Australian actress Kate Lister got her big break with bit roles in local fare like “Last Man Standing,” “Thank God You’re Here” and “Neighbours” before heading to the UK to chase bigger fish. In the past two years the Melbourne-born thespian has snared no less than a dozen projects, including the new films “Mandy the Doll” (out in August), “7 Storeys Down” and “Indie Film.” Her most recent project, “Drive Me to the End,” is unarguably Kate’s most challenging gig – playing a young autistic woman.

On August 7, Kate discussed these films, her roles, her American breakthrough, and more via an exclusive interview.

Becoming an actress, roles, and Hollywood

Meagan Meehan (MM): What inspired you to become an actress, Kate, and how did you get your start?

Kate Lister (KL): It was a gradual thing for me, I took lots of little classes, and then I found myself in a class with a teacher (Lyndelle Green) who pushed me harder than anyone else had at the time, she opened my eyes up and made me pay attention to the psychology and responsibility in building and playing a character.

I had booked a few little guest roles on Australian TV Shows, but then I was lucky enough to book “Fox Trap” which is an English feature film that really opened my eyes to the filmmaking world and just fueled me to work harder and book more.

My first paid acting job was on “Last Man Standing” an Australian TV show – I actually at the time had no idea how hard it was to land even a guest role in Australia. I wish I had framed the check, that would have been a nice memory, but I plan on framing my first check in American dollars. Working in America on a great project is a massive dream of mine.

MM: Do you shoot most of your projects in your own country or have you started voyaging outside of it?

KL: I have been lucky enough to work in both Australia and the UK as I have passports for both countries. I would love to film in other countries, that would be awesome – hopefully, that’s something that will happen for me in the future.

MM: And now I hear you’re planning to tackle Hollywood, is that true?

KL: Yes, break the doors down and let all or friends in I say!

MM: How did the role in “Drive Me to The End” come along and what about it appealed to you?

KL: I met the Director/ Producer of Drive me to the End on a film set a couple of years back, we stayed in contact, and when he sent through the script for this I was terrified yet very excited of the opportunity. My character Sunny was so far from what I had ever played that in its self was appealing. I wanted a challenge, and I know playing someone on the autistic spectrum would definitely do that.

Characters, entertainment, and upcoming projects

MM: Can you talk about playing the character of an autistic girl?

KL: I had so much fun playing Sunny, it was extremely challenging and very tiring as I had to think in a different way while filming to what I am used to. Sunny wouldn’t react the way I would to most things, so I felt like my brain was working overtime every time the cameras were rolling. I enjoyed giving her a voice, and I am hoping that at least one person will watch the film and feel not alone at the end of it. I haven’t been told a release date yet, but I did hear it could be out sometime next year.

MM: Thus far, what do you like most about working in the entertainment industry, where do you want to be in ten years, and have you any upcoming projects that you want to discuss?

KL: The people I have met.

I have met some of my closest friends on set, and I met my boyfriend and partner in crime while studying full time acting in Melbourne. I feel so lucky to be around creative and passionate people all of the time. In ten years, I see myself filming with the likes of Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell! I have a few films in post-production, but at the moment I am just working on producing a TV show called “Murder” (well, that’s its working title). A word of advice to up-and-comers…if you want to get ahead, make your own projects and learn from them! Enjoy the long and hard work and try your hardest to make rejection your best friend.