Actor Chaydon Jay

WORDS: Caroline Russo Visit: PHOTOGRAPHY Ruby Bell

Delighted to spotlight young rising star actor Chaydon Jay, who played young Elvis Presley in the highly successful film production on the Gold Coast, ELVIS,  with master filmmaker Baz Luhrmann during Covid.  Elvis, which has received many awards, opened at the Cannes Film Festival last year and had its Australian premiere on the Gold Coast with the major stars attending. The film is still creating a buzz and can be seen on streaming channels.  I met Chaydon recently at the SPA screen awards and was highly impressed meeting him. At the age of 16 years, he displays such maturity along with star power and with sharp good looks he is determined to make a name for himself – he will be one to watch.

  1. Tell us about your background, where your family comes from and what school do you attend?


I was born on the Northern Beaches of Sydney where my parents spent most of their lives before moving to the Gold Coast. We came to the Gold Coast when I was 2 years old.

My father was born in Malta. His father was from Yorkshire, England and his mother is Maori.

My mother was born in Canberra and spent her childhood growing up in Indonesia and Singapore.

So fair to say we are a well-travelled family especially as both my parents have worked in the travel industry for over 20 years.


  1. What was your first attraction to acting and what was your first experience or role?


I started in the industry when I was 8 years old doing mostly commercial and still photography work.  It was during lockdown that I decided to explore the idea of training more intensely with script work and developing my acting skills.  A year after focusing on that, I got the opportunity to audition for the part of young Elvis.  Without a doubt it was that experience of working with Baz Luhrmann that ignited my passion and I knew then that being an actor is what I want to do in my life.

Photography – Tamara Bretas

  1. When you found out you were to audition for the young Elvis part how did you prepare and what was it like to meet Baz Luhrmann first up?


I did a few auditions for the role and remember the first time I met Baz on set.  It’s a moment you don’t forget.  I was with a group auditioning and in walks Baz, his energy was infectious. I remember thinking how cool he was, his clothes, his hair.  He was so engaging and generous with his time.  You can see how much he invests into his creativity.

Most of my preparation for the role was spent learning about Elvis.  I was a young kid who knew very little about him.  I would watch his interviews and his performances.  I researched his time as a young person and practised how he moved while listening to a collection of his songs on repeat.


  1. Do you know how many went for your role and when Baz told you, you were it? What was your first feeling and how did you celebrate?


I don’t know how many went for the role of young Elvis, but I do know it was a national search and a few rounds of auditions.  Many of the crew were shocked to learn I lived on the Gold Coast; they thought I had flown in for the role.

Baz was very gracious and welcoming to me.  When I got the role, he rang my mum directly to invite me into the “Elvis movie family”. It’s not normal for a director to make that call and I felt very honoured.

I don’t recall celebrating as I got straight to work but I know I did have a big smile on my face for a very long time.


  1. How many days on set were you and what are your fondest memories of attending the Premiere night?


I was on set over a few weeks and rehearsing with an amazing movement coach, Polly Bennett, as well as working very closely with Baz.

The Premiere night was over a year after we filmed and it was so fabulous seeing Baz, Austin and many other cast and crew members again.  The magic of that night was watching the film for the first time.  It really does deserve all the awards it has received.


  1. You have grown up so much since the film and now at 16 years, you have become AFI/AACTA Youth Ambassador this year. What things can you tell us that you may be up to and what you’re inspired to do?


Over the 8 years I have spent in this industry, working with amazing directors and travelling parts of the world, there are many experiences I’ve been fortunate enough to have and many lessons I’ve learnt along the way.  Australia is getting an international spotlight as a location hub for film and tv production.  Charlotte Stent and I are working with AACTA as youth ambassadors to help direct attention towards youth in the industry and provide guidance toward their best opportunities and endeavours.

There are many avenues and areas of film, and we are hoping to encourage the younger generation to explore all areas so that we can sustain the growth of this industry here in Australia.

Photography – Tamara Bretas

  1. As you’re still so young, what guidance are you given and by whom?  Are there other ambitions you’d like to look at? If so, what are they at present?


At my age, I am constantly inspired and guided by other actors and screen industry professionals.  Being in this industry is something you can’t do on your own.  I remind myself to appreciate and learn from every experience and every professional I get to work with.


  1.   What films and music do you like, and what are your favourite things to do?


My favourite films are those that inspire me as an actor and as a person.  Some of my favourite films are Fight Club, At Eternity’s Gate, Sounds of Metal and Joker.

  1. What are the most important things to you?


Being motivated, working, and growing as an actor. Friends and family.  You can learn a lot from people you meet along the way.


  1. What are things on your wish list yet to do?


I am extremely passionate about acting and being so young, there are many experiences I wish to have.  My goal is to work with scripts and people that inspire me.