Versatile. Graceful. Statuesque and swan-like. The ways in which to compliment Elizabeth Debicki’s presence on the big and small screen are virtually endless.
Despite being only 26 years of age, Debicki is no stranger to achievement. While completing secondary studies at Huntingtower High School in East Melbourne, she scored perfect marks in both Drama and English, and landed a spot in VCA’s prestigious drama course, where she was also awarded the second-year equivalent of dux.
From that point on, her trajectory has only sloped upwards.
Blowing away Baz
Penned by Dean Craig (Death at a Funeral), the 2012 comedy A Few Best Men was not a critics' favourite, but when the tiny role of Maureen was added to Debicki’s showreel, it attracted the attention of one Baz Lurhmann. Within a few months, after flying the then-20-year-old over to LA for an audition, Lurhmann announced Debicki had scored the role of a lifetime.
Stealing scenes from Leonardo DiCaprio
It’s easy to throw shade on the overstuffed two-and-a-half-hour soiree that was The Great Gatsby, but far more difficult to find fault in Debicki’s performance as cynical golf pro Jordan Baker. Playing a character more world-ready than Gatsby, the big dreamer himself, she went toe-to-toe with veteran Leonardo DiCaprio, and stole scenes from him, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan - a sight that was delicious to behold.
On stage with Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert
In 2013-14, Debicki trod the boards in a supporting role in Jean Genet's The Maids, both in Sydney and New York. She shone as the ominously named Madame, scoring a Helpmann Award nomination for the role. The Hollywood Reporter said, “The talented young actress is fearlessly vulgar and funny in her depiction of the mistress’ utter self-absorption.”
Heading up The Kettering Incident
Last year’s Vicki Madden-scribed miniseries was a tight, well-received thriller that showed us a Tasmania we rarely see. Tinged with the gothic and moving with an undercurrent of dread, the Foxtel production was undeniably the Elizabeth Debicki show. Playing prodigal doctor Anna Macy, Debicki was praised by co-stars for her dedication, hard work and intelligence. She threw herself into the role no matter the physical or emotional toll, and was forever mining complexities in order to discover nuggets of gold.
Ping-ponging between Hiddleston and Laurie
The riveting four-part miniseries The Night Manager is based on the John le Carré spy novel of the same name. Playing Hugh Laurie’s reluctant accessory of a girlfriend, Debicki is perfectly cast as a young women whose very nature belies that kind of reductive life. No spoilers here, but let’s just say Debicki is perhaps the most memorable performer in the piece, which is no mean feat when playing against the two brilliant leads.
Now well and truly a sought-after Hollywood actress, Debicki is stretching her range with upcoming projects. Lined up is a voice role in the animated Peter Rabbit (due in 2018), bringing comic book character Kismet to life in this year's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and a part in the Simon Baker-directed adaptation of Tim Winton's Breath, starring alongside Baker and Richard Roxburgh. She’ll also appear in God Particle, the mysterious JJ Abrams production that’s linked to the underrated Cloverfield series.
The Night Manager airs Wednesdays at 8:30pm on SBS. After they air, episodes will be available on SBS On Demand.
Watch the first episode right here: