McKenna Grace takes on a new role in ‘Bad Seed Returns’
8 p.m. Sept. 5 on Lifetime
Some actors who are cast as villains choose to make their characters believe that what they’re doing is actually a good thing. Mckenna Grace approaches the evil game in a different way. What she did in the 2018 remake of “The Bad Seed” and continues with “The Bad Seed Returns” is play 15-year-old Emma as not having a good bone in her body.
“She is just totally evil. And that’s what’s fun about her,” Grace says. “She is very planned but unpredictable. I gravitate towards the darker things. I do not know why.
“I think the darker stories that make people feel uncomfortable are sometimes important to tell. As I get older, and keep playing, and realizing that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life, I pick more of the stories that I really want to be able to tell, and I guess they’re pretty dark.
She enjoyed playing someone purely evil in the first film so much that Grace and her father, Dr. Ross Burge, wrote the script for the sequel, which aired at 8 p.m. on September 5 on Lifetime with as much wrongdoing as they could. could pack some into a made-for-cable movie.
Executive producer Mark Wolper can testify that Grace enjoys taking on dark roles. The original script was much darker, especially in regards to how evil Emma had become. The character and the script had to be lightened up a bit before filming began.
What viewers will see is that Emma seems like a typical teenager. Several years after the deadly events of the first film that left her father (Rob Lowe) dead, Emma now lives with her Aunt Angela and navigates high school. Angela’s husband begins to suspect that Emma may not be as innocent as she looks and suggests sending her to boarding school.
There is also a threat at school. A new girl (Ella Dixon) at school seems to know Emma’s secrets, leaving Emma no choice but to go back to her old ways and take care of her enemies by any means necessary.
“The Bad Seed Returns” is part of a career for Grace that has changed over the years. When she looks back on all the work she’s done, Grace sees three very different moments in her career.
“Whenever I was little-little, I was like the fun little blonde girl. Either I was nuts or I was nice. But then, as I got older, I came across Christmas Flint (“Troop Zero” ) and Phoebe Spengler (“Ghostbusters: Afterlife”), who were kind of these more interesting, fun, characterful people to play. It started to become more fun and interesting stories that I really got to explore,” says Grace. “All the younger versions I played of people, and then all of a sudden it all went from all this fun, characterful stuff to dark, dramatized. Or I kill people.”
“I’m really a very energetic and happy person.”
‘The Bad Seed Returns’ is the latest project from the busy schedule which also included ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Gifted’. She’s only 16 but already has 31 TV credits.
It looks like the Texas native would have enough to keep her busy without writing her first TV movie script. It started with a family discussion about what screenplay they could write that would have the best chance of being made. They knew there was already interest in a sequel to “The Bad Seed.”
The idea was sound but Grace saw countless scripts but never wrote one. His father admits he tried writing vampire novels when he was 13, but the only real writing experience he had was writing medical research papers.
“I was trying to figure out how to write it in teleplay format. So I watch YouTube videos and google how to write dialogue. And then Mckenna is like, ‘No, your dialogue is terrible.
They finally solved this problem and finished the script which was then sent to Wolper. He was initially apprehensive when he saw the script.
“I just sit there one day and a script pops up. It’s a producer’s worst nightmare because I love Ross and Mckenna and Crystal, his mother,” Wolper says. “And I’m like, ‘Oh no, a script from them. It’s going to be terrible. What am I going to tell them? This is the most embarrassing situation.
“And then I started reading this script, and I couldn’t put it down. I sent it to Lifetime within 10 minutes of finishing reading it.
Tanya Lopez, executive vice president of scripted content at Lifetime, calls Grace’s work an incredible achievement, as it pushed the talented actress into a new realm. By the time the script arrived, it was given a green light.