She’s gorgeous, talented, successful and what every Hollywood actress wishes she was: young.
But the Australian star of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Teresa Palmer, says being 24 years old in Tinseltown isn’t as easy as it might sound.
“It’s a weird age to be in Hollywood. I feel like I’m falling between the cracks a little bit,” Palmer said.
“I’m too old to be playing high school, but I’m too young to be playing opposite Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio.
“There aren’t a lot of movie star males around my age that I can play opposite. I can only think of Shia LaBeouf. I’m maybe a little old for Zac Efron.”
In I Am Number Four, an action sci-fi she just finished shooting, Palmer says she felt so self-conscious playing a teenager she asked for her character to be older.
“I felt so silly playing a 17-year-old … we ended up aging her up to 22,” she says.
Palmer concedes that Hollywood isn’t easy for any actress at any age, but she still thinks if she was either older or younger she’d be working more.
“I’m still only doing about one film a year and I’d love to be doing film, film, film, film, film,” she says.
It’s hard to imagine that Palmer thinks she isn’t working hard enough.
In a short career, the Adelaide actress has already starred with Daniel (Harry Potter) Radcliffe as every teen boy’s dream in December Boys, Sarah Michelle Gellar as an American brat in The Grudge 2, Adam Sandler as a fair maiden in Bedtime Stories and now Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel in magical adventure film The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
In the soon-to-be released Kids in America, she plays the beauty Topher Grace’s character lusts after and in I Am Number Four, she plays a “tough alien chick in head-to-toe black leather who rides a Ducati motorbike and kicks butt”.
Earlier in August she confirmed she would be acting opposite Joel Edgerton, the brother of her rumoured boyfriend Nash, in the Australian thriller Say Nothing and she’s lined up to star in friend Gracie Otto’s first writer/director project Rue De Tournon, filming in Sydney and France next year.
A part in Mad Max: Fury Road was ruled out because of scheduling conflicts, but she’s still in the running to co-star in the latest Hollywood incarnation of Spiderman.
She may like to be working even more, but just being this busy is “a good problem to have”, laughs Palmer.
It’s not been a deliberate move to pick such varied roles, but the young actress hopes it is a sign of things to come.
“It is what I want to be doing for the rest of my career – just mixing it up and not staying within my comfort zone. I love to challenge myself,” she says.
In The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Palmer says she really enjoyed that her role as the beautiful love interest was turned on it’s head.
“I play the girl next door – a damsel in distress who turns into the hero,” she laughs. “I like that.”
Perhaps not hard to do when the hero is meant to be geeky-looking Baruchel.
“Go the nerds!” Palmer says.
“The love story is very endearing. It’s an unexpected romance because he’s the nerdy boy and she’s the cool muso chick and they’re, sort of, an unlikely pairing, but they work really well together.
“The nerds are my favourite sort of boys – any guy with a passion – whether it be physics or film or writing or poetry even, I think it’s super sweet and it’s very attractive for a female.”
Working alongside Cage was a revelation as well, she says.
“He’s very complex and he’s eccentric and interesting and he has very quirky stories and he is a goofball,” says Palmer, who seems to have picked up some US slang, but whose accent is still definitely Aussie.
“I grew up watching his films and he’s wonderful. I’m very pleasantly surprised that he’s such a good person.”
She may have worked with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, but Palmer says it is her family who keep her head out of the clouds and feet firmly on the ground.
“The way I was brought up by them really helped me have the confidence to leave little old Adelaide, South Australia, and make the move over to Hollywood,” she says.
“It helped me realise that yes, I’m an actor and that’s very exciting and all, but it doesn’t define who I am at all.
“I’m not saving lives.”
That humility and ability to poke fun at herself might be the key to her success in Hollywood so far, she says.
“I definitely try not to take myself too seriously and maybe that helps win over the directors in the audition rooms,” Palmer says.
“I think that Americans find the Australian humour and the energy of Australians very refreshing – we are quite self-deprecating, we’re light-hearted and can have a laugh.”