Silver Sun: profiles

Thomas Blackburne as Tane Wilson

Tane is brave, athletic and loyal. He sees himself as the potential alpha male of Star Runner; an achiever, a true pioneer whose only goal is to complete the mission. Tane prefers action to being bogged down by whys and wherefores. He's much more a 'get it done and think about it later' type of guy. Things tend to be black and white for Tane; his way is the right way and he has trouble incorporating differing points of view. He believes his parents (both astronomers) have made the far greater sacrifice in letting their youngest child embark upon a journey from which he will not return. His duty is to fulfil their trust.

16-year-old Thomas has already accumulated significant television experience. He played regular Harry Virtue in Something in the Air and later Daniel Clohesy in Neighbours. Thomas has also had roles in Blue Heelers, State Coroner and Guinevere Jones. His film credits include Ned Kelly and The Bank. Thomas on Tane: "Tane sees everything in black and white and is a everything-for-the-mission sort of guy. He does have a softer side though, thanks to Leonella."

Cleopatra Coleman as Zandie Brokow

A New Settler who is mistakenly reanimated after a technical malfunction, Zandie reveals herself to be strong willed and an independent thinker. Trained as a Surveyor/Explorer, Zandie received tuition in martial arts, first aid and mechanical repairs prior to being placed in suspended animations, she displays all the qualities required to battle the unknown and help establish a colony on the New World. Full of utopian zeal and excitement, she is at first disoriented and angry at being revived ninety years too early. However, her taste of life on board and her bonding with Degenhardt motivates her to choose to remain animate. A subversive leader and manipulator of others, Zandie is determined to question the status quo on Star Runner and bring about change.

Cleopatra has trained at the National Theatre and is an accomplished dancer becoming a finalist in the 2002 National Dance Championships. She makes her professional debut in Silver Sun. Cleopatra on Zandie: "Zandie is quite misunderstood. She can be tough and mean, so you need to get into her good books. She likes Degenhardt. Most of the time."

Ryan Corr as Sheng Zammett

Possessing order, duty and application Sheng received much of his education in England where he developed a strong sense of individuality and non-conformity. Put simply, he's like an English eccentric in a teenagers body. Strange, singular and very amusing, his lack of attachment to scientific principles provides him with an ability to think laterally and on Star Runner that is something that proves to be extremely useful. His talents are many and varied; from nutty professor to consulting hair-stylist — no one does it quite like Sheng.

Ryan first appeared on television in 2001 on Blue Heelers, where he had a number of roles over two years. He has since gone on to play the main role of Matthew in The Sleepover Club. Ryan: "Sheng is the more sensitive and humourous of the three guys and has a soft spot for Pancha. He asks her out all the time, but gets shut down because Pancha says she's too busy working. Lots of misinterpretations!"

Karli Dinardo as Cinnamon Everson

The daughter of Steve and Karen, Cinnamon is one of the two little kids in board. Steve and Karen's daughter. Bright, energetic and impish, Cinnamon idolises Leonella. She sees Leonella as the cool, big sister she never had and can often be caught emulating Leonella's mature ways... especially when it comes to her baby brother, Tycho.

Silver Sun is Karli's first television role. She has trained as a dancer and singer from an early age. Karli has also appeared in a number of television commercials and two short films. Karl on Cinnamon: "Cinnamon sometimes cottons on to things she's not meant to know about. She's got very big ears like an elephant — she's a bit like me actually! She's interested in anything she can be interested in." There is a rumour going round that Cinnamon has a greater IQ than anyone on the ship.

Cherise Donovan as Leonella Reiss

Proud, political and tribal, Leonella treats her fellow crew members as an extension of her own family. Lillian, the on-board doctor, is her mother and Leonella sometimes wonders if that's the only reason she was chosen for the Star Runner mission. It's not true. Leonella was selected for her unique abilities but this doubting insecurity comes back to haunt her from time to time. Leonella is often the peacemaker, the glue that holds the crew together. She has a strong sense of community, is compassionate and the one most likely to step into someone else's shoes. She's romantic, emotional and takes things to heart. The inner strength she brings to her work on Star Runner makes her an extremely competent, hard-working member of the crew. Her take on things tends to come from the heart rather than from any instruction book or manual.

Cherise has appeared in three previous children's television series: Bootleg in which she played Tracey, High Flyers as Geri and Driven Crazy as AJ. Other roles have been on Neighbours, Blue Heelers and Full Frontal. Cherise has also done numerous television commercials. Cherise on Leonella: "Leonella is really easy going. Her relationship to Tane is like a normal teenage one — where you have your ups and downs. They have heaps of fun together. They open up to each other."

