Rising Star: Teresa Palmer

Rising Star: Teresa Palmer Rising Star: Teresa Palmer

Teresa Palmer may hail from Down Under, but Access Hollywood.com’s latest Rising Star is shooting straight to the top!

After bursting onto the Hollywood scene in 2006 with the well-received indie film,“2:37,” the 24-year-old star has two big screen feature films — “I Am Number Four” and “Take Me Home Tonight” — set for release within the next two weeks.

“It’s been a crazy whirlwind,” Teresa told AccessHollywood.com of her recent success. “It all feels very surreal and overwhelming and exciting all at the same time and I’m really trying to immerse myself in this experience, because who knows when I’ll have this opportunity again.”

Hailing from Adelaide, Australia, the bubbly blonde worked in a local mall before breaking into showbiz – a hobby she didn’t necessarily view as a career possibility at the time.

“I went to a private catholic school for 13 years and I never really thought about pursuing acting seriously,” Teresa told AccessHollywood.com. “I was working on the weekends for this agency and they would send me out on various jobs and I would dress up as different characters and earn money that way.

“In the past, I’ve dressed up as Bugs Bunny, Strawberry Shortcake, a Christmas fairy and Santa’s little helpers and that was the extent of the acting work I had done,” she continued. “Then I met an 18-year-old director and he decided to cast me in his first [student] film [‘2:37’] and the film ended up having its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 — which is really what kick-started my career.”

Now, Teresa is starring opposite former “That ‘70s Show” star Topher Grace and big screen funnywoman Anna Faris in “Take Me Home Tonight” – a comedy set in the big-haired, blue eye-shadowed, fluorescent glory of the 1980s.

“I was sort of new to acting still when I was cast in ‘Take Me Home’ — I didn’t understand preparing for a role and doing research,” Teresa told Access. “I arrived to Arizona — which is where we shot the film — pretty unprepared… I was greeted at my apartment by this big ‘80s kit that Topher and his producing partner, Gordon Kaywin, had put together for us and it had all the John Hughes movies, CDs full of ‘80s songs and a lot of ‘80s trinkets.

“It was wonderful,” she continued. “I had my ‘80s education in a few hours and got rushed onto the set and thrown in the deep end. But it was such a wonderful experience.”

In addition to her role in the flashback comedy, Teresa stars in the upcoming sci-fi action thriller, “I Am Number Four,” alongside Alex Pettyfer and his real-life girlfriend, “Glee’s” Dianna Agron – an experience she described as “exhausting.”

”The actual experience of shooting ‘I Am Number Four’ was very exhausting for me because I play a warrior and she’s so feisty and badass and sassy,” Teresa told Access. “I didn’t want to do the disservice to [my character] Number 6 of not knowing how to do my own stunts and fighting. [My character] knew how to do it, I wanted to know how to do it.”

Playing the film’s “badass” alien warrior came with a price – a hefty amount of physical preparation and training.

“With that character I really had to stay in the zone, even between shoot days,” Teresa revealed. “I was so focused on becoming a martial artist and I was training during my down time with the stunt team and working and harnessing my skills.”

The actress is now based in Los Angeles and has developed a strategy for combating homesickness as she pursues her career in Hollywood – regular visits with mom.

“I have a three-month rule with my mom,” Teresa told Access. “We have to see each other every three months. She’s actually here at the moment, going on press tours with me for both these movies, so I get to have her for four months and that helps to ease the homesickness.”

Despite rampant online reports which claim the Aussie beauty is attached to the upcoming film, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Teresa said George Miller’s reboot of the sci-fi franchise is not on her schedule.

“I was in negotiations on the film last year but there [were] scheduling conflicts with ‘I Am Number Four,’ so, I ended up not being able to do the film,” she told Access. “I believe it’s on hiatus, but I have no affiliation with the project anymore.

“I do love George Miller… I know this: ‘Mad Max,’ in my opinion, will be the best ‘Mad Max’ yet,” she added. “It’s a phenomenal script.”

See Teresa “kick ass” in “I Am Number Four ” (in theaters now) and “Take Me Home Tonight,” when it his theaters on March 4.

-- Erin O’Sullivan

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