Meteoric rise to 'Spaced'

Aussie actor tapped for comedy pilot

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Three months ago, Australian actor Josh Lawson came to Los Angeles to take a shot at a Hollywood career.

Now he has scored a talent deal at Fox as well as his first U.S. role as the lead of the network's comedy pilot "Spaced."

Lawson was auditioning for small movie parts when he was spotted by Fox talent scouts who brought him in to meet with the network's head of casting Marcia Shulman.

Shulman called the meeting "my little 'American Idol' moment," saying she knew right away she had discovered a great new talent.

"He was really genuinely funny and understood comedy in a very classic way," Shulman said of Lawson, a graduate of Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Art who lists Groucho Marx and Buster Keaton among his influences. "He is adorable but brilliantly and surprisingly funny. We all have been describing him as Matthew Perry meets Robin Williams."

Shulman and her team were putting the finishing touches on a talent deal with Lawson when Fox picked up the single-camera comedy pilot "Spaced."

Based on the British series of the same name, the project, produced by Warner Bros. TV, Wonderland and Granada America, revolves around two strangers who pose as a married couple in order to rent an apartment.

Shulman immediately sent the script to Lawson, who turned out to be a fan of the original series. The actor hit it off with the pilot's producers and landed the male lead.

Lawson, who honed his comedy skills with a 2004 fellowship that brought him to the U.S. to study at the Groundlings, Improv Olympic, Acme Improv and Second City, has been a rising star in Australia.

During the past year, he starred on the comedy "The Librarians" and two of Australia's most popular series, drama "Sea Patrol" and improv comedy "Thank God You're Here," which has been remade in a number of countries, including the U.S.

Lawson is repped by Management 360 and attorney Karl Austen.