Angus McLaren as Degenhardt Bell

Angus made his television debut as Jason Cassidy in Something in the Air. He has since had roles in The Saddle Club II (Danny), Worst Best Friends (Eddie), Fergus McPhail (Bob) as well as guest roles in Blue Heelers and Neighbours. Angus is a stage regular in his hometown in Victoria where he has performed in a number of musicals for the local Lyric Theatre. Angus on Degenhardt: "Degenhardt is the Iceman and takes his job very seriously but is pessimistic about everything. Not like me, so it's fun to play. The community is a bit like Lord of the Flies in space."

Degenhardt is the doubter of the crew. Every group of adventurers needs someone to consider the downside of any enterprise and to ponder the worst thing that could possibly happen. This is Degenhardt. He is our man most likely to lead a mutiny. He's a bit of a loner who dislikes and questions authority. Naturally this makes him Tane's rival. Degenhardt's rebellious, questioning streak matches, measure for measure, Tane's heroic conformity. Part of him would like more than anything to just fit in. But no matter how hard he tries, Degenhardt is different — he just is — and his attempts to blend often leave him feeling more outcast than before. Degenhardt enjoys stirring things up and can't work out why this sometimes makes him unpopular. The truth is, Degenhardt's questioning mind makes him an excellent pioneer, one who takes the mission very seriously. It's just that he doesn't think the best way to do things is necessarily by the rule.

Eloise Mignon as Mara Lomax

The most emotionally mature of the young people. With a philosophical outlook on life, MARA lost her mother when medical science wasn't advanced enough to save her. She is passionately committed to the journey to the New World, believing that the future of the human race could well depend on what they discover. She is the 'head prefect' of the crew — extremely responsible and organised. For her, things tend to be defined by 'what's good for the mission'. It's partly how she sees the world but it's also a way to help her avoid emotional messiness. Underneath her organised, intensely competent veneer is a typical doubting, vulnerable teen but Mara likes to keep this side very well hidden. Mara hopes to follow in Lillian's footsteps but the truth is, when she learns to relinquish control and embraces her vulnerable side, she'll actually have the makings of a true leader.

Silver Sun is Eloise's second lead role in a television series. In 2001/2 she played Fiona in The Legacy of the Silver Shadow. On film Eloise has appeared in a number of short films for the Victorian College of the Arts, and on stage in Le Malade Imaginaire for Melbourne French Theatre Co. Eloise is a fluent French speaker. Eloise on Mara: "Mara is very competitive and a perfectionist. I think there are girls just like that out there — in school sports, playing in the band, head prefect — totally like that."

Orpheus Pledger as Tycho Everson

The other little kid on board Star Runner. Also Steve and Karen's son. Mischievous and cheeky, he likes to be naughty — not in a malicious way, just because causing trouble can be a joy. He is constantly preoccupied with thinking up ways to worm out of the myriad of chores that exist on Star Runner. No matter what the task, Tycho always has some new and bizarre excuse. For Tycho is fun-driven and work rosters have no place in his 8 year old world.

Eleven-year old Orpheus has made guest appearances on numerous television series such as Crash Burn, Scooter: Secret Agent, Welcher & Welcher and The Secret Life of Us but Silver Sun represents his first role in a main cast. On film, Orpheus played Joseph in Emma Freeman's Tropfest winning short, Lamb, and also appeared in Nick Giannopolous' The Wannabes. Orpheus on Tycho: "I'm 11 but I play an 8 year old. Luckily my brother is 8 so I just act like him. Tycho pretty much doesn't do anything! He hasn't got a job. He likes Degenhardt the best."

Sarah Walker as Pancha McCaskill

A terrible accident has left Pancha with several peculiarities. She has micro-chip implants in her brain which are powered by a sleek, funky helmet which she must wear at all times. The implants allow her brain to function, but as we discover early on, they also give her the ability to interface directly with the computer — she doesn't need a keyboard, monitor or mouse, the connection happens inside her head. Pancha becomes our way of communicating with the computer and all it's many and varied systems. Whether it's because of this, her stratospheric IQ or just because that's the way she is, Pancha tends to be a little emotionally disconnected. Her attitude is deadpan, droll and amusingly sarcastic. But this never gets in the way of her ability to focus on the task at hand to the exclusion of any outside distractions.

