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.
Cody Fern, 25, beat out runners-up Charlotte Best and Axle Whitehead for the $20,000 prize.
Western Australian actor Cody Fern was named the Australians In Film Heath Ledger Scholarship winner for 2014 at a celebratory dinner in Los Angeles on Thursday that was hosted by musician, actor and director, Tim Minchin.
The 25-year old, best known for his role as Albert in the Australian version of the National Theatre of Great Britain production of War Horse, has secured the $20,000 prize against stiff competition from another 19 young Australian actors, with Australian Idol alum and Home and Away star Axle Whitehead and Charlotte Best named as runners-up.
Fern says that thanks to the award, he is now able to fast-track his plans to relocate to Los Angeles, where he is already in discussions for several projects.
“I’ve always had plans to come to Los Angeles; now it’s a reality and will happen a lot sooner,” Fern told The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s some exciting projects going on, it’s looking bright and the award makes it all possible,” he added.
HE GREW up in a tiny Outback town and did not set foot on a stage until three years go.
Now, at 24, Cody Fern has been cast in the coveted lead role for the Australian run of international stage sensation War Horse.
It goes without saying that he’s thrilled to have landed a dream role, but despite his isolated upbringing, Fern’s path into it has been anything except accidental.
He has twice sold everything he owns, turned down a lucrative corporate career offer and followed his gut feeling into total uncertainty.
This year, he arrived in Sydney from Western Australia without a job, a home or a friend in sight to blindly pursue what he believes he was born to do: act.
“I’ve known since I was about six that I wanted to be an actor, but I grew up in a very small country town and it was just not something that was possible,” Fern says.