Kiwi-Samoan actress to hit big screen

By Fuimaono Lumepa Hald 22 May 2022, 1:03AM

The 28-year-old Kiwi-Samoan actress Frankie Adams is set for the big screen and will feature in a film with American actress Sigourney Weaver. 

Together with Ms Weaver and Alycia Dednam-Carey, they are working on an adaptation of Holly Ringland’s debut novel The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, according to Golden Globe Awards.

Ms Adams has been a professional actress for more than a decade. The Kiwi-Samoan actress’ breakout role came at the age of 16 through the New Zealand series Shortland Street, in which she played the troubled teen Ulla Levi. 

According to the Golden Globe awards, the young actress played several roles from when she was a teenager as well as young Aboriginal woman Tasha Goodwin in the Australian TV series Wentworth. 

"Her career then expanded to America, where she landed the role of Martian Marine Bobbie Draper in Season 2 of Syfy’s space drama series The Expanse, set 200 years into the future and based on the best-selling books by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck," read the article.

The actress told the Golden Globe awards about her role in the film with Sigourney Weaver. 

"I did end up having quite a lot of scenes with Sigourney because I play her adoptive daughter. It was just wonderful. She is a pro and charming and incredibly smart," she said.

"She was so warm and welcoming. I have been acting for more than 10 years and she has been doing it for so long, so I just wanted to learn from her and we ended up becoming very close and laughing a lot and being really silly. 

"Hopefully, we made some beautiful work together," said the actress.

According to the actress, the movie depicted women who came together to heal, and what she thought was special about it was the flower farm which was appealing.

"But also the flower farm is a refuge for women who go and do their own work there and heal and get a lot of support from each other and it becomes this place for women who have had really difficult lives to come together and find strength in each other. 

"That was very appealing: to find all these flawed women with a lot of colourful pasts and having them all in one place and have them raise children together."

The actress also made reference to a film by Taika Waititi called Next Goal wins. In the film she plays a reporter called Frangipani from Samoa.

"Yes, I only went on set for a couple of days, but it was certainly a lot of fun. I am only in it for a brief moment, but I play a reporter called Frangipani from Samoa, and she is pretty funny," she said.

The actress also acknowledge Taika Waititi's role in opening up pathways for Pacific islanders and Maori people in the acting industry, saying he gave Pasifika and the Maori community a lot of exposure.

"He has given us a lot of exposure and that has been a big help because we have always been here. 

"For centuries, Polynesian and Pacific Island people have been performing and dancing and singing, but we got exposure through people like Taika. 

"He does tend to cast a lot of Pacific Islander talent and Māori talent, so he is pushing us out on to the world stage and making sure that people see us."

When asked for her role in the Teine Sa - The Ancient Ones, which is a five-part horror series in which modern women have encounters with the ancient Pacific Island goddesses and learn from them, she reflected on what she learned from her cultural heritage as a Pacific islander.

"I hope that most of the work that I do does something for people who look like me. I think as a modern, young Pacific Islander woman a lot of those parts of history were things I heard as a child but did not really explore as an adult, so it was important for me as an adult to learn about that. Also, us making that show made us able to teach all our fellow Pacific Islanders about our cultural heritage."

She also fought to play the role of Tessa in a film called the Panthers, a series about the founding of the Polynesian Panthers in the 1970s.

According to the actress it was an important role though small because it had an incredible story about a young woman who worked really hard to support her child.

"When I heard that project was happening, I just had to be part of it. I have always admired the Polynesian Panthers and what they have done for our people. 

"Tessa was a smaller role, but I felt like she was a representation of so many women at that time, who would do anything for their children, and despite their circumstances found their way to make it work even though it was at the detriment of their own health and safety. 

"I felt like it was an incredible story to have a young woman working really hard to make sure her child eats and lives and at the same time trying to live her own life and trying to find her own way romantically. 

"I wanted to play her so badly and I was very happy the producers agreed."

In her role as an Aboriginal woman in the Australian TV series Wentworth, Ms Adams said that she learnt a lot about the history of the indigenous people and the trickle-down effect of the generational trauma. 

"That was honestly one of the best parts of the job because I was brought up by my Samoan mother and my dad passed away when I was younger, so I did not have a chance to explore that part of me, so when I got Wentworth, it was an opportunity for me to go and talk to my cousins and learn about where I was from and talk about the history. 

"It was quite a lot to hear about how terribly the Indigenous People had been treated there and the trickle effect and the generational trauma because of that, but I also feel very lucky to explore it through work. 

"A lot of my work has taught me things that I needed to know that maybe I would not have explored on my own had I not had these opportunities."

Ms Adams told the Golden Globe Awards that when there is a Polynesian character in a film, she fights really hard to get it.

"When there is a role for a specifically Polynesian character, I fight really hard on those auditions because they are far and few in between and sometimes we can be miscast," she said. 

"I think it’s like that for all the young people like me, and all the other brown actors, who are working their asses off. They are kicking down doors for the rest of us, who should all be on a world stage and be telling our stories. 

"It is still not popularised in a way that I would like to see: there are not a lot of Polynesian actors on screen, but I think it is slowly happening – and we should all be on stage because we are really talented and beautiful and funny.

"None of my family are actors, so I am pretty proud that I did that. I think that if you really set your mind on something, things can start to happen; The things that you want and hope for," she said.

As for the next twenty years, Ms Adams hopes to have her own production company to support other artists.

"I would love to start a production company, write and direct and support other artists, who want to create. I want to continue to make work that I am proud of. If I read something that I connect with, I want to continue doing that and hopefully, it speaks to people," she said.

By Fuimaono Lumepa Hald 22 May 2022, 1:03AM
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