Australian actress stars in Altered Carbon

Everyone working in Hollywood wants to be on a Netflix show, Australian actress Dichen Lachman says.
Everyone working in Hollywood wants to be on a Netflix show, Australian actress Dichen Lachman says.

Fans of the latest Netflix show Altered Carbon probably don't know that one of the stars is an Australian who got her start on Neighbours.

Dichen Lachman, originally from Adelaide, played Katya Kinski on the soap over a decade ago but since then she's made the leap to Hollywood, landing roles in TV shows such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Shameless.

And her latest role, playing the manipulative villain Reileen Kawahara in the Netflix adaptation of Richard K Morgan's sci-fi series, will put her on the map.

"Every actor in Hollywood wants to be on a Netflix show," Lachman told AAP in Sydney.

She cites the creative freedom offered by the streaming giant as one of its most attractive features, along with its accessibility.

"They're not tethered to ratings or rules and regulations in terms of where you can take the content and what you can say, and what you can do, so as an actor it's very liberating to work in that space," she said.

"And in terms of access, Netflix is really egalitarian. Everyone has access to it all over the world, simultaneously most of the time, so it's not excluding any one country or group."

Altered Carbon falls into a genre called cyberpunk, a subgenre of science fiction that exists in the future.

It explores social and moral themes, pitting Reileen as the villain against her brother the anti-hero, Takeshi played by House of Cards star Joel Kinnaman. This is a world where people have the ability to come back from the dead, but only if they're wealthy.

"I would imagine there will be a lot of people who won't like me after watching the show," Lachman said.

One of her most striking scenes required Lachman to engage in a naked sword fight. It offers a different, more powerful, representation of a naked woman on screen.

"I don't think it's ever been done before, a woman in that context, in that position; a woman so unapologetic and with no sense of being self-conscious or anything," Lachman said.

"Not only is it a pivotal moment for the character and pushing the story forward but it's a powerful image for a woman to be depicted like that."

All the women in the show are complex and pivotal to the storyline.

"The females in this story, every single one of them no matter how small or big their role, they have such a clear intention and they're the ones that are really driving this story forward and the diversity of the women is a really powerful thing," she said.

* Altered Carbon is available now on Netflix

Australian Associated Press