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THE WEST AUSTRALIAN – Freya Tingley was left gobsmacked following her first encounter with Hollywood movie icon Clint Eastwood.

But it wasn’t because the burgeoning Perth actress was starstruck.

Rather, the 19-year-old had been madly racking her brain after Eastwood told her that they’d met before – at Cottesloe Beach.

“I said ‘I’m sorry I don’t remember’, then he said ‘I’m just joking’,” Tingley laughed to AAA yesterday.

“I asked him how he knew about Cottesloe Beach and he said he has a friend in Perth who told him that’s where all the cool kids hang out.”

Jokes aside, Eastwood was very taken with Tingley, having chosen her to star in his next directional project, a film adaptation of the popular Broadway musical Jersey Boys.

“I auditioned for the casting director and my tape was sent off with two other girls to Clint Eastwood, and he was taking a look at the tapes and picked me,” Tingley said.

“I’m a big fan of the 70s for film. I feel like its a golden era of film and he’s such a big contributor of that era. So to be working for someone who is so renowned and respected is really exciting.”

Although it’s not her first brush with a major Hollywood star, Tingley has relished the opportunity to work alongside the 83-year-old in the film, where she plays Frankie Valli’s daughter.

“He’s a very calm and knowing person, he just knows so much,” she said.

“Before I was going to be working for him, I did my research and decided to YouTube some actors who had worked with him. Meryl Streep said when you’re being directed by him, you don’t know you’re being directed by him. So when I was on set, he’ll talk you through the scene rather than tell you ‘I want you to do this’. I liked his way of directing.”

While Los Angeles-based Tingley is back in Perth for Christmas, the 19-year-old is yet to catch her breath this year.

Since January, the pint-sized actress has kept busy with a string of TV and film projects, including a guest stint as the Peter Pan heroine Wendy Darling in hit US TV drama Once Upon A Time.

She also scored a movie role in the upcoming crime thriller Swelter, which sees her star alongside Hollywood heavyweight Jean-Claude Van Damme and fellow Aussie actor Grant Bowler.

“I ended up shooting that in April and May, that was like a five-week shoot, which was awesome,” she said. “We shot it out in a place called Piru, which is an hour-and- a-half drive out of LA. It’s all sandy, kind of like a desert.”

Despite being back home for a much-needed break, Tingley has kept busy with a number of auditions which she has filmed with the help of mum Coppelia in the family living room.

“I’m still sending self-tapes off to America,” she said. “It is busy, but I love it. I love to keep working. I don’t really like holidays.

“But I like spending time with my dad, too, because I only see him every six months for like a week or two. So that’s a really valuable time.”