Sophie Lowe, the 20-year-old Brit-born actress is fast becoming a rising star in Australian cinema, even receiving an AFI nomination for her feature debut Beautiful Kate. Here’s what she said to TNT.

You must have been stoked about getting an AFI nomination for Best Actress in Beautiful Kate even though you didn’t end up winning?

That was really surreal – it still is. I still can’t believe that happened…

What was it like working with director Rachel Ward on that film?

It was a really great experience. It was my first film and she made me feel really comfortable. She really believed in what I could bring to the role and so she just let me do my thing.

The film deals with a love affair between brother and sister. How did you feel about that?

Rachel handled it so well, the script was so well written. I knew it was going to be controversial – which I love.

Why do you love controversy?

Because it gets people’s attention and it makes people think differently about things, and pushes people’s boundaries…

That post-swim sex scene on the dam bank with Scott O’Donnell was pretty full on – how did you prepare for that?

I was really nervous but Rachel convinced me it was fine. She took her shirt off as well – she was in a bra – and jumped in the water. She was like my mum! My mum was on set as well, so it was really comfortable.

There was also the sex scene in Road Train which you’ve said was quite tricky to shoot.

Doing the sex scene was really technical. We would be pretending to have sex and he [director, Dean Francis] would be like, “Stop! Stop!”. He would then move the covers just a little bit so the scene would look better. 

You’re quoted as saying you don’t have a problem with onscreen nudity if the film demands it. But do you take measures to protect yourself from being exploited?

I put covers on my nipples just in case. And I wear underwear, not that I don’t trust the directors, but just in case.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve had to learn for a role?

I think shooting a rifle was pretty cool [on The Clinic]. I learnt how to shoot a shotgun as well. That was so much fun. I had really big bruises on my cheek and on my shoulder. I was on shooting ranges with [clay pigeons] and I was actually able to shoot some.

You also starred with Xavier Samuel on Road Kill before he graduated to Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Were you surprised by his success?

No, he’s such a superstar. I would just go to watch him on set when I wasn’t on, because he has the ability to take anything and make it great.

Do you have one eye on Hollywood yourself?

Yeah – I’ve got both my eyes [on Hollywood]. I’ve been to LA a couple of times to do auditions and things – I want to do as much as I can. It’s a faster process than in Australia. You have coffee with producers and directors, and the you get all these scripts through all at once and you have to read them really quickly. But it’s great.

Who would your dream director be?

Sofia Coppola. I really love her films.

» Beautiful Kate is out now on DVD through Matchbox films.

– Alison Grinter