THE FILMMAKERS

Based on Our True New Zealand Love Story

SBD_Writer Director NIKKI SI'ULEPA & Pro

NIKKI SI'ULEPA & RACHEL ANETA WILLS

SBD is based on the true love story of it's filmmakers, Nikki Si'ulepa (writer/director) and Rachel Aneta Wills (producer). In 2019 the couple independently distributed SBD to New Zealand cinemas and international film festival audiences. 

Nikki and Rachel have produced five short films between them that have screened at international film festivals including Berlinale, Sydney, Tribeca, MIFF, NZIFF and ImagineNATIVE.

The couple met at an indigenous Māori film festival in May 2015 and it was Rachel that pursued Nikki over the next few months despite some awkward teenage behaviour. Today, the pair are happily married and live in Auckland, New Zealand with their children and a feature film about their endearing start in love. 

(Try and spot their cameos in SBD!)

NIKKI SI'ULEPA & RACHEL ANETA WILLS

SBD is based on the true love story of it's filmmakers, Nikki Si'ulepa (writer/director) and Rachel Aneta Wills (producer). In 2019 the couple independently distributed SBD to New Zealand cinemas and international film festival audiences. 

Nikki and Rachel have produced five short films between them that have screened at international film festivals including Berlinale, Sydney, Tribeca, MIFF, NZIFF and ImagineNATIVE.

The