Actors Carlos Sanson Jr. and Ben Turland, both aged 25, speak to me during breaks of their respective screen projects.
Both were recently named in the Casting Guild of Australia’s 12 Rising Stars of 2023.
They follow from previous CGA names such as Milly Alcock (House of Dragon), Eliza Scanlan (Little Women), Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why), Ayesha Madden (Heartbreak High), and Alexander England (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart), to name a few.
On Friday night at the CGA Awards they will be honoured alongside Bernie van Tiel, Costa D’Angelo, Emma Harvie, Kartanya Maynard, Natalie Abbott, Perry Mooney, Raj Labade, William Lodder, William McKenna and Nathalie Morris -who just happens to be Sanson Jr.’s co-star in Bump.
“She also found at the same time. We were both filming Bump 4 together at the time and they told us to keep it super confidential,” Sanson Jr. (pictured top right) tells TV Tonight.
“So we secretly knew that each other was on the list.”
Ben Turland (pictured top left) who played Hendrix in Neighbours, also found out several months ago.
“To be honest, I didn’t know a fair bit about it. But when I looked into the past years of rising stars it made me very thrilled,” he says.
“I’m currently working with Costa D’Angelo and Natalie Abbott on (Rebel Wilson-directed film) The Deb. and I worked with Carlos Sanson on Paper Dolls which was a lot of fun.”
Turland took up acting via an interest in dance when he was a young teenager. His credits include Love Child, Home & Away, the recent Riptide miniseries and the Australian stage production of Saturday Night Fever.
“I started as a dancer, and then I got an acting agent. I remember acting lessons with Les Chantery, I was probably 14 years old, kind of breaking through in one of my first sessions. He was very taken aback and he let me know that it was something that I should pursue. I remember sitting in the car with my mum thinking,’ I’ve just felt things that I’ve never felt before in my life’ … it was almost like a different level of consciousness,” he recalls.
L-R (Top-Bottom): Ben Turland, Bernie van Tiel, Carlos Sanson Jr, Costa D’Angelo, Emma Harvie, Kartanya Maynard, Natalie Abbott, Nathalie Morris, Perry Mooney, Raj Labade, William Lodder, William McKenna
Carlos Sanson Jr. took acting lessons at Screenwise studios and began featuring in short films. While his credits have included Legacies, Mr. Inbetween, and Sweet As, it is Stan drama Bump that has led to wider exposure. At 4 seasons, Bump is now one of the longest running scripted local titles currently on TV, outisde of serials.
While he is Sydney-born, Sanson Jr.’s Chilean roots were perfect for the role of teen dad, Santiago Hernandez.
“My dad’s Cuban and my mum’s Chilean. They met in the States and then they moved here for dad’s work and I was the first born. We moved back to the States to have my two younger siblings, then back here to have my youngest brother,” he explains.
“The Hernandez family is such an interesting family dynamic. My character loses his mum and his Chilean father ends up with a Colombian woman. His grandparents are Argentinian, so it’s a real South American blend.
“It was written as a Chilean family and they found me, which was the stars aligning, but they moulded the extended family around the supporting cast and their ethnicities. We wanted the representation to be authentic. We didn’t want to say that we were all Chilean when we have all these different backgrounds.You can’t really get away with it because Spanish speaking countries all have different pronunciation… and the slang is all very specific to those countries.”
Sanson Jr. is currently filming Ladies in Black, his first period project, in South Australia for ABC. The recognition from the CGA is a sign the hard work is paying off.
“It feels like I really belong in the industry now. I feel recognised for my ability and for my dedication. It feels like now the industry is taking me seriously with accolades like this one. The show has been nominated for Logies and AACTA Awards. I was nominated for Best New Talent in the Logies last year – all because of Bump.” he suggests.
“I guess external validation is has made me feel like I really have earned my spot, you know?”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Ben Turland.
“I’ve been in this industry for a very long time and like everyone, I know it’s quite a marathon. This is kind of like a surreal moment for the hard work and the sweat, blood & tears. It’s a nice validation, to get a little pat on the back saying, ‘Hey, you’re doing the right thing,’” he continues.
“To be put in the same boat with the people awarded in the past is a bit surreal, because they’re people I would love to work with. So it’s an honour, and I’d love to also just inspire, I guess, the next generation.
“So I’m very, very stoked.”
The 12 Rising Stars of 2023 will be honoured at the CGA’s Annual Awards on Friday November 24.