Brea Grant is everywhere these days. She truly embodies the statement, “The future of film is female.” From directing the stellar 12 Hour Shift (2020 – read our review of the film here) to starring in three films in the last two years all the way to a cameo in one of my favorites of the last year, Brea is invading the horror genre, and that’s 100% a good thing. She’s the one to watch. To celebrate her film, Lucky, being released on VOD, Digital and DVD August 3, 2021, I chatted with Brea about what inspired the film, what she loves about horror, and what’s up next.
PopHorror: Hi, Brea! I’m really excited to speak with you. I’m a huge fan! So thank you so much for taking the time.
Brea Grant: Yeah, thank you!
PopHorror: You wrote and starred in Lucky. What inspired the story, and did you write it with yourself in mind for May?
Brea Grant: I did not write it with myself in mind. For awhile, I was attached to direct. And then I took it to Epic Pictures. They already had this relationship with Natasha Kermani, and they came back to me and said, “Oh, we really want Natasha to direct, and you to star.” I kind of had to wrap my brain around that, but I was a fan of Natasha’s work already, so that was super helpful. We had a conversation, and she just really got the script. She understood it. She was like, “I’m picturing you as the lead,” and I was like, “Oh, okay!” And we kind of went from there.
And what inspired it… I mean, the movie is obviously a big metaphor about the theme of normalizing violence against women. But for me personally, it was that and it was also addressing what I feel like I’ve seen a lot of my female friends go through, and a little bit of a catharsis as well because I had gone through something personally that I felt like I still hadn’t really worked through or dealt with involving a violent incident. So, it’s kind of a combination of all those things but with trying to say something a little bit bigger.
PopHorror: I was reading something earlier today, and they mentioned that [the film is] showing a woman reliving a trauma over and over and how women—and people in general—have to relive traumas over and over, and how people don’t understand that sometimes. And that’s kind of like what she was meeting with people. I noticed that so I really appreciate the movie in general for just that alone.
Brea Grant: That’s super insightful. I mean, anyone who’s been through it knows that’s part of it. You live through this experience, and you go to the police. You have to live through it again. You go to court… you have to live through it again. Then you’re in therapy for God knows how long, and then you write a movie about it and have to do interviews about it.
PopHorror: Right! And she mentions that! In the movie, she’s like, “I’m answering the same damn question over and over with the same enthusiasm that I did before,” and I’m like, “Oh, I’m part of that.”
Brea Grant: Sorry! It was not a slight, it was not slight. It’s funny. I have a lot of friends who are writers, and I reached out to them and I was like, “What’s that like to tour the book?” Because I haven’t really done it. I write graphic novels, but I’ve never done a tour. And they’re like, “Oh my God. Everyone in every city has the same exact questions, and you just have to learn to have this canned answer.” And I was like, “Oh, this is cool. I’m going to use this in my movie.”
PopHorror: You are quickly becoming a fan favorite, and you’re in so many things just recently. What is it that draws you to horror?
Brea Grant: Thank you for saying that. I’m a fan of the genre. I have been for a long time. I love horror movies. I love genre movies in general. I love the cool stuff that is happening with genre movies right now. And for me, as an actor, I think at first I was really drawn to them because I was a fan, because they were fun to do, and because they generally have a lot of cool roles for women who hadn’t done much yet. So you make your way in, and get a cool, interesting, leading role—or any cool role—in a genre movie. But as a filmmaker, I think I’m drawn to them because they offer you the space to tell bigger stories and to say something bigger. I think of it as like a spoonful of sugar. You get to play in this genre space. You can talk about these big issues that you care about, and then people actually watch them and give a shit. And maybe people didn’t even know they’re going to watch a movie about violence against women, but then they did. I get to kind of talk about the stuff that I’m politically interested in and passionate about within a space that I think allows me to explore it.
PopHorror: You are the trifecta. You act, you direct, you write… What is one piece of advice that you wish someone had given to you when you were first starting out?
Brea Grant: I think at one point I would have said not to compare myself to other people because that’s something I felt like I was constantly trying to do, figure out how I could be more like this person or successful like this person. Because it always felt like I was never quite doing what I wanted to be doing. That was something I really struggled with and still do to an extent.
But I think now, I would tell myself looking back, that I should push myself more, to find these other outlets. I started writing graphic novels early in my acting career—2008, 2009—my first one came out, and I really liked it. But being a young woman who was making a living doing acting, no one’s very interested in what I had to write or what I wanted to direct or anything like that. The agency managers were not pushing me. I wish I would have just said, “No, I’m gonna write more, and I’m going to direct more,” because I think I have more to say than being in these things that are already being handed to me.
PopHorror: I think you have a lot to say. I loved this movie. I loved 12 Hour Shift, The Stylist… One of my favorites this year was Happily and you had a small part…
Brea Grant: Oh my God, yes! Oh I should tell [Director BenDavid Grabinski], he’ll love that.
PopHorror: Yeah, he was great! I interviewed him [read that interview here] when that came out. It was last minute, and I watched it really quickly that day and loved it. So good. I wish that more people were talking about it.
Brea Grant: Side story… I was doing a lot of interviews for this, but then it was really clear when people hadn’t seen the movie because they’d be like, “Oh and you’re in this new movie, Happily,” and I’m like, “Well, I’m not in it,” and I’d have to call him and be like, “BenDavid. This is on my IMDb. People think I’m like the star of this movie. This looks insane.” But really, it’s that he’s one of my writing buddies, and he sends me stuff and I give him notes, and I will really push him to go make that movie. So he’s like, “I need you to be in it, because you’ve been a part of this since the beginning,” and I was like, “Fine. I get to do a scene with Charlyne Yi.”
PopHorror: It was one of those where you’re like, “That looks a lot like… Yes, I think that’s… Oh, that’s… !”
Brea Grant: My cameo!
PopHorror: Yes! So what’s up next for you, Brea?
Brea Grant: I’m actually in New Orleans right now, and I start a new movie in two days. I’m directing a movie for Blumhouse and Epix Television. Katie Segal and Alexxis Lumire are the two cast members who have been announced so far. And yeah, it’s really fun. It’s a horror movie set in the country music world.
PopHorror: That’s intriguing! I’ll have to keep an eye out for that. And I just have one last question for you today. What is your favorite scary movie?
Brea Grant: Oohh, good question. I tend to like the ones that are a little bit funnier. And also, I’m a child of the ’90s.
PopHorror: I am, too!
Brea Grant: The movies that come to mind are always like Scream, 28 Days Later… But the movie that really changed me, which you’re going to laugh, was Tremors. Tremors was a movie that I watched when I was a kid, entirely too young, on TV. I still can rewatch it and be like, “This is brilliant fucking movie.” It’s brilliant. It’s funny. The main characters are funny. For that era, it’s shockingly diverse. It even has a lady scientist. There are things about it that you kind of forget about. It’s a cool movie.
PopHorror: And Kevin Bacon.
Brea Grant: And Kevin Bacon, of course, who is just a dreamboat in that movie.
Thank you so much, Brea, for taking the time to speak with us. Be sure to catch Lucky on VOD, Digital and DVD, out on August 3, and also on Shudder.