QNews interview: Vanessa Moltzen on the actor’s life

bullets for the dead reef break Vanessa Moltzen between two worlds
Image: Reef Break

Earlier this year, Aussie actress Vanessa Moltzen returned home to sit out the COVID-19 restrictions with family in Brisbane. Vanessa grew up in Brisbane and attended first Wynnum North State School and later Lourdes Hill College. In the last few years, she’s appeared in numerous TV series and movies. She starred in Bullets for the Dead, a zombie western and featured alongside Sam Neil in House of Bond. Last year, she featured in American ABC’s Reef Break made on the Gold Coast. This year, we’ll see her on Channel 7 in Between Two Worlds.

QNews caught up with Vanessa this week.


QNews: Hi Vanessa and thanks for chatting with us. How have you adapted to staying home after your hectic shooting schedule during the last few years?

Vanessa: The abrupt change of momentum and loss of work was a challenge — not gonna lie! But on the positive side, I’ve had a lot of time to spend with my family. And I also discovered the incredible amount of classes you can take online.

Seven Fat Cows

QNews: When did you begin acting?

Vanessa: Well, I started out in Musical theatre at the age of fifteen. Brisbane Junior Theatre runs a week-long workshop where you have to learn and perform a show in five days. The show was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. I played one of the ‘Seven fat cows’.

Thank god my repertoire has expanded since then. I just fell in love with storytelling and the camaraderie that you feel with the other actors.

QNews: Have you continued with stage work or is your focus mainly on television and movies now?

Vanessa: I studied at The Victorian College of the Arts and I worked on some incredible roles with playwrights like Chekhov & Shakespeare. I would love to work in theatre again, particularly in Brisbane where I grew up. I was in awe of some of the performances that I witnessed here. But I’ve been really lucky to work consistently in film and TV. So you just go where the work is.

QNews: When someone mentioned she’d been on a date with you, I watched House of Bond for the first time. I was struck by the chemistry between you and Sam Neill — a totally believable pair of co-conspirators. How challenging is it for a young actor suddenly paired with a screen legend like Sam Neill?

Vanessa: Thank you. Yes. That was a fun role. I’m cast as the villain a lot. Better than one of the Seven fat cows I guess. Sam was lovely to work with. He’s human. I try not to get caught up in all of the hype and just focus on the job.

Bullets for the Dead

QNews: Your movie career began with a starring role in Bullets for the Dead, a zombie western shot in Queensland and funded by Screen Qld. Reviews of Bullets for the Dead consistently praise your performance as Annie Blake, the ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive’ leader of an outlaw gang. The movie features a lot of gore and some very black humour. It’s fun to watch. It must have been a lot of fun to make.

Vanessa: It was!

I learned how to throw a tomahawk, for a start. I like to represent women who embrace their strength and power. And Annie Blake was a total ball breaker. She takes risks and is totally unapologetic. Some of the scenes we shot were hilarious.


QNews: Last year you worked on the American ABC series Reef Break made on the Gold Coast starring Poppy Montgomery. Do you ever feel tempted to follow Poppy’s lead and move to the US to further your career?

Vanessa: Yes. There’s simply more work over there and a lot more funding. But it’s great that a lot of international projects are shooting in Oz. I worked on the big-budget Netflix series Chosen in Sydney.

QNews: What has been some of your memorable experiences on set?

Vanessa: There many!

It’s 6 am in the morning and you’re halfway through an emotional scene but there’s literally a scorpion just casually walking right by you.

Making Reef Break, I walked into a hotel lobby with a suicide vest on. And the least enjoyable was playing dead… lying in a body bag… on the floor of an actual crematorium… near the furnace… for hours. You can’t help but contemplate ‘how did I end up here?’

It can be wild and a lot of fun.

Vanessa Moltzen, now playing on a screen near you

Catch Vanessa in Bullets for the Dead on 7plus, House of Bond on STAN, and Chosen on Netflix. Between Two Worlds shows on 7 in July. Watch out for Reef Break to hit local screens sometime soon.

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