Grace Beside Me: Bayswater actor dreams of being next Heath Ledger


Year 9 Guildford Grammar School student Tjiirdm McGuire (13) of Bayswater.  Tjiirdm will play one of the lead characters called Yar in NITV’s first live-action series, Grace Beside Me. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au   d478937
Year 9 Guildford Grammar School student Tjiirdm McGuire (13) of Bayswater. Tjiirdm will play one of the lead characters called Yar in NITV’s first live-action series, Grace Beside Me. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d478937

BAYSWATER actor and Guildford Grammar School Year 9 student Tjiirdm McGuire, set to make his television debut, dreams of becoming WA’s next Heath Ledger.

The 13-year-old plays the lead role Yar in NITV’s first live action series Grace Beside Me, which will air on February 16.

The series, directed by Lynn-Maree Danzey, Beck Cole and Nicholas Verso, is adapted from the award-winning novel by Sue McPherson.

It was co-commissioned with ABC Me while the Disney Channel licensed the series in Australia and New Zealand.

Grace Beside Me is based on the story of Indigenous teenager Fuzzy Mac (played by Kyliric Masella), who wants to be an ordinary teenager, despite her ancestors having other plans and her being able to see ghosts.

Tjiirdm, who was the first Aboriginal head boy at Hillcrest Primary School in 2015, said he filmed the series for about three months in Beaudesert in the south-east of Queensland

“It was a really good experience meeting other people, made long-lasting relationships and friendships with the other actors,” he said.

“Yar is really odd – he is different, he is flamboyant, likes to think outside of the box, he always has an idea which sounds crazy but works.

“I have already watched the first episode so it was really funny and it was weird seeing myself up on TV.”

Following his roles in films Three Summers and 11 Days and The Range, the actor of four years believed the series was “special”.

“It brings out that Aboriginal culture and it tells young kids to listen and do what they are told,” Tjiirdm said.

“Fuzzyshe didn’t want anything to do with it but later on in the TV series, she got interested and started helping out.”

He said his short term goal was to focus on school before pursuing his love for acting in the long-term.

“I’m in Year 9 now and I got NAPLAN testing coming up so I got to study,” he said.

“When I was young, I used to get up and dance and sing for mum and dad.

“So, that’s where mum got the idea to put me on a website and then we got little short films, build up to my agent and that’s where I’m at.

“Long-term (goal) would basically be WA’s next Heath Ledger.”

Watch Grace Beside Me weekly on NITV from February 16 at 7.30pm.

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