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:: Spotlight :: Young Australian star shines in Britney Spears biopic

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Australian-born actress Claire Cohen proves a skilled actress in the Lifetime pop star biopic, Britney Ever After, which premiered recently. The film chronicles the life and career of singer Britney Spears, from humble beginnings on the Mickey Mouse Club to mega stardom, a heavily publicised fall from grace, and a monumental comeback. Claire steps into the storyline as an Assistant to Spears, during some of the superstar’s tumultuous times.

Claire was excited to be part of the project, especially working alongside another Australian actress Natasha Bassett, who stars as Spears. She added, “I have so much love for Britney. I grew up dancing to her music…‘Baby One More Time’ was one of my first CDs.”

Currently based in Vancouver, Canada, this vivacious red headed actress is emerging a true talent. Claire recently gained attention for her starring role in the black comedy indie Skid Row Love, about a young couple who love each other, but love heroin even more. She was also proud to appear in the Webby Award-winning video short, The Riddle, from the UN Human Rights office in support of global LGBTQ rights. Claire first got her start on television in Australia, recurring as the annoying first-year student ‘Hazel’ on Nickelodeon’s hit-series, Dance Academy.

Claire has studied at some of the most respected acting schools in the world, including Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, where she was granted a merit scholarship.

In the near future, Claire stars in the dramatic indie short ATALANTA, produced by Verhagen Entertainment. The film looks into a moment in time on the journey of two young orphaned girls as they search for their mother and what it really means to be family.

Here is our short interview with Claire.

Q. Tell us about growing up as an Australian and what your interest were? How did you end up pursuing acting?

A. I grew up in Sydney in Pymble. I loved everything! I was very into music and there was a point where I was singing in choirs and performing in orchestras playing the violin, french horn, piano, organ and flute so I was always very busy. I fell in love with acting at 14 and my first public performance was Kate from Taming of the Shrew for a Shakespeare festival and my scene partner and I ended up winning so that was very exciting!

Q. Did the overseas acting schools meet your expectations?

A. I have such a thirst for knowledge of other cultures and techniques and was so eager to pursue different methods and pedagogy. I had a wonderful time learning and meeting some amazing people who I still am lucky enough to call friends.

Q. What was your first break into acting?

A. My second ever audition was for Dance Academy playing Hazel which I was blessed enough to book at 16. Being on the show was my first time ever on set and I was so incredibly nervous! Everyone on the show was so awesome and helped make it easy to learn how everything worked.

Q. Gaining a role in Britney Ever After is a major step forward. How did it come about?

A. I went to an audition for a film titled ‘Popstar’. It wasn't until I booked it that I found out that it was the biopic about Britney Spears.

Q. Had you been a fan of Britney Spears before the role came along?

A. Of course! I grew up dancing to her music. She has established herself as a global icon and growing up in Australia I would've never dreamed that I would get to be a part of a movie about her life.

Q. Did this story, and your involvement in it, change any opinion you had of her?

A. My admiration for her only grew. She is an amazing artist who has achieved so much in her lifetime and has done so from a very young age. I have nothing but respect for her.

Q. There is another Australian actress Natasha Bassett who scored the actual role of Britney. How did you both get along?

A. She is great; it was so nice to work alongside a fellow Aussie halfway across the world!

Q. Did you get to meet Britney Spears? If so, any impressions?

A. No, but hopefully one day!

Q. Where have you based yourself?

A. Right now my work has led me to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Q. What does your immediate future hold?

A. I have a film ‘Atalanta’ produced by Verhagen Entertainment coming out later this year that I am very excited for. I would love to be able to continue to work with other Aussie actors all over the world - from Hugh Jackman to Nicole Kidman we are so lucky to have so much talent in the industry!

Britney Ever After is a film made for Lifetime TV. It has screened in the US and UK.

The trailer can be viewed here