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Shalom Brune-Franklin is an actor on the rise, proving herself in a slew of TV dramas, from the madly suspenseful Roadkill to the addictive Line of Duty and, most recently, the darkly comedic The Tourist. Oh yeah, she gives good edge of the seat.

Done and dusted. The Chanel jackets, the dresses and the bags are packed away for now, and Brune-Franklin is playing the part of herself. Tender-hearted and generous (she describes herself as “a laugh… Funny. Joyful.”), she tells me how happy she is to be back in London after a long stint filming in Australia. “Before everything started to get a bit scary with this Covid variant, I was loving being back in the big city where there’s loads of theatre going on. There’s a different thing happening every night. It just feels nice to be back in that buzz again.” The actor had been in the outback shooting The Tourist, a mystery thriller for the BBC about a man (Jamie Dornan) who wakes up with amnesia in an Australian hospital. The magnificence of those big skies “played its own part in a sense,” she says. “[The landscape] became its own character in the series because it makes The Man feel so much more isolated. Ben Wheeler, the DOP, did such a great job, [with] his shots of those giant landscapes.” She was thrilled to be cast in the show, as it meant a ticket home and time to see her family: the actor’s parents still live in Perth, Western Australia, where they emigrated from the UK when Brune-Franklin was 15.

“Leaving the UK was both exciting and sad,” she says. “It was sad to leave our family for the other side of the world, but the excitement of the move and what lay ahead was also really present. When I got to Australia, the timing was a little awkward. I attended the final two days of school before the summer holidays, I remember that feeling very isolating. A big summer holiday and not having enough time to have made any friends. If anything, it made my family much closer. Especially my brother and I. We were each other’s only friend that summer.”

“Perth was such a drastic change, and an amazing one,” Brune-Franklin continues. “Living in a different climate, and with the beach so close by, was a completely different way of life. But it took years to feel like any of us could call Australia home – it’s a lot of work to emigrate to another country. That hard work and sacrifice my parents made to establish us as a family in a new place they had no connection to is something I am eternally grateful for. It was testing, scary and difficult, but ultimately so rewarding and the best thing we ever did.”

Filming The Tourist meant Brune-Franklin’s first visit to South Australia, which, she says, “was amazing – it felt quite mysterious – and working in the Flinders Ranges was pretty magical.” Filming in the outback lasted for five months. “We got there at the beginning of March 2021 and left around August,” she says. “For a lot of people that was the longest show they’d ever done. They were like, ‘This feels like a slog.’ But the sunrises and the sunsets were incredible. Out there the sky feels bigger than any other place I’ve ever been. It is incredibly isolating but there’s something really magical about that. I remember we could see the Milky Way at night when we were leaving the set. It was beautiful and a little bit eerie because it’s such a desolate place.”

It is perhaps Brune-Franklin’s distinctly British brand of self-deprecating humour mixed with Aussie optimism and openness that helped land her a place at the prestigious Western Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in Perth. She won a scholarship created by Hugh Jackman (a WAAPA alumnus) established to reward the ‘most outstanding performer’ there each year and was further recognised as one of 10 rising stars by the Casting Guild of Australia.

Brune-Franklin has worked with some solid actors since graduating and, in an interview with 1883 magazine, she described Roadkill, the political thriller written by David Hare, as “Hugh. Fucking. Laurie.” How would she describe The Tourist? “Oh my god, no! I should probably say… Jamie. Fucking. Dornan, shouldn’t I?” she says with a laugh. “Working with him was amazing. We were just having a laugh. Every single day going to work was fun and that’s the most important thing. Especially when you’re out there in those conditions, you want to be around people you enjoy working with.” Her MO on set is all about “wanting to keep things light. I don’t want to take things too seriously. An energy for life.”

Learning, too, is important for Brune-Franklin. “You learn from everyone around you on set. The more I’m growing up, the more I’m getting a sense of confidence,” says the 27-year-old. “Other older women I’ve spoken to talk about that happening in your late twenties; [that as] you step into womanhood [you] care less about what others think. There’s a confidence that grows within you. I’m noticing that informing my work and a freedom on set.”

Her first break was playing Aoife in the Australian series Doctor Doctor, created by Tony McNamara (Hulu’s The Great). “[Tony] gave me my first proper job and what amazing hands to end up in straight out of drama school!” says Brune-Franklin, who found out she’d got the part just before graduating. “I had no idea the kind of company I was landing in and it’s only when I look back now that I really appreciate the incredible people who nurtured and mentored me at the beginning.”

Brune-Franklin says the most fun she’s had on set was making Cursed, which she describes as a “giant 11-month shoot for this Netflix medieval-fairy-ethereal-fantastical drama. It was loads of fun riding horses and playing with prop swords all day, but in terms of the actual work, Roadkill and The Tourist are two jobs where I feel like I found a lot within myself and my own work.” Though she’s not allowed to talk about her next job yet, she does say that “it’s something really different to anything I’ve done before. In a way it feels like I will be going back to a more theatrical background.”

The friendships Brune-Franklin has made over the past two years have seen her through the hardest of times. “The little bubbles that we had to isolate with [during lockdown], when we were going straight from set to home, feel like such a gift out of this pandemic,” says the actor, who is also thankful for the “grounding” family time she got to experience while working on The Tourist. As her star rises, it’s her parents that keep her real. “We don’t talk about my work. They’re not too blown away by it. Mum is the fierce critic and the loving embrace, and my dad is just great.” She’s happiest at home, “reading, having quiet time. I always feel the most myself when I’m in a dressing gown with a cup of tea and a book.”

Taken from Issue 19 of 10 Magazine Australia – FUTURE, BALANCE, HEALING – out NOW.



Photographer ADAMA JALLOH
Hair EARL SIMMS at Caren using Hair by Sam McKnight
Make-up NAOKO SCINTU at The Wall Group using La Pausa de Chanel and Chanel Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream
Nail technician CHISATO YAMAMOTO at Caren using Chanel Le Vernis in Rouge Noir and Chanel La Crème Main
Photographer’s assistants GENOVEVA ARTEAGA-RYNN and DESTINIE PAIGE
Hair assistant ROY HAYWARD
Production assistant MO GUIMARAES