Harrison Gilbertson: ‘I am proud to call myself a Blackfriars old scholar’

When Oppenheimer opens in cinemas next year, the big-name cast will include a Blackfriars old scholar.

Harrison Gilbertson (BPS’11) has recently returned from filming the Christopher Nolan blockbuster, starring Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders), Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr and Emily Blunt.

It tells the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist whose work on the Manhattan Project led to the atomic bomb.

The role in Oppenheimer caps off a busy period for New York-based Gilbertson, who has also worked on an Amazon series, The Peripheral, from the creators of Westworld, as well as another film, Where All Light Tends To Go, with Billy Bob Thornton and Robin Wright.

Harrison Gilbertson and wife Lucy.

Gilbertson, who started at Blackfriars as a Year 3 student in 2002, has now completed 16 film and television roles, in Australia and overseas.

“For the past four years, I have been based in New York City with my wife, Lucy,” said Gilbertson, who gained his US Green Card in 2020.

“We feel very blessed to be where we are in life now, after the trying years of obtaining that Green Card during such a politically turbulent time in America, as well as living here through the very difficult first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, when New York was the epicentre of the virus.

“A very tough time, but the growth both in our personal and professional life was ultimately priceless in getting us to where we are now. We are very grateful.”

Gilbertson’s move into acting started when he was still a student at Blackfriars.

While he was in Year 11, he won the Australian Film Institute (AFI) Best Young Actor award for his role as coal miner Tiffin in the World War I drama Beneath Hill 60.

That year, he went on to star in Accidents Happen, alongside Geena Davis (Thelma & Louise, A League of Their Own).

He completed Year 12 while playing the young hero of the Gabrielle Lord adventure series Conspiracy 365.

More recently, he has appeared in Foxtel’s six-part reimagining of Picnic at Hanging Rock, alongside Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer.

Harrison Gilbertson in Picnic at Hanging Rock.

“I always remember fondly my time at Blackfriars and how my time there helped shape me as a person,” Gilbertson said.

“I am particularly always so grateful for, and will never forget, the space and time my teachers and the school gave me in my later high school years, as I balanced both my school work and travelling acting work.

“That was a truly beautiful gift in the development of my life.

“I am proud to call myself a Blackfriars old scholar.”

He was unsure where work would next take him but, after being locked out of Australia for almost two years during the Covid pandemic, one thing was certain.

“I feel extremely blessed and excited for what is to come next … but, for now, it’s time for a much-needed visit home to Adelaide to see my family.”

Main image: Jason Edwards


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