From a small mining town in Australia to the American stage, Australian-born Cody Fern has taken many routes during his pursuit to strengthen and further his acting skills. Now, Fern is the 2014 recipient of Australians in Film’s sixth annual Heath Ledger Scholarship, an award aimed at financially and professionally supporting actors of Australian descent. On Thursday night, Fern accepted the award, which also includes a $10,000 cash fund, a two year scholarship at Los Angeles’ Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre and mentorship from the father of the late actor Heath Ledger, at the fundraising dinner held at the SLS Hotel. Moving ahead, Fern said he looks forward to future roles he wants to pursue, outside passions and actors that have inspired him.
What does the scholarship mean to you?
It’s profoundly important as an actor and as an individual coming from Australia. It’s one thing to be supported in your career and another thing for your peers to embrace you and say we believe in you. It feels like a sense of belonging, and especially as an actor, you need those moments in your life that tells you to keep going and chasing this crazy dream you’ve had in your life.
Before acting you worked in commerce. What was the moment that showed you acting was where you true passion lied?
I’ve known since I was about 6 and, in a non-cliché way, I always knew I wanted to act. So my journey has been about finding the “why” and figuring out the reason behind it. I remember watching Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth” and feeling like for the first time – even though that time period wasn’t happening now – that I believed that role. And that’s where the genius of where it grew from.
What are you looking forward to most in LA?
It’s all a little bit crazy at the moment so I’m looking forward to a lot of things. But I’m definitely looking into feature film work and getting into that kind of realm.
I saw you’re also working on a novel. What will it be about?
Writing is one of those very personal things so I might keep that one a little bit closer until that’s published. But it’s about a teenage boy and his journey in negotiating the world of becoming a man in a very isolated town. It’s a little bit of a personal piece and it will continue to develop.
What would be your dream role?
I would want to do a role like the one Ezra Miller had in “We Need To Talk About Kevin.” That is a real juicy role. I love everything about Benedict Cumberbatch because he’s so intelligent and talented. But I also have to say my dream role would be opposite of Meryl Streep or Daniel Day-Lewis.
What was your favorite Heath Ledger role?
I remember seeing Heath Ledger in the Australian film “Candy” and that was a game changer for me. It’s just incredible. If you look at his transition from “Candy” to “Brokeback Mountain” to the Joker [in “The Dark Knight”] you can see that he was a talented individual and range he had was incredible. But “Candy” was the seminal one for me, showing me that “Wow, this guy is an artist.”