Former school captain Trystan Go (OA 2019) has spent the past two years balancing university studies with a busy professional acting career in blockbuster films. Ethan Crosweller caught up with Trystan to discover what he has planned for 2021 and beyond.
What have you been doing since you graduated from SACS?
Straight after I finished Year 12 in 2019, I went to the Gold Coast to film Occupation: Rainfall so there was no time to relax. I’d done about eight weeks of filming [the original film Occupation] in Year 11 and then I had a year’s break for the HSC while the team were busy editing. Now I’m doing Frayed season 2, which is a comedy for the ABC but will also be shown by the Sky Network in the United Kingdom and HBO Max in the United States.
I started studying a Bachelor of Commerce (International) at UNSW which required me to go on exchange overseas for a year but given COVID restrictions, I decided to transfer into a Bachelor of Commerce/Law.
You were in Occupation (2018) and now the sequel Occupation: Rainfall, which was released to Australian audiences in January 2021. What was it like to be part of a major movie production?
It was a fun time. I chose to do it because it was completely different to anything I’d done before. I played Benjamin Law in The Family Law which is a wacky yet realistic family comedy. I played Prince Chulalongkorn in The King and I, a musical based on the memoirs of an English Governess who taught the Royal children of Siam in the 1860s. Occupation was so different to what I’d done previously and a great opportunity to expand my repertoire to the action genre.
So much of the filming was done on the green screen and that was a huge challenge because the acting is all in your mind. The director (Luke Sparke) gave us rough animations for each scene so we could see his vision for the landscape but the responsibility was on the actors to convey the drama and bring the energy in what otherwise would be boring dialogue. I really had to rely on my imagination to act out a scene.
You worked alongside some big names in this movie: Ken Jeong from The Hangover, Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) from the Harry Potter series, and Daniel Gillies from Spider-Man 2. How do you approach those relationships as a young actor?
It’s always good to sit in the green room between scenes and have a chat with those guys. You pick up things. They are total professionals and it surprised me how much they improvised their lines. Ken Jeong pretty much improvised every scene he was in, throwing one-liners around; he’s so clever and it just worked.
I don’t really ask about technique, it’s up to them to share and a lot of them do. They want to support younger, up–and–coming talent. Temuera Morrison, who was in Aquaman, was really supportive of me. He was always there encouraging me and ensuring that I knew what I was doing because I was the only kid in the film.
Do you have any favourite memories of your experiences at SACS?
Nothing quite compares to being at SACS. Everyone is supportive and kind. Everyone wants to see each other do well and I think that comes from the values of the school. There are so many chances for you to challenge yourself and get outside of your comfort zone.
I don’t think I really appreciated the community until I left. Some of my highlights were doing the school musical, singing alongside a full orchestra, and also snow camp in Year 9. That camp was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but I look back on it now and think ‘wow, no one else gets to do that.’
You know your way around a film set and now with your Commerce/Law degree you’re diving into the business and legal worlds. Which one are you going to choose?
That’s what I can’t decide on. In an ideal world I’d choose something that incorporates everything. People are always surprised that I’m studying Commerce/Law but St Andrew’s was very supportive of me doing something that could complement my acting.
And music is a big passion for me. I started singing lessons at SACS in Year 8. There’s something special about being in the practice room with the piano. I could easily do it for hours on end if my voice held out. After I finish my current degree, I’m hoping to study opera.
In the short term, Frayed season 2 is coming out later this year and there is talk of Occupation 3, fingers crossed. Otherwise, it’s lots of auditioning – just part of the actor’s lifestyle.
Season 2 of Frayed will be televised on ABC later this year. You can watch Occupation on Netflix and The Family Law on SBS On Demand.