The cast of new SBS drama On the Ropes really is something special - a great mix of established talent and fresh talent to the screen. This is your guide to the exciting cast.
Nicole Chamoun as Amirah
Nicole Chamoun is best known for her outstanding portrayal of Laila in the recent television special event Romper Stomper on Stan, and her compelling depiction of Iraqi refugee Zahra Al Bayati in SBS’s critically acclaimed Safe Harbour. On television Chamoun has appeared in The Dr Blake Mysteries, Ronny Chieng International Student and City Homicide, and was first seen on the Australian screens in Esben Storm’s Kick playing the role of Layla.
WATCH: Safe Harbour is streaming now at SBS On Demand.
Feature credits include Last Dance and Who Wants to be a Terrorist, and recent short film credits in Concern for Welfare, funded by Create NSW and SBS Australia, and thought the Generator Emerging Filmmakers Fund for SBS Viceland.
On stage Chamoun has appeared as Jomana in Tales of a City to the Sea for La Mama Theatre, which was nominated for a Green Room Award. She was nominated for a Logie for Safe Harbour.
Keisha Castle-Hughes as Jess
Castle-Hughes was last seen reprising her role in Season 7 of HBO’s series Game of Thrones playing Obara Sand and in the Discovery Channel limited series Manhunt: Unabomber, starring alongside Sam Worthington and Paul Bettany for an eight episode run which received stellar reviews and buzz. Previous to that, she was a lead in Cameron Crowe’s Showtime series Roadies, starring alongside Luke Wilson, Carla Gugino, and Imogen Poots.
In film Castle-Hughes was last seen in the Dreamworks feature Thank You For Your Service opposite Miles Teller, Haley Bennett, and Amy Schumer, written and directed by Jason Hall (writer of American Sniper).
The actress started out in this business with her break-through performance in Niki Caro’s film, Whale Rider. Her portrayal of the Paikea earned her international acclaim and an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in 2003. She then went on to play Queen Naboo in George Lucas’ 2005 Star Wars: Episode III and next played the role of Mary opposite Oscar Issacs as Joseph in New Line’s The Nativity Story, directed by Catherine Hardwicke.
Louis Hunter as Lachy
Louis Hunter’s international acting career spans both stage and screen. Hunter made his professional stage debut with Sydney Theatre Company in the role of Prince Edward in War of the Roses opposite Cate Blanchett. He followed this in the role of Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet for the International Shakespeare Youth Festival. He currently stars as the lead Paris in the 8 part miniseries for Netflix and BBC1, Troy: The Fall of a City. His US screen debut was as Nick Armstrong, the lead role in the CW Network’s series Secret Circle, executive produced by Kevin Williamson. Hunter went on to guest star in Fox Network’s Red Band Society opposite Octavia Spencer before joining the TV series The Fosters in the recurring role of Nick Stratos, executive produced by Jennifer Lopez. Louis’ Australian television roles include the role of Kyle Mulroney, a series lead in BBC UK/Network Ten drama series Out of the Blue as well as the lead voice of character Sevenpoints in the animated TV series The Woodlies. More recent feature film credits include the lead role of J.D in The Honor Farm, directed by Karen Skloss, the role of Duncan in Jack Goes Home, opposite Rory Culkin, directed by Thomas Dekker and in the role of Ryan in Killing Animals, executive produced by James Franco.
Igal Naor as Sami
Hebrew: יגאל נאור; otherwise known as Igal Naor, is an Israeli actor. Naor was born in 1958 in Givatayim, Israel of Iraqi Jewish descent. This is Naorl’s first time in Australia. He has appeared in the American films Munich, Green Zone and Rendition. Naor was critically acclaimed for his portrayal of Saddam Hussein in the 2008 four-episode House of Saddam television docudrama from BBC and HBO. In Season 5, episode 4 of Homeland he portrays General Youssef, a high-ranking Syrian military officer. Naor is currently appearing as Amos Kavillio the Netflix series Fauda (Arabic for ‘Chaos’), which depicts the two-sided story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He also stars as Jakob Negrescu in Riveriera alongside Julia Stiles and Anthony LaPaglia.
