Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) has given the film and TV world such globally recognized talents as Cate Blanchett, Mel Gibson, Sam Worthington, and Hugo Weaving. Having received his training at the same institution, Luca James Lee is well aware of the prestigious path he is travelling paved by his fellow Australian actors. He’s both humbled by their body or work and enthusiastic to traverse it himself, following them to collaborate with Hollywood’s leading talent. Very much the modern template for an actor, Luca has immersed himself in stage, television, film, and voice acting. He’s quick to note that all these avenues come with their unique demands and the opportunity for him to test the talent he honed early in his career starring in such classics as “The Seagull” from Anton Chekhov, “Romeo & Juliet” by William Shakespeare, and German Expressionist playwright Falk Richter’s Australian premiere of “Electronic City.” Even on the lighter toned ABC comedy/drama The Bold Type, there’s an element of depth that Luca James Lee brings to every production he is a part of. It’s this subdermal charisma which has made this young Australian actor quickly become one of the most exciting of his generation.
Versatility, even within a single vocation, is the pathway to arriving at the extraordinary. For director Barrie Kosky’s epic “The Lost Echo”, Luca rounded out a cast which included John Gaden (of BAFTA Nominated Muriel’s Wedding), Paul Capsis, Pamela Rabe (of Logie Award Winning Series Wentworth), and Peter Carroll (of the Golden Globe Nominated Film Crazy Rich Asians). Presented at Australia’s most prestigious theater institution, the Sydney Theatre Company, “The Lost Echo” was heralded by critics and across Australian media outlets as a triumphant creative achievement. Luca’s performance in this mixture of Greek & Roman mythology was an early spark in his career which gained him national notoriety. This was quickly followed by his starring role opposite Logie Nominee Laura Brent (of the Golden Globes Nominated The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) in the drama An Excerpt From South Solitary. Not complacent in the stage and film attention he was receiving, Luca took on the duties for the ABC2/ABC TV Plus Television Stations. As the sole lead male voice actor for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ABC2 channel, Luca’s voice became a touchpoint for the networks weekly 4.4 million viewers.
It was only a matter of time until Luca James Lee made the transition to international actor. When an offer came in to read for the new love interest of the main character on the American comedy-drama television series The Bold Type, Luca auditioned and was immediately tagged for the role. Produced by Universal Television for Freeform, The Bold Type focuses on the lives of a trio of professionals behind the fictional women’s magazine Scarlett. Luca appears in season two of this popular TV series as Dr. Ben, a handsome and charity minded OBGYN who is guided by his quiet and personal sense of faith. The romantic focal point of Jane Sloan (played by rising star Katie Stevens), Dr. Ben was an instant favorite with fans of the show. Luca eagerly admits that joining the cast of The Bold Type was an opportunity to cross over to working on American productions and present a modern version of the male heartthrob, one with flaws and vulnerability. Collaborating with a team that included Showrunner Amanda Lasher (producer of Gossip Girl), Producer/Director Victor Nelli (of Primetime Emmy Winning Series Brooklyn Nine-Nine & Superstore) and acclaimed actors such as Melora Hardin (Primetime Emmy Winning Series The Office, Falling Skies, Scandal), Katie Stevens (Primetime Emmy Winning Series American Idol), and Meghann Fahy (Primetime Emmy Winning Series The Good Wife) certainly appealed to Luca as an actor who professes, “I have to say that working on The Bold Type was such a sweet experience and pretty surreal. Flying into Montreal for the first time was magical. It’s a really beautiful city with amazing people, food, and culture. Getting to meet and become friends with incredible actors like Katie Stevens, Meghann Fahy, and Aisha Dee while working with such talented directors as Anna Mastro (Showtime’s Shameless) and Jamie Travis (Showtime’s Yellowjackets) is something that I am so grateful for. Everyone involved was so dedicated to making the show as great as it could be and it really was an honor to be a part of it.”
Actors are driven by a creative spirit which attaches them to countless hours of preparation for often mere minutes of performance. Someone like Luca James Lee pursues this craft because it is beyond him to rebuke it, not that he’d want to. In conversation, he continually points out the merits of all the avenues afforded a consummate actor like himself in present times and how this reinforces his completeness as a professional. Luca imparts, “There are definitely differences between the mediums but at the end of the day, I think belief in the work and commitment to what you are doing is essential whether it is on stage, in a voice over booth, or on set. Some of the voice over work that I’ve done really requires you to stretch and play larger than you would in a close-up for film but if you don’t go there, you aren’t servicing the job at hand. I love all of it and I think the subtle, technical detail of adapting to each medium is something I love the challenge of.”
Writer: Luigi Paglia