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Behind the Scenes with Ian Bliss: Exploring the Making of Late Night with the Devil

With a career spanning 3 decades, NIDA alumnus and renowned actor Ian Bliss (Acting, 1993) continues to shine in the Australian, and international, entertainment industry. In this behind-the-scenes interview, Ian shares insights into his most recent cinematic endeavour, Late Night with the Devil, discusses the practicalities of filming horror, and reminisces about his formative years at NIDA.

Can you share how your role in Late Night with the Devil came about?

I was hired by the casting company to be a reader for some auditions they were holding. That’s where I got to meet the directors Colin & Cameron Cairnes. As I was leaving the studio where the auditions were being held I was asked by the casting director if I would like to play a role in the film. This was not the role of Carmichael (which I ended up playing) but a smaller role in the film which would have been about half a day’s work. However, about 4 days before filming was to commence, I got a call from my agent telling me that the actor who was to play Carmichael had suddenly become unavailable and that Colin and Cameron would really like me to take on that role. Sometimes work is as much about having a rapport with the people you will be working with as much as it is the skill set and talent you might bring to a role.

Ian Bliss (Acting, 1993) as Carmichael in Late Night with the Devil with co-star David Dastmalchian.

What was filming a horror movie like?

It was a fun experience in so much as, for this particular horror movie, much of the effects were practical effects (done in the room not added later with CGI). That sort of visceral experience makes it so much easier acting in a genre like horror when you can not only see the effect but touch, smell and taste it too!

You have had an extensive career in film and television – what are some of the highlights you’ve experienced?

I have been very fortunate to have maintained a career exclusively as an Actor (in all facets of the industry) since graduating from NIDA in 1993. Some film highlights are… Late Night with the Devil, the Matrix trilogy, and independent Australian films like Siam Sunset and The Long Lunch. Career long I have kept making many TV appearances on many different productions with some highlights being… Heartbreak HighBlue Murder, the original Underbelly series, Wentworth and the soon-to-be-screened Netflix series The Survivors.

Thinking back to your NIDA training, what were some the skills attained in the Actors course that you still use today?

All of them! Every role you play, every production you work on, differs from anything else you will do. If you ever find yourself wondering how you might tackle a character or a performance, the “toolbox” you have from your NIDA training is invaluable. I could honestly say I have utilised nearly every aspect gained from my NIDA training at every stage throughout my career since graduating.

Still image from Late Night with the Devil.

Are you still in touch with any of your NIDA Acting cohort?

A few from my year. But I have struck up very strong professional and personal relationships with graduates from many different years and courses throughout my time in the profession.

What advice would you give to aspiring young actors and those considering the BFA Acting course at NIDA?

When I went to NIDA all I wanted to do was learn and I consider this the best attitude I could have had. Soak it up like a sponge. You are offered so much from NIDA. What you leave with after your time there can support and nourish you for whatever the future may hold. Make the most of your time there as it is an invaluable launching pad into the industry.

Late Night with the Devil is now showing in Australian cinemas with a cast that features NIDA alumni Paula Arundell (Acting, 1995) and Josh Quong Tart (Acting,1997).