Sarah's first role for television was in 2003 as Anne in Noah and Saskia. She also has a small role in the Murray Whelan series. Her dad is a Star Trek fan. Sarah on Pancha: "Pancha is very cool. A bit like an oracle — she's the person people come to to ask what will happen. And that irritates some people. She gets along best with Sheng..."

Michelle Pettigrove as Dr Lillian Reiss

Medical practitioner and specialist psychiatrist, her responsibility is the medical and psychological well being of everyone on board. A well adjusted, single parent, Leonella is her only child. This mother/daughter relationship can be a comfort in such new and strange environs but it also causes its fair share of tension in the crew dynamics. Lillian's role as counsellor affords her a close relationship with all the crew but she sees real potential in Mara who she has taken under her wing as the person most likely to become the future on-board doctor/psych. There is a sense that in the fullness of time Lillian and Cyriax will be romantically linked.

Michelle graduated from Theatre Nepean in 1987. She is probably best known for her three-year regular role as Kate Bryant in the much-loved series, A Country Practice. Michelle has made numerous other television appearances in shows such as Brides of Christ, Home And Away, Blue Heelers and Something in the Air. She is the solo host of popular children's cable show Funhouse, now heading into its sixth year. Michelle is founding member and manager of the three-girl singing group "The Funky Divas". Michelle on Lillian: "Lillian has probably taken the journey with her daughter for the promise that it offers. I think the series will appeal to anyone who's had their heart broken, or had trouble with their parents, or feels left out — all of those things are addressed in the stories. It's very here and now."

Teague Rook as Steve Everson

The on-board engineer, Steve is husband to Karen and father to Cinnamon and Tycho. Steve is responsible for the technical runnings of Star Runner. He's kind hearted but under pressure can become somewhat gruff. Steve tends to be conservative by nature and would much rather go with something tried and true than take a punt on a brilliant maybe.

A 1998 Victorian College of the Arts graduate, Teague has had guest roles on a number of television series including MDA, The Secret Life of Us, Blue Heelers, Stingers and Scooter Secret Agent. He appeared in the feature film Crackerjack and on stage with the Melbourne Theatre Company in Pride and Prejudice and Born Yesterday. Teague on Steve: "Steve can be very officious and has been named the control freak. He's Mr nuts and bolts and probably the bully of the bridge. He and Zandie don't see eye to eye."

Jesse Spence as Karen Everson

Navigator and astronomer. Tycho and Cinnamon's Mum. Steve's wife. Although not the official crew counsellor, Karen is often the one the kids come to for advice. Maybe it's because she's the closest in age but more likely it's to do with her open, easy, non-judgemental way. Don't let her soft touch fool you. She's a Tae Kwan Doe whiz with a sharp, disciplined mind who takes her role on Star Runner very seriously. She and Steve expect to have at least another four kids to help populate Star Runner.

Jesse is a 2001 WAAPA graduate and has appeared in guest roles on The Secret Life of Us, MDA and Always Greener. Her stage credits include Metamorphoses and Laughter on the 23rd Floor for the Melbourne Theatre Company and Volpone for the Sydney Theatre Company. She made her feature film debut in Tony McNamara's The Rage in Lake Placid. Jesse on Karen: "Karen's a bit of a mother figure to the older kids. She teaches dancing and tae kwon do. She's a kind of young adult — sporty and nice."

Jeremy Stanford as Commander Cyriax

The oldest person on Star Runner. Trained at NASA, he's Australia's most experienced astronaut. He is divorced with two teenage children who live with their mother and step father back on Earth. Not that this makes the journey any easier to undertake; his bond with his children is very close and he tends to adopt Mara and Tane as substitutes. A military man who believes the best way to learn is not necessarily through following orders but by using your own initiative. His leadership style is complex. He generally opts to sit back and let others solve problems for themselves under his watchful eye but, in the way of a true leader, he also knows when to step in and take control. Cyriax believes this journey is potentially as significant as Columbus discovering America.

Jeremy Stanford is a well-known theatre performer whose numerous credits include national tours for Certified Male, High Society and Hello Dolly. For television, Jeremy had a semi -regular role on MDA and the children's series Horace + Tina, and has had guest roles on Stingers and Blue Heelers. Jeremy on Cyriax: "Cyriax is all about what not to say. I have tried to play his relationship to the kids as an adult, a complete meeting of the minds. Because the recruits are so bright, he has to try and stay one step ahead of them!"