Sibylla Deen on life and inspiration in LA. Starting with coffee.

Sibylla Deen on life and inspiration in LA. Starting with coffee.

Australian born actor Sibylla Deen has quickly made an impact in the USA. Her recent roles include starring in acclaimed miniseries 'Tut' alongside Sir Ben Kingsley, Emmy nominated TV series 'Tyrant' and recently released feature film 'Lies We Tell' with Gabriel Byrne and Harvey Keitel. We spoke to Sibylla about life in LA and some valuable gems from her experience.

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ON WHERE YOU’RE FROM

Hunters Hill, Sydney

ON WHERE YOU’VE LIVING IN LA

I live in Beachwood Canyon, up a very steep hill. It’s near the Hollywood sign. It’s quintessentially LA.

ON WHY YOU MOVED ABROAD

Curiosity motivated me to travel. The moving part was never planned, it just kind of happened.

ON LA IN ONE WORD

It’s a very big city (sorry, that’s not one word). Big.

 

Sibylla Deen stars in acclaimed miniseries ‘Tut’ alongside Sir Ben Kingsley. Image courtesy Paramount

ON WHETHER YOUR IMAGE OF LA CHANGED ONCE LIVING THERE

Yes and it continues to. I never realized it was so big.

ON CURRENT PROJECTS

A TV series called The Last Ship on TNT. And a British indie film called Lies We Tell with Gabriel Byrne and Harvey Keitel.

ON A FAVOURITE ROLE RECENTLY

Playing the Queen of Egypt along side Ben Kingsley was an incredible experience. I lived in Ouarzate in Morocco for 6 months which was magic.

ON WHAT YOU’RE UP TO TODAY

I’ll drink three espressos before I do most things. When I’m home in LA I love to do house work, sweep the floors, do my washing. I know, you think I’m mad… but it’s rare. I really like my washing machine. I have to do some press interviews for my movie that is about to come out. I will go up the hill to the Beachwood Cafe for eggs. Might walk the reservoir or up to the Hollywood sign. See friends, have more coffee. 

Curiosity motivated me to travel. The moving part was never planned, it just kind of happened.

ON THE BEST THING ABOUT LIVING ABROAD

I think the challenges, it’s never easy. You are always up against something. The landscape changes and you can go wherever you please.

ON HOW LA INSPIRES YOU

I have a lot of friends in LA who are actors, this may sound silly, but it’s so helpful to have people to run lines with, do self tapes with who get it. I think the nature of the city having so many creative people is how you get your inspiration.

ON THE ACTING COMMUNITIES IN SYD AND LA

The nature of the work is different, the way the industries work, the opportunities. America is still the epicenter, but you are able to tape and work from just about any where in the world now which is great. I love Australian film and TV and would love to come home and work on something.

 

Sibylla Deen in LA and a birdseye view of Beachwood Canyon, Los Angeles.

ON LIFE OVERSEAS AND ACTORS

I think getting out of your comfort zone, exploring, meeting people from different cultures broadens you. I think most actors are like kids, they have that fascination and that goes hand in hand with travel.

ON WHERE YOU GO FOR INSPIRATION

I go to Barts books in Ojai (which is an hour out of LA). I sit on the ground and read for hours. I also love the Los Feliz library.

To see theatre I go to The Geffen, but keep an ear out for other smaller things. To be honest just getting out of the house in LA to do something is a victory in itself.

The arc light to see movies.

Point Dume to swim, drag my feet through the sand and talk to the seals.

The rides at Santa Monica Pier to just to let go and the view is fabulous.

The Grammy Museum or LACMA.

ON WHETHER IT’S GOOD HAVING AN ACCENT

Yes, because that’s who you are and I think most people in LA find Australians endearing. People also like to guess where you are from, so it gives you an edge.

I would say the cities untapped resource is guest houses, many large homes have sweet little self-contained places out the back or to the side that they rent out for a good price.

ON A NEW PHRASE YOU’VE HEARD IN LA

That’s clutch. My friend Lucy Armstrong taught it to me. I really like it. You use it as a phrase of exclamation said when you receive exactly what you need exactly when you need it. “The other day I was really hungry but thought I had no money on me. Then I found five dollars in my jacket pocket–that was clutch.”

ON SOMETHING PEOPLE SHOULD DO WHEN THEY ARRIVE

Go eat sushi in a strip mall. All the best sushi is in these random car park looking things. Katsuya in Studio City is my favorite.

ON A MUST KNOW LA TIP

Uber is really cheap. And if you have a car ARCO has the cheapest gas.

 

Sibylla Deen stars in recently released feature film ‘Lies We Tell’, and acclaimed TV series ‘Tyrant’.

ON FINDING A PLACE TO LIVE

I think the best thing is asking friends. But if you don’t have them, there are great Facebook groups like Aussies in LA. I used Air B and B initially. I loved the place I was in and asked if could rent it long term. If you are alone I would say the cities untapped resource is guest houses, many large homes have sweet little self-contained places out the back or to the side that they rent out for a good price.

ON SOMETHING TO BE PREPARED FOR

Traffic. The city is very big and you spend a lot of time calculating which is the best time to get from here to there.

ON A MUST HAVE ITEM FOR YOU

Nespresso machine

ON SOMETHING YOU WISH YOU’D BEEN TOLD

The water is gross! The drinking water I mean. I go to a special shop called the Waterplant and buy Alkaline water.

ON VISAS

I have an o1, so if you are an actor, get that. I think if you have a body of work behind it is relatively simple to apply for a greencard. I guess my advice would be to get a good immigration lawyer. 

ON YOUR FAVOURITE BAR

The Friend

ON YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT

Squirl

ON A GALLERY TO CHECK OUT

LACMA

ON GREAT THEATRE

The Geffen

ON YOUR FAVOURITE STORE

Ragdoll LA

ON YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO BE

In my garden, with coffee, at about 8.30am

ON WHERE YOU FIND GOOD COFFEE

My house. Or I like La Columbe or I go to Zinque.

ON AN AUSTRALIAN FIX YOU NEED IN LA

A chicken burger, like Oporto’s but better. I get it at Little Ruby’s in Santa Monica.

 

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Nuggets in this interview

neighborhoods

Beachwood Canyon, LA

"I live in Beachwood Canyon, up a very steep hill. It’s near the Hollywood sign".

–Sibylla Deen

inspiration

Barts Books, Ojai

"I go to Barts books in Ojai (which is an hour out of LA). I sit on the ground and read for hours".

–Sibylla Deen

food and drink

Katsu-ya, LA

"All the best sushi is in these random car park looking things. Katsuya in Studio City is my favorite".

–Sibylla Deen

food and drink

The Friend Bar, LA

"Favourite bar..The Friend"

–Sibylla Deen

food and drink

Little Rubys, Santa Monica

"A chicken burger, like Oporto’s but better. I get it at Little Ruby’s in Santa Monica".

–Sibylla Deen

events

Geffen Playhouse, LA

"To see theatre I go to The Geffen, but keep an ear out for other smaller things".

–Sibylla Deen

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