Todd Lasance has been working in film and TV since 2006 but his newest project NCIS: Sydney playing Sergeant Jim Dempsey has been a game changer.
“There’s a pressure about doing work that I’m proud of and that the networks will be proud of because you’re in the big league now with this sort of stuff,” he admitted. “You want to step your game up and make sure that what they’re seeing is of a certain level.”
For the 38-year-old, the series is the “real deal”.
“Now that we’ve wrapped, I feel a bit of the pressure that I hope that everyone loves the show and connects to it,” he said. “But also, there’s pride because I feel like we’ve got something really unique here, too. It’s in the NCIS world, it’s in the franchise tone. It’s got that light, hard element. It’s got the procedural element to it, too. But, man, we’ve got some juice coming in this season.
“I don’t think they would have expected to see the level that they take it to.”
NCIS Sydney showcases the city like never before
An added bonus of doing an Aussie iteration of a US franchise is the fact that an international audience is not only coming to see how we do it here but also to gain an up close and personal look at Sydney.
“I’ve never seen Sydney the way that they’re showing [in NCIS Sydney],” He said. “The locations that we went to, I was like, ‘Where are we?’ It was beautiful. And I’ve heard people talk about how there’s a green screen with the explosions and some of the special effects, but there are none in our backdrops, none in our locations. There’s no green screen in any of our photos or the press release stuff in front of the bridge.”
Just like Mavournee Hazel and William McInnes visited the AFP for their roles as forensic pathologists, Lasance said it was a thrill to work with the Australian Navy.
“Working with the Navy on their battleships, and aircraft carriers, you actually got to go on the battleships with their flight crews and were in a Seahawk helicopter on the deck of their aircraft,” he said.
Todd Lasance on the reality of being a working actor
He may have hit the very deserved jackpot with this role, but during the same interview, Lasance admitted that he’s had a lot of setbacks in his career.
“I’ve gone through those periods where it’s like, ‘Wow, I don’t know if I can do too many more knockbacks'”, he admitted. “Because you get so close to stuff. You’ve got a family to provide for and it’s a very kind of disillusioned world that the media portrays and how it works.”
He also added that while he’s very much on our screens with projects including True Spirit, The Vampire Diaries, Spartacus and Without Remorse to name a few, “it doesn’t necessarily equate to a sort of comfortable lifestyle as people would presume it would.”
“It’s also the constant battle for roles as well,” he said. “You can get to a certain point, which is great. But then to reach that next level, you’re fighting against the top tier at the top level.”
He added of his recent years in LA: “And in LA, it’s like, you’re in the NBA of the industry. There’s no higher level. So you’re then up against people with massive credits and huge experience in the heat as well. That’s unfortunately what goes into it. There’s a lot of heat involved. If you’ve got the heat of the moment, and you come off the back of a show, which is again, why this series is so incredible, then that makes such a difference.”
NCIS Sydney premieres on November 10 on Paramount+.