Blockbuster film that rebooted Aussie’s career

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After spending most of her career on stage and in theatre, Australian actress Helen Thomson decided to change careers in recent years – and her move to television and film has paid off.

She is not only a fan favorite of the BINGE original series Colin from Accountingbut she also celebrated international success with her role in the Hollywood blockbuster, Elviswho plays the musician’s mother, Gladys Presley, in the film biography.

“It’s kind of weird because I was never really known for film and television. I had my success in many ways on stage and in leading roles at a Sydney Theatre Company and places like that,” she tells news.com.au while filming for season 2 of Colin from Accountingnow streaming on BINGE.

“In some ways, my career is moving a lot more towards television and film, and I think what happens and what’s nice about being around for a long time is that people respect my abilities. I think you improve as you get older.”

Her participation in the biopic directed by Baz Luhrmann earned Thomson her first ever invitation to the Oscars in LA last year. And the occasion was all the more beautiful knowing that the role of Gladys was originally intended for Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Stream Colin From Accounts on BINGE, available on Hubbl.

“Covid came and everything was postponed, and then Maggie couldn’t do it anymore. She had to shoot a film with Olivia Coleman, so Baz had to look around,” Thompson tells us.

“I auditioned the first time and I think he went back to the auditions he really liked… and I got the job.

“It was an extraordinary experience. Last year I was able to go to the Oscars. We were nominated for best picture and it was just overwhelming.”

Another first for Thomson was attending the Logie Awards last year for Colin From Accounts. The surprise comedy hit won three awards that night: Outstanding Comedy Programme, Outstanding Actor and Outstanding Actress for its stars Patrick Brammall and Harriet Dyer, a real-life married couple who also created and wrote the series.

The show follows strangers Gordon (Brammall) and Ashley (Dyer), whose lives literally collide after she shows him her nipple while driving and he hits a dog with his car. There are all sorts of funny scenes, with Thomson providing additional laughs as Lynelle, Ashley’s mother.

“The first award at the Logies was for most outstanding comedy programme and it went to Colin From Accounts. So we got up and performed on stage at the first awards ceremony,” Thomson recalls. “And then of course Patrick and Harriet won individual awards too.”

“So we took loads of selfies with the Logies and joked that our table would probably collapse under the weight of the Logies.”

At the Gotham Awards on June 4 in New York Colin from Accounting received two more awards: “Breakthrough Comedy Series” and “Outstanding Performance in a Comedy Series” for Dyer, who beat Kristen Wiig in her category.

And it looks like there are many more awards to come. With the show currently airing in the UK and the US, there is even talk that it could receive an Emmy in the future.

“It’s not often you get to say you have a hit and this one surprised us all,” says Thomson. “Not because we didn’t know it was going to be good, but you can never guarantee that something will be a hit and that’s the other beauty of it.”

“I thought the writing was so good on paper. They were funny and the characters were great,” she adds. “But I think when you do something like that, you have to keep your expectations low. You just want to do as good a job as you can and then hope that when it comes out into the world, people can relate to it or enjoy it in some way. And then it just had this kind of snowball effect because it was so popular.”

And she attributes it all to Brammall and Dyer, two comedic geniuses who nailed the tone of the show through the dialogue.

“They’re always acting out an idea and they’re very quick-witted and clever, so they’ve just managed to bring that into the dialogue,” says Thomson. “In a way, they stick absolutely to the script and the plot, but within that they’re always experimenting and trying things out or just improvising a little conversation. If it’s gold, they keep it.”

Thomson says this improvisation allowed the other actors to collaborate and make suggestions during filming, which helped them all be successful.

“The actors feel like their contribution is valued, and that’s a really beautiful gift that Patrick and Harriet have given the cast,” she says. “Everyone is included and every contribution is valued.”

And the success on the small screen continues for Thomson, who will star in another drama commissioned by BINGE. The last anniversarywhich is produced by Nicole Kidman.

“I think at some point she could have played the lead role in it and maybe it would have been something completely different because she’s such a big star. But it’s another Liane Moriarty novel – oh, I love her novels – that’s being made into a TV series,” says Thomson.

“We filmed in and around Sydney. It’s set in the Hawkesbury and it’s going to be fantastic. Moriarty writes very well for women and particularly for family stories and there’s a secret within the family here that takes us on some exciting twists and turns. So it’s quite wonderful.”

“Colin From Accounts” is now streaming on BINGE, available on Hubbl, Showcase and On Demand.

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