Like fellow actors Nicole Kidman and
Russell Crowe, lovely NAOMI WATTS got her start in Australia,
and fondly recalls her days down under.
It was something of a culture shock," Hollywood It Girl Naomi Watts
says of her move at age 14 from gray, proper Sussex, England, to
sunny, anything-goes Sydney, Australia. "All these beaches and
beach cultures, and the kids were very different - free-spirited
and a bit mischievous - from where I had been going to school. It
was very liberating."
Gone were her proper British boarding school aspirations and
predictable life. She modeled, became an assistant at a Sydney
fashion magazine, and went to auditions, where she met actors like
Nicole Kidman and Thandie Newton; the three would eventually appear
together in an Australian film called Flirting. In the early '90s,
she took another leap, moving, with nebulous contacts and no
guarantee of work, from Sydney to L.A., taking with her the strong
work ethic shared by her fellow Aussie actors.
"There's a sense of needing to survive," Watts says. "We're not
afraid to get our hands dirty and work hard. You know, we're the
underdog. I suppose everyone who comes out of Australia has this
same work ethic and is there for the right reasons." The budding
actress was soon winning bit parts in movies and roles on American
TV, but it wasn't until she shook the scenery in David Lynch's dark
2001 film Mulholland Dr. that Watts gained major recognition. And
her star hasn't stopped rising since. She won an Oscar nod for her
performance in 21 Grams, one of her multitude of recent
high-profile, A-list films. This month, Watts reprises her 2002
role as investigative reporter Rachel Keller in The Ring Two, the
eagerly anticipated sequel to the popular big-budget horror film.
But before she hit the red carpet at the première, she sat down
with us and reminisced about the place where it all began.