Eliza Scanlen landed a role opposite Amy Adams in the TV series Sharp Objects.
Eliza Scanlen landed a role opposite Amy Adams in the TV series Sharp Objects. Rebecca Hitch

Scene stealer's journey from Summer Bay to Missouri

TWO girls are dead, the police have no clue who the murderer is and the rural community is simmering with gossip, secrets and family dysfunction.

Eliza Scanlen is not in Summer Bay anymore.

The Australian actor has swapped the Australian beachside sets she started her career on as Tabitha Ford in Home and Away for the fictional town of Wind Gap, Missouri in Sharp Objects.

The dark drama, based on the Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) novel of the same name, tells the story of reporter Camille Preaker (Amy Adams), fresh from a stint in a psychiatric hospital, who is sent back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

It's also a story of three complex women - Camille, her mother Adora (Patricia Clarkson) and half-sister Amma (Scanlen) - and the tumultuous relationship they share.

Henry Czerny, Eliza Scanlen, Patricia Clarkson and Amy Adams in a scene from Sharp Objects.
Henry Czerny, Eliza Scanlen, Patricia Clarkson and Amy Adams in a scene from Sharp Objects. Supplied

Scanlen says it was an honour to work alongside her on-screen family.

"Amy and Patricia in particular were my mentors, they were my rock throughout my time on the show," she tells The Guide.

"They really taught me the basics of the industry and led a great example for me and gave me a lot of great advice that I will take on for the rest of my career."

Scanlen says despite the show's dark content, the cast helped keep the mood light-hearted on set during the five months of filming.

Amy Adams in a scene from Sharp Objects.
Amy Adams in a scene from Sharp Objects. Supplied

"There were definitely some scenes that I left feeling a bit shaken and I think most of the scenes I came out of feeling just totally exhausted, emotionally and physically," she says.

"For me that was a sign that I'd done the right thing and I'd done my job."

Her job involved bringing a complex character to life.

"She has a dual personality - at home she's quite docile and demure and she's constantly living up to her mother's expectations, and when she's outside of home she's quite the opposite," Scanlen says.

"She's the rebellious teen who likes to live life on the wild side.

"She's a very dynamic character. She's on the brink of womanhood, and is trying to work out her place in the world."

Eliza Scanlen in a scene from the TV series Sharp Objects.
Eliza Scanlen in a scene from the TV series Sharp Objects. Supplied

Scanlen, who has been praised by her co-stars, labelled a "scene stealer" by Entertainment Weekly, and dubbed one of television's 10 rising stars by The Hollywood Reporter for the role is modest about her success.

"I'm so flattered by the compliments and the praise that has come my way and I almost feel undeserving of it because acting and making TV and film is such a collaboration," she says.

The 19-year-old Sydney actor also gives credit to her Summer Bay start.

"I think Home and Away is really good for actors, especially actors starting out. It teaches you a lot of the basics of filmmaking - I didn't know what standing on your mark meant when I started."

Sharp Objects airs Mondays at 11am and 8.30pm on Foxtel's Showcase channel.


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