It was a part in The Sound of Music as an 8-year-old that sparked Year 12 James Bingham’s passion for acting. He enjoyed the experience so much he was inspired to start acting lessons and star in several short films before his agent suggested he audition for a new Apple TV+ show called Swagger, based on the early life experiences of the legendary basketball player, Kevin Durant.
Image Credit: Getty
James’ initial self-tape audition caught the eye of the show’s producers in a worldwide casting search to find the right fit for the role of Drew Murphy, a character from the well-heeled part of town who is key to bringing the team together in the show.
The producers received 5 000 audition tapes, including James’, who was just 14 at the time. “I did some self-tape auditions, then they asked me to send some footage of me playing basketball. So, I did that and then I got home from school one day and my mum told me we were off to LA for a chemistry read! We literally jumped on a plane that night and spent two days in LA so I could audition.”
The only international actor in the cast, James had to train hard to play basketball at a high level. “I only played casually before, but I did enjoy the game. I had to train hard before I left for the US and during filming, I trained six to seven times a week. Plus, I had to juggle my school work. I left ASC for one and a half years to film and during that time I studied with SIDE (School of Isolated and Distance Education) so that I could carry on with the Australian curriculum.”
Image Credit: Apple TV
Filming the first season was an incredible experience for James. “I was only 14 when filming started, so my mum or dad would come with me, and they were incredibly supportive; all my family were. As I was the only international actor, my castmates also made me feel really welcome and helped me with playing an American high schooler; they became like a second family. It was a great experience being on set. We keep in touch now that I’m back in Perth.”
While back in Perth, James returned to ASC and is studying a Certificate IV in Business as well as continuing with his other passion – music. He plays in multiple school bands and likes to record his own original soundtracks.
James will be leaving ASC in July to film the second series of Swagger. “Acting is 100% the career I want to pursue. I am so excited to head back to the US and film the second season. Hopefully, I can relocate at some point in the future.”
From all at ASC, we wish you the very best for your future acting career, James!