Jack Thompson as Strick
One of Australia’s most loved and respected actors, Jack Thompson has appeared in numerous Australian and American films including the classic Sunday Too Far Away (1975), The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978) and Break Morant (1980) - which won him an Australian Film Institute award for Best Actor in a leading role, and the award for Best Supporting Actor at the Cannes International Film Festival. Other credits include The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2003), Australia (2008), The Great Gatsby (2011), The Light Between The Oceans (2017) and most recently Don’t Tell (2018), for which he was nominated for Best Actor at the 2018 AACTA Awards. In 1986 Thompson was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia for his services to the Australian film industry and in 2009 he was awarded the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers Lifetime Achievement Award for Services to Australian Film and Television.
Tyler De Nawi as Hayder
Tyler De Nawi is an Australian actor and producer best known for his TV role as Elias Habib on Australian sitcom Here Come the Habibs. He is also an accomplished acrobat and is disciplined in capoeira and kick boxing. He made his debut TV appearance in SBS drama mini-series The Principal. He also appeared as male heart throb Ben in the 2016 Doctor Doctorin on Channel 9. In April 2017 he made his stage debut in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo in which took on the role of Day Hussein, alongside Maggie Dence. De Nawi is committed to a number of charities and community organisations and was commended by the New South Wales Parliament's Legislative Council on 8th March 2017 for his contribution to the White Ribbon Foundation's campaign to prevent violence against women. He has also been acknowledged by the Parliament for his support of the Australian Gynaecological Cancer Foundation, the Leukaemia Foundation's Biggest Shave, the Mark Hughes Foundation for Brain Cancer Research and the Reach Out World Wide Charity founded by Paul Walker. De Nawi is also passionate in supporting equality and social justice and was a guest at the 2017 National Indigenous and Multicultural Human Rights Awards and the 25th Anniversary of the Mabo decision. He also teaches Refugee students drama and has been a guest speaker at a number of schools and organisations.
Bozana Diab as Mina
This is 16 year old Bozana Diab’s first breakout role . She was cast straight out of her local Boxing Gym, Tszyu Boxing Academy, where she is personally trained by former WBA World Champion Kostya Tszyu. The ring has always been Diab’s ‘home away from home’ in Rockdale and has allowed her to fully prepare for the themes and storylines in On The Ropes. A series which delves into the world of boxing that is both passionate and fraught with adversity, the female driven story is all too familiar for Bozana, who is also juggling this one in a lifetime role whilst studying for her HSC in Year 11.
Bianca Elmir ‘Bam Bam’ as Keisha's body double, the series fight choreography and trainer
Bianca ‘Bam Bam’ Elmir has always walked to the beat of her own drum. The Australian/ Lebanese boxer hails from Canberra and has been participating in sports since her teens. She discovered her love for kickboxing in 2001 and following won the 2009 Australian Kickboxing championships. The announcement in 2012 that Women’s Boxing would be included in the Olympics was the impetus that drove Elmir to move towards the world of boxing. She was able to secure one of Canberra’ best boxing coaches Gary Hamilton and since then has excelled in the sport at a competitive level. She recently won the Australian Featherweight Title. Elmir has been based at Stockade Training Centre in Canberra and has focused on coaching both male and female boxers.In April 2014, she competed in the Commonwealth Games trials in Fremantle, Perth. In July 2015, Elmir launched a boxing program in Canberra to help disadvantaged young people. She is also a champion of diversity for the ACT Human Rights Commission's campaign "Diversity Goes With Our Territory. Elmir says: "Getting punched in the face makes me feel alive. It sounds mental, it sounds like I'm a psychopath, but I'm not – I've checked," she jokes. "When I no longer like being punched in the face, that's when I know it's time to hang up the gloves.” A documentary film following Elmir's path in the male dominated industry is shortly due for release. Elmir is a supporter of LGBTQI rights and a member of Muslims for Progressive Values.
She was a trainer and advisor across production of On The Ropes.
On The Ropes airs every Wednesday night at 9:30pm on SBS. Episodes will be available after broadcast anytime, anywhere, for free via SBS On Demand.
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