There are many talented actors in the industry but every once in a while you see someone on the screen who is undeniably a star. That perfect balance of talent, instinct, and charisma is immediately evident in Australia’s Elyssia Koulouris. Filmmaker Nathan Dalton recognized it the moment he saw her perform and created a part specifically for Koulouris in his Science Fiction Drama feature film Quanta. This award-winning production (Ozflix Independent Film Award Winner and nominated at the North Europe International Film Festival) relies heavily on the cast, of which Elyssia is an undeniably important part. Mr. Dalton understands that for the audience to become quickly immersed in the film relies not on scare tactics or high budget FX but rather in caring about the characters deeply on an almost instantaneous level. Elyssia’s presentation of Charlotte brings a balance to the story, offering moments of levity with comedic subtext in an overall tense group dynamic. The result is that the viewer longs for Elyssia’s presence, making her a perhaps unplanned focal point of the film. Her actions serve to push the other characters to release their true nature and drive the eventual outcome.
Quanta is a classic drama wrapped in the veneer of science fiction. While it contains intriguing elements such as dark matter and a message sent from outer space, the real intent of the storyline is to investigate how accolades and glory (or the absence of these) fuel ambition. An elder physicist (George West, played by Mark Redpath) and his university assistant (Tom, played by Antony Talia) work together on a new scientific discovery. When a world altering discovery is made, both men have self-serving reasons for wanting to divulge the findings. Certain events occur which reveal the negative impacts of these discoveries but the core of this film is about relationships in the scientific community and how they can massively effect the world.
Writer/director Nathan Dalton’s precognition of the intense conflict manifested between the two main male characters led him to write a new character, Charlotte, who would be the pressure release for audiences. Resting on years of improv training by Ms. Koulouris, Charlotte is a wild card for every scene in which she appears. Elyssia confirms, “Due to the fact that Charlotte is the comic relief of the film I knew she had to be light and fun in comparison to the other male characters who are so caught up in what they’re doing. I naturally have a happy go lucky sort of nature that I further played into to really get a hold of Charlotte. Nathan was really helpful in his directing with my portraying Charlotte. She had to be the opposite of the sarcastic, serious lead actor. The backstory of Charlotte as a character was that she is always underestimated by those around her due to her bubbly nature. She isn’t your typical scientist expert!” This serves to exacerbate other character’s natural inclinations, such as when Charlotte is asked a very scientific question which Tom thinks he has a handle on; Charlotte’s effervescent personality in getting the answer right shocks Tom into spiraling out of control of his ego.
Quanta percolates in its fear, always hinting that our “wanting it bad” could lead to “getting it bad.” It asks us to consider if we see our own reflection in the characters. When Elyssia Koulouris appears on the screen, this is always a hopeful “yes” due to her wit and luminous aura. Hopefully we’ll be seeing much more of this Australian talent on the large and small screen.
Quanta is available in North America on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, The Roku Channel, VUDU Free, and Pluto TV.
Writer: Arlen Gann