IN ALL the craziness associated with living and working in Hollywood, one aspiring starlet’s thoughts often turn to Tamworth, the city of her birth.
Motion-capture actress Dani Swan, who lived in Tamworth with her parents until the age of eight, has been cast as the lead role in sci-fi thriller, Cerulean, by renowned visual artist and director, Tani Kunitake (Matrix, Man of Steel, Final Fantasy, Star Wars: Episode 8).
She’d not long finished filming two episodes for Caribbean’s Next Top Model Cycle 2 as guest judge and mentor on movement and industry advice, when she received word of her starring role.
Dani said her grandmother, who is her “best mate”, still lives in Tamworth, so she pops back every chance she gets.
“I remember leaving Tamworth Public School and sneaking up to my Nanna Swan’s house and having Tim Tam biscuits,” Dani said.
“She lived just opposite Calrossy Girls’ School.
“Then I would walk over to my Nanna Morris’s house in Macquarie St and pretend I hadn’t had anything, so we would sit and watch Rugrats until my mum finished work.
“All my family were born and raised in Tamworth – both mum and dad’s families for generations back.”
Dani said her parents’ love story began when her mum worked at OPSM and dad would come into the store after sport in his short shorts, showing off his legs, trying to get her attention.
“My dad played baseball and cricket in Tamworth,” she said.
“I still have clippings of him bowling a fast ball and on the field with the Tamworth Tudors in a frame here with me in Hollywood.”
Dani was born at Tamworth hospital and the family moved from North St to Back Kootingal Rd, then to Johnston St, before her father got a promotion and the family moved to Newcastle.
“The biggest thing I remember from my childhood would be attending Karen Scott’s School of Dance,” Dani said.
“That is where this passion – my love – my career – began, when I was just four years old putting on my first pair of jazz shoes.”
She made a quick trip home to Tamworth this year to catch up with the family, but it had been quite a while since she’d seen her old home town.
“I was so impressed by all the changes on Peel St – and the Big Golden Guitar looks so much smaller now,” she said.
“When things started happening in my career, my mum and nan always told me to remember I’m a proud, Tamworth-born, country girl at heart – and that my family would always be proud of me, too.
“To this day, in the craziness of Hollywood, I have so much appreciation for being brought up by such grounded, beautiful, country souls that it helps me keep my feet on the ground.”
Before leaving Australia, Dani graduated from Screenwise, the Sydney Academy of Film and TV, and studied with Australian icon Tony Bonner.
She then trained in aerial arts and movement at the Cirque School in Hollywood and in performance motion capture at the ROM School, Hollywood, with Julienne Renee (Avatar, Beowulf) and Marc Morriseau (Resident Evil, Planet of The Apes).
Pre-production is now under way in Hollywood for Cerulean.