Entertainment Post

Bruna Papandrea Wants to Echo New Voices in Hollywood

Bruna Papandrea

Bruna Papandrea has produced film and television for more than two decades – Gone Girl, Wild, and Big Little Lies are only some of her highly-successful projects – however, she is most proud of Luckiest Girl Alive, which premiered on Netflix last week. 

Serving as a producer of the film adaptation of a dark and twisted 2015 novel by Jessica Knoll, Papandrea directed her efforts to bring the story from page to screen for nearly eight years. And while it was a long journey, giving up was not an option for her because she knew that her story and character (portrayed by Mila Kunis) needed a spotlight. 

“Honestly, the project I’m most proud of is Luckiest Girl Alive because it is completely unique in terms of the tone and the themes we were balancing,” the 51-year-old said in an interview with EW. “It’s about how this woman has turned herself into someone else to survive a trauma.” 

The story chronicles the life of successful Ani Fanelli (Kunis), who is in her 20s and is bothered by past trauma. It’s partly inspired by author Knoll’s own experiences. 

Papandrea is aware that the subject matter – gang rape and school shootings – might be difficult for some to watch; however, that’s the same reason she wants everyone to see it. She hopes it will spark hard and necessary conversations. 

“Everyone was so sensitive to all of it because that stuff is really hard to film, and it’s really hard to get right,” she stated. 

“That was the most important thing, doing it authentically. We consulted with RAINN, we consulted with [people from] Sandy Hook, we consulted with Respect Ability. And I’m just really proud that this core team stuck together and that it was a really harmonious, safe, wonderful experience. And hopefully [a lot of people are] going to see it because it’s Netflix.” 

The film reached Netflix’s Top 10 spot in 91 countries in its release, with more than 43.08 million hours viewed during its debut. 

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Papandrea and Female-Driven Tales

Papandrea wants to produce more female-driven stories focusing on characters and voices that need to be echoed. 

“Getting to work on Big Little Lies with ensemble of women, not just in one great role but five female main roles, that to me is just so invigorating,” she stated. 

“But you don’t always get it right, and I think you learn as much from the things that don’t work as the things that do, but I’d rather take the risk and fail. I’m not scared to fail.” 

However, she wasn’t always sure about a vision for her life and work. As a matter of fact, Papandrea didn’t know producing projects about diverse female voices would ultimately become her life’s work – she apparently always thought she’d be an actor. 

“I got rejected from three of the best drama schools in Australia,” she said while laughing. 

“And then I wanted to be a writer, but I wasn’t good at that either, so I became a producer because I feel like all my interests convened in this one spot where I did feel like I was, even from a young age, kind of a champion.

“I was a very passionate young person, I loved telling stories, I loved the theater, I loved movies, I loved books. So, I was like, ‘maybe this is the job for me’ And what quickly became apparent to me was my skills in how I can help other people do that too.”

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Photo: EW

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