Fiona Samuel has found success as an actor, writer and director. Her first acting job was in long-running soap Close to Home, and she followed that with appearances in a number of film and TV shows. Samuel’s greatest passion, however, is for writing and directing. She was the creative force behind The Marching Girls, and has written scripts for shows such as Outrageous Fortune, The Almighty Johnsons and Rude Awakenings. Samuel also wrote and directed award-winning one-off dramas Piece of My Heart, and Bliss: The Beginning of Katherine Mansfield.
In this ScreenTalk, Samuel talks about:
- Being too theatrical on the set of Close to Home
- Creating the concept for The Marching Girls
- Discovering her scriptwriting skills needed an overhaul
- Adding a prostitute to the original story in Home Movie
- How a surprising statistic led her to create the documentary Virginity
- Taking 10 years to get Piece of My Heart funded
- The reasons she picked the main actresses
- Bringing a fresh but authentic feel to Bliss
- Wishing she’d had even more opportunities in her career
This video is available on YouTube
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Actor Rena Owen came to international fame through her role as matriarch Beth Heke in the hard-hitting feature film, Once Were Warriors, based on the Alan Duff novel about a Māori family struggling with domestic violence, gang culture and urban alienation. She is currently living and working in Los Angeles and and is developing an adaptation of the novel, Behind the Tattooed Face by Heretaunga Pat Baker. Behind the Tattooed Face was the first novel written by a Māori about pre-European Māori. Owen hopes to return to NZ to film it once the financing is in place. Owen was back in New Zealand recently to work on Vincent Ward's Rain of the Children and Fiona Samuel's upcoming TV drama, Piece of My Heart. In this interview she talks with Clare O'Leary about:
- her beginnings in theatre as an actor and playwright;
- her many television drama roles and how she got her break on the landmark drama series, E Tipu E Rea;
- her role as Beth in Warriors;
- making a living as a Kiwi actor overseas;
- working on New Zealand stories (Behind the Tattooed Face, Piece of My Heart);
- the significance of working with Māori creative teams and crew.
Find out more about Rena Owen on NZ On Screen. This interview is available to download and distribute in two parts (Part One and Part Two) on YouTube.