Kamil Ellis was understandably nervous about taking on the lead role in one of the hottest teen dramas on television.
The Wiradjuri teenager will next month make his national television debut in a starring role, heading the cast in the third season of the award-winning series, Nowhere Boys.
In its first two seasons the show and its original cast notched up an impressive 17 awards, including an international Emmy in April, and inspired a cult following among fans.
“That was one thing that I was kind of nervous to start off with was would we fit the shoes of the last guys and the high standards that they have set,” Ellis says. “That was a nerve-wracking thing that was going through my mind the whole time we were filming.
“When we got released we got quite a bit of hate (on social media), but I think once people saw the trailer and they saw a few more things about the show everyone has kind of lightened up now and they are like ‘Yeah, can’t wait to see the show’.
“There are a few sad people, but that’s what happens….
“It’s good to see people are really invested in the show and they love the old characters because they are obviously upset that they are gone, but hopefully they love us as much as they loved them.”
This year may well belong to the Indigenous superhero.
Ellis, a 17-year-old actor from Sydney, plays Luke, a teenager whose special powers include the ability to create tornados. It comes hot on the heels of another ABC series, Cleverman, in which Ellis also has a part.
Nowhere Boys was created by screenwriter Tony Ayres and first aired on the ABC in 2013. The first two seasons followed the adventures of four mismatched teenage boys.
There was also an 80-minute feature film — Nowhere Boys: The Book of Shadows.
Season three of the television show, Two Moons Rising, is set back at Bremin High several years later with a new group of characters who must save the town from unseen forces.
Ellis’ character, Luke, is a tech nerd and science fiction fanatic who doesn’t know Bremin is the meeting point of magical ley lines and that someone has been waiting for him to arrive to put together a new gang of Nowhere Boys.
In the new group, school rebel Heath is fire, musical theatre geek Jesse is water and high achiever and soccer star Niccolina, the first Nowhere girl, is earth.
Luke is the fourth element of air.
“He can do a range of different things,” Ellis says. “He can create all sorts of weird things like tornadoes, cyclones that sort of thing. He can also fly. He can suck the air out of places. He’s done some pretty cool stuff. I guess it was just kind of finding a cool way of showing what he can do.”
The series was filmed in Melbourne and wrapped up in July on Ellis’ 17th birthday. Ellis says it was fun working with a young cast.
He says he partly modelled his character on an aunty who is a big science fiction fan.
“Luke was kind of the boy who was a big city kid, he didn’t really know much about his Indigenous culture,” Ellis says. “He’d always lived in the inner city. “When he moved out to the country he was kind of ‘I really don’t want to be in this place’.
“He portrays that he doesn’t really care about much but his head was always racing with different sci-fi theories.
“Basically, I based my character off my aunty who is a very big sci-fi nerd and is into everything Luke loves like Dr Who and Star Trek and things like that. I basically watched her.
“She’s having fun. She came down to Melbourne with me and she was over the moon reading the script. She was like ‘I should be playing this character’.”
Ellis has been acting since he was 11 and got his start thanks to his mother who sent him to audition for the children’s drama My Place. He got the part and hasn’t looked back.
Since then he’s been a host on the documentary Bushwacked and Bushwacked Boys and appeared in Deep Water and Dance Academy. He can dance a variety of styles from traditional Indigenous to jazz, modern and hip hop.
Currently in Year 12 at school, he continues to juggle study with acting. There are more episodes of Cleverman to film and other shows he can’t talk about yet.
In the meantime, he doesn’t have long to wait until Nowhere Boys begins airing on ABC ME on November 11.
Ellis is hoping he can win over the haters.
“You get the hate, you get the love,” he says. “I think people will still love the show. I think the show will still do as well as before because all the cast are phenomenal actors. I think it will go alright.”
- The new season of Nowhere Boys will air on ABC ME from November 11.