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She’s played a witch, a mermaid, a werewolf and various other characters throughout her career and now Phoebe Tonkin has taken on perhaps her most dynamic role yet with Stan Original Series Bloom.

A few months back, I was lucky enough to fly to Clunes, a stunning small town in outback Victoria, to visit the set of the highly anticipated drama series.

During my visit, I sat down with Tonkin to discuss the show and her character, Gwen.

“There are three versions of Gwen: there’s Gwen in the past, then there’s Gwen who Jacki Weaver‘s playing which is Gwen when she’s suffering from alzheimer’s and the Gwen that I play is a sort of rejuvenated version of her who’s compelled and possessed by this great regret that she had in her life which is that she never had a baby,” she said.

“And that’s been really fun to play with. She is still herself but she has this drive in her that’s making her make these choices that probably weren’t the choices she would have made back in the day.”

I then asked her if there were aspects of her character’s personality that she related to and she admitted that she poetically shares Gwen’s same regret.

“I mean, I want a baby one day. That’s one similarity,” she says with a laugh.

“Obviously she’s an actress and was a successful actress when she was younger and made a lot of sacrifices including that she never had a child for her career and as an actress myself I can relate to making sacrifices for my career which I’ve definitely done in the last few years of working so that’s probably the biggest thing that I relate to.”

Phoebe Tonkin and Ryan Corr are two of Australia’s most recognisable young stars. Both getting their start on children’s television, the pair certainly made an impact once they moved on to adult roles, with Tonkin appearing in The Vampire Diaries’ spin-off The Originals, and Corr capturing our hearts in movies like Holding the Man. As familiar as they have become, we can promise you Stan’s upcoming Bloom will showcase the actors like you have never seen either of them before.

Bloom centres around a country town that sees the arrival of a mysterious and extraordinary plant that, when ingested, allows someone the power to restore their youth. Cue Tonkin and Corr, who both portray the transformed younger versions of people who have become despondent in their current form. In Tonkin’s character’s case, Gwen is a woman suffering from the effects of Alzheimer’s in her older age, while Corr’s Sam attempts to use his restored youth to try to outrun his troubled past.

As far-fetched as the show may sound, Tonkin explains how genuine it truly is.

“It’s a really unique idea, but at the same time it’s really simple, and it poses a lot of interesting philosophical questions as well. These shows are always more interesting when they’re a metaphor for something, as opposed to just being literal sci-fi. It’s much more grounded sci-fi,” she told POPSUGAR Australia.

Corr concurs, saying it was clear from the get-go the show wasn’t “another kitchen sink drama.” This notion is exemplified in Corr’s Sam, whose hedonistic lifestyle involves outrageously running from the law at almost every turn. Corr told POPSUGAR Australia that although Sam might not be a character he’d immediately relate to, all characters must “come from you somewhere.”

“Playing any character involves both dialing up and dialing down different elements of yourself and your own life experience,” he said. “I knew Sam had to be wired, and that there had to be something untrustworthy and edgy about him. It was a pretty broad field to be playing within, but I think what made him so fun to play was that there were no rules.”

As different as their characters may be in personality, both Corr and Tonkin had to channel their maturity into portraying people who are mentally over forty years older than them. Corr explained it was just as much up to Jacki Weaver and Rod Mulliner, who play older Gwen and Sam respectively, to match their mannerisms as it was him and Tonkin to match their’s.

“The nature of TV sometimes means there’s not a huge rehearsal process, but Rod and I were able to sit down for an hour and agree on where we could meet vocally and what mannerisms we could both carry though,” he said, “in Phoebe’s case as well, you’ll notice Jacki actually matched where Phoebe’s voice sits, and production matched her appearance to Phoebe’s…it’s all very cool.”

This dedication to detail is one of several things the pair say Australia’s entertainment industry matches America’s on, having both worked in the US. “There really isn’t a huge difference [between the two industries], Ryan and I have both been fortunate to work on really high-end Australian projects,” says Tonkin, “there was still the same amount of energy, time and talent…the only difference is the food on set!” she laughs. “In Australia we got cordial, in America you get more food than you’ve ever seen in your entire life!”

Despite the difference in catering, Corr says American actors seek opportunities in Australia due to the heightened work ethic. “[Americans] notice there’s something about Australians where we’re really used to getting it done fast. We don’t have these stupid budgets, we’ve got it get it done, and we’ve got to get it done quick, but we’ve still got it get it done to quality. That creates a work ethic and a drive that’s palpable among everyone.” “Yeah” Tonkin agrees, “the crew are so present and hardworking, and it’s all very Australian. It’s like ‘get dirty, get into it!'”

When asked the number one thing audiences should know before the show starts airing on January 1, Tonkin said it is that they will need to be “open-minded.”

“Be open to how wild it gets, in a great way! I think we really pushed the envelope on this show, and it alternates between being really quite funny, and really quite dark. It’s a roller coaster of a show.”


Australian actress Phoebe Tonkin has garnered an unrivaled international fan-following by playing everything from a mermaid, to a werewolf and even an ELLE Australia cover girl.

But Tonkin is wrapping up 2018 with possibly her most fascinating role yet, as Gwen Reed on Stan’s original series, Bloom.

Described as a gothic fairy tale, the six-part series ventures into questions surrounding the pursuit of eternal youth and the fragility of life.

Bloom first introduces Gwen as an ailing, frail elder played by Australian screen legend Jackie Weaver, before she is bestowed with a “miracle” fruit, that reinstates her youthful self, played by Tonkin.

Ahead of the show’s premiere on January 1st, we sat down with the Chanel face and got her to address some of the most-Googled terms surrounding her name.

That’s the number one search? Can I say no comment?

No…diet’s an ugly word.

We’ve known each other for a long time. She’s a power house. She is so inspiring; not just her work ethic and how she’s obviously so talented, but through the years has truly been a real champion for getting [actors and actresses] together. She loves having barbeques and stuff, she’s just so cool.

I remember hearing that Heath Ledger, as he started getting more successful, he was really inclusive and made sure that everyone felt part of the community and I would say she’s taken that baton a little bit. She really surrounds herself with really great, inspiring, creative people from all facets of life with all different careers and puts them all together. I think that’s really admirable.

Yeah I would love that! I think my dream for the next few years is just to work with people who I look up to, whether that’s actors, directors to writers and that sort of started for the last few years. I was just trying to find projects that really spoke to me and that I kind of really wanted to sink my teeth into.

I was only on that for a few episodes, because obviously then I went and did The Originals for five years. I mean yeah, it was great. That was sort of my home and family for six years of my life and I lived in Atlanta… I loved Atlanta. I love the south, I love Southern American states. I just loved living there. But yeah it was great, it was an amazing experience. I made amazing friends and I learnt a lot, but I was excited to explore other opportunities after that.


‘Bloom’ causes you to think about the scarcity of time, the fragility of life and the decisions that define us

Life is arbitrary; it could be fleeting, it could be extraordinary, it could be riddled with pain. But however the cards are dealt, it should always be meaningful. Stan will drop it’s highly-anticipated mystery drama Bloom on New Year’s Day, a six-part television series that will have you pondering your present and question if you are living your fullest life.

When a freak flood annihilates a small Australian country town – and kills five residents – it leaves behind a super plant which, if ingested, has the power to temporarily restore your youth. This means those who take it have the opportunity to right a wrong, to fix a regret or to keep a loved one alive. But what it can also do is change the course of life forever.

Ray (played by acting legend Bryan Brown) is a retired astronomer who is taking care of his actress wife Gwen (played by Academy Award nominee Jacki Weaver) whose memory has been ravaged due to early on-set Alzheimer’s disease. When Ray comes across the super drug, he has a chance of saving Gwen and gives her the plant bulb to swallow. When she wakes up, she is her young self (played by Phoebe Tonkin) but she’s driven to rehash things with an old flame, Max, a farmer who lost all his cattle in the flood and never stopped loving her. Will this impulse tear her and Ray apart? On the other side of town is Sam (played by Ryan Corr). He’s wild, brash and fancy-free. And with that, he comes across a young Gwen.

If you had a second chance to go back, what would you do? We sat down with Tonkin and Corr in Sydney and put that very question to them.


For those who did not get a chance to listen, the show is available in podcast form on iTunes.

• The first time Phoebe saw the finished production of Bloom was at the recent premiere.
• The talk of nudity and modesty patches came up in the interview (the first scene features Ryan Corr running naked down the street), and Phoebe mentions that in the past she’s used pillows as the barrier/cover during love scenes along with modesty patches.
• Due to the nature of filming the show, there wasn’t much time for rehearsals. When Jacki Weaver flew in, Phoebe had already been filming for 2-3 weeks.