Kiwi Film House Producer Chelsea Grant talks openly about her upcoming TV series, her first feature film and life on the other side of the world!
Feature by Penelope Brooke Hamilton.

chelsea grant (2)

Penelope: Kiwi Film House! What a name, where did it come from?
Chelsea: Being a proud New Zealander I wanted the world to know where I come from. Kiwi just felt right. And film house makes it flow. I believe in creating a family feel work environment, anyone I’ve worked with will tell you that.
Penelope: And you did three tests last year? What was that like?
Chelsea: Yes I got to work with a new crew and some great cast members. We filmed a bit of my feature Drug Nation. I was very happy with it.

Penelope: You wrote it and are producing it? You direct as well so will you be directing the feature?
Chelsea: At this stage I won’t be. I have written the full length script, I am an EP on it, KFH is producing it, and however I admire a lot of directors so I have reached out to them.

Penelope: Tell us about Drug Nation?
Chelsea: It’s a mix of “Girl Interrupted”, “Black Swan” and “Basketball Diaries”. It’s dark, it’s a little twisted at times but I’m really happy with it and the characters.

Penelope: Are the characters based on you? Or any part of your life?
Chelsea: Lol. Well. I don’t want to admit it because some of them are crazy! But once upon a time I had a colourful past. While the characters aren’t a true reflection of myself, I do draw on experiences I’ve had, or people that I’ve known have had, or events that I’ve witnessed.
I think to be a good film maker and a good writer you need to have lived a life. While you can use your imagination to an extent, there are just some things you need to have lived and to have felt to understand how the characters should be acting.

Penelope: Given its title I’m guessing Drug Nation is about drugs?
Chelsea: It does contain drugs and drug abuse, and the way drugs can ruin and derail your life. The film will show this and show it honestly. I’ve known girls who use and abuse drugs as a way of making themselves feel like they have a purpose. I’ve known people who live only for the weekend and for that moment they can use drugs. I lived in Sydney for years and yes when I was in my early 20s I partied and saw a lot of that world. It’s such a waste of life. You don’t get anywhere from taking drugs, you don’t become any better, and sometimes you lose your life.

Penelope: Model Citizen is something you created also? That’s for TV, doing a Lena Dunham, writing, acting and producing?
Chelsea: I like to think of it as doing a Chelsea Grant. Yes Model Citizen is a TV series I’ve created. The pilot is currently in development. We are really looking forward to it. A lot of people are. I would like to think of it as doing a Chelsea Grant. I love and respect Lena. She has opened the doors for people in a similar position to her.

Penelope: Is it similar to Drug Nation?
Chelsea: No actually it’s completely different. I have a very girly side, a very edgy and sassy side. And that’s where Model Citizen comes from. It’s my sasha fierce!

Penelope: I’ve heard it’s similar to Gossip Girl?
Chelsea: Yes and no. It’s a similar genre, but the target audience would be slightly older. GG had a huge tween fan base, this will be more adolescent and adults. It’s a mix of GG, sex and the city, girls, but anyone who has read it will tell you it’s not like anything they have ever seen before.

Chelsea Grant with Gossip Girls Chase Crawford

Chelsea Grant with Gossip Girls Chase Crawford


Penelope: I hear it may contain nudity?
Chelsea: Yes. You heard right. One of the main characters, Candice, is very shall we say sexy. I love to write powerful female roles who aren’t ashamed to bare all, and she is definitely one of them.

Penelope: I also heard you may be playing her? Is she based on you?
Chelsea: As with all my characters they all have a part of me in them, it’s my voice after all. However she is a lot bolder than I am. She makes me laugh. She is someone I admire.

Penelope: And will you be playing her?
Chelsea: There are about six lead roles in this, and I will be playing one of them. As I said she is very bold so I will need to be ready for that if I choose to play her.

Chelsea Grant with Young Actress Brett Hargrave at the Celebrity Connected Oscars Gifting Suite Los Angeles

Chelsea Grant with Young Actress Brett Hargrave at the Celebrity Connected Oscars Gifting Suite Los Angeles

Penelope: How comfortable are you with nudity?
Chelsea: When I see the like of Game of Thrones or Girls and they get their kit off I love it! It’s great! It’s real! We don’t get changed alone in our room and hide behind a well-placed plant. Or make love with the sheets up to our heads. So I think sometimes nudity is needed. I want to make MC a real and raw show. So I think it’s needed. In terms of myself I have done a love scene before and I have been nude on set. I just don’t know how comfortable I am with my grandparents watching this show!

Penelope: So your Grandma wouldn’t watch? She’s your biggest fan isn’t she?
Chelsea: She really is my number one supporter. And she loves MC. I know her so well; she would giggle and close her eyes! She’s fabulous.

Penelope: And you’ve written a Grandma into MC, is she based on yours?
Chelsea: Yes Granny Grey is amazing. She is outgoing, sassy, confident, cultured, classy and a hoot. I basically wrote my grandma down. My grandma is one strong woman, and I don’t know too many Grandmas like her that’s for sure!

Penelope: I can’t wait to watch! Any new projects you are working on?
Chelsea: Yes actually I’m developing a script about the Maori. That’s the natives on New Zealand. Think of the ancient Aztec. And the Ancient American Indian. I’m very excited about this. It’s going to be amazing.

Penelope: I heard you wanted Peter Jackson to direct?
Chelsea: You know he’s harder to get to than the Queen. However I have his agent’s details and when I have it complete I will show it to him. I think its best I just walk up to him at a party! Why not.

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Post by Penelope Brooke-Hamilton.

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