The ‘See’ actor returns to Sydney with an initiative for more Middle Eastern / North African representation in film and television

Mojean Aria. Photo by Kane Skennar.

Coming off successful roles in the Apple+ sci-fi drama See and SBS crime thriller Dead Lucky, Mojean Aria returned from his professional base in the U.S. to his hometown of Sydney with another film under his belt (the upcoming Reminiscence with Hugh Jackman) and a thriving career.

That’s when The Australian Institute for Performing Arts called. They asked Aria, 28, to teach a multi-day masterclass at the place where he and peers Eliza Scanlen, Danielle Macdonald and Liv Hewson…


The author gives old bones a new voice in Mammoth

Author Chris Flynn. Photo by Georgia Butterfield.

Difficult accents, (very) unreliable narrators, dark humour and shifting perspectives abound in Chris Flynn’s first novel, A Tiger in Eden (2012), which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize, and The Glass Kingdom (2014). Both were contemporary, evocative tales of men escaping — and trapped — by their past experiences with violence.

Those elements also feature in Flynn’s latest novel, Mammoth, an account of history and climate change as told by a 13,000-year-old fossil awaiting the sale of his remains. …


Singer-songwriter Nick Van Eede on nostalgia tours, pop references and revisiting hits with a new album

Nick Van Eede of Cutting Crew. Photo courtesy of August Day Recordings.

Isolating cozily in his old farm house near Hastings, England, Nick Van Eede watches the news, pours a fine spirit (or two) and has a good chuckle about idiosyncratic behavior in a pandemic age.

An elderly neighbor has just returned home from the hospital, recovering from the coronavirus. Yet coming up the driveway they share, “His social distancing disciplines were a little bit tricky,” Van Eede concedes. “He walks up and goes, ‘Here I am! Give me a hug!’

“And you’re like, ‘OK, but not OK!’” he adds with a laugh. “We love you, but just back, back away!”

Not…


After three months, two-time player Phillip “The Specialist” Sheppard bests COVID-19 and talks about experience

Phillip Sheppard on Survivor: Caramoan. Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS.

During two memorable turns on Survivor — 2011’s Redemption Island, where he finished second to “Boston Rob” Mariano, and 2013’s Caramoan — former federal agent Phillip Sheppard formed his “Stealth R Us” alliance to maneuver through the game.

Taking a page out of his own book, Sheppard is now calling upon his inner drive and “Health R Us,” a team of doctors, family and friends, to help him battle back from the debilitating effects of the coronavirus.

“I think many people think it’s like the…


a-ha. From left: Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen

The song comes on and you picture the story immediately, a hand reaching out of a comic book to a lonely girl in a diner, beckoning her to join him in an animated fantasy land complete with a real-world mirror.

Or, the video comes on and you nod in time with the beat, getting ready to play air keyboards and, when the chorus reaches its crescendo, belt out the highest note, whatever your actual vocal range.

Either way, you smile.

Such has been the legacy of a-ha’s 1985 global hit “Take On Me” and the iconic film clip created for…

Cynthia Wang

Pop culture writing, entertainment reporting, panda gazing, Sydney living. Veteran editor at TV Week, Who, and People. Cherub instructor always.

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