About Dichen Lachman
Born in Kathmandu, Nepal on Feb. 22, 1982, she was the daughter of a Tibetan mother, Tashi, and Australian father, Chris. Her father intended to name her "Dechen," translated into Tibetan as "big and prosperous," but misspelled it and instead gave her a name that translated to "big sin." She spent her early years growing up in the Nepali capital in a house populated with her extended family. When Lachman was seven, she and her parents moved to Australia, settling in Adelaide, the capital of the state of South Australia, where her father became an officer in the South Australia Police and her mother a travel agent. Lachman initially attended grade school at West Lakes Shore Primary School and Gilles Street Primary School, followed by suburban Norwood Morialta High School and Annesley College. Upon graduation, she enrolled at the University of Adelaide. It was while at the latter school that the 19-year-old realized she wanted to be an actor.
A year later, Lachman left school and moved to Sydney, where she studied drama at the Australian branch of the New York-based Lynette Sheldon Actors Studio. She spent two years searching in vain for dramatic work while supporting herself by working retail and restaurant jobs. She finally scored her first thespian work, a small part in the Australian-shot teen fantasy film, "Aquamarine" (2006), as well as some commercial work. In 2005, she auditioned for a role on the Aussie soap institution "Neighbours" (1985- ), and although producers did not think she was right to play spoiled WASPY bad-girl Elle Robinson, she dazzled them so much that they created a whole new character for her, Katya Kinski. She would spend the next two years as Katya, a lovelorn nurse with a mysterious past.
In 2007, Lachman rolled the dice and moved to Los Angeles to seek higher-profile projects. She would net two B-grade horror flicks, starting with the role of an Aztec tribal princess in "Tyrannosaurus Azteca" (2007), one of Sci Fi Channel's ultra-low-budget "Sci Fi Originals;" then the vampire retread "Bled" (2009), but spent the better part of a year looking for work without success. Lachman had nearly exhausted her savings when, in early 2008, an audition paid off. Joss Whedon, creator of the cult favorite sci-fi comedy/action TV shows "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (WB/UPN, 1997-2003), "Angel" (WB, 1999-2004); "Firefly" (Fox, 2003-04) and its spin-off feature "Serenity" (2006) was working on a new vehicle for former "Buffy" co-star, Eliza Dushku.
"Dollhouse" follows the workings of a shadowy corporation offering the services of once-sentient young women called "Dolls or "Actives" who can be programmed to serve clients in criminal, erotic or sometimes heroic fashion before being "blanked" afterwards for reprogramming. That is, until they begin to gain self-awareness. As Sierra, a Doll struggling to piece her own traumatic past together even as she wades through her newly programmed identities, Lachman neatly fit Whedon's modus operandi of casting women of distinctly unorthodox beauty and capacity to render textured, strong-willed, oft-snarky characters. Though the show, consigned to a Friday night time-slot, did poorly in the ratings when introduced in February 2009 as a mid-season replacement program, Fox renewed it for its fall 2009 season, anticipating building the rabid cult audience typically developed by Whedon's shows.