of Australia (CGA) Awards, winning Best Casting for Comedy for her work on Black Comedy series four, and Best Casting for TV Mini-Series for Operation Buffalo.

She was also awarded Best Casting for TV Drama for season one of critically-acclaimed ABC series, Total Control, during the 2019 CGA Awards.

Ms Zarkesh’s latest project saw her search for talented people to star alongside renowned Australian actresses, Rachel Griffiths and Deborah Mailman (pictured below), in the second season of Total Control.

The ABC drama stars Griffiths and 
Mailman, and focuses on an Indigenous Senator who finds herself the centre of political drama and betrayals during her introduction into its landscape.

Auditions began in Winton on Monday at the Waltzing Matilda Centre, travelled to the Longreach Civic Centre on Wednesday before concluding in Winton on Thursday.

“From the first round of auditions we have found people who are confident and right for extras and small-talking roles,” Ms Zarkesh said. “We have had enthusiastic people come from places such as Mount Isa and surrounding properties just to audition.

The Outback shire has remained a popular filming locale for Australian movies and shows such as The Proposition, Mystery Road and season one of Total Control due to its encapsulating community and atmosphere.

“A lot of shooting and casting in the Outback has to do with the content of the show,” Ms Zarkesh said. “It is set in a fictitious country town and deals with issues that arise in rural communities.

“Like last series, we will be using similar locations in the shire such as pubs, streets, roads, country side and maybe the town hall. There will be a lot of the same locations, as well as new ones.”

Winton, alongside Sydney and Canberra, will be primary shooting locations for the show.

Filming will begin late April and continue throughout May 2021. Successful auditioners are expected to be used for one or two days of filming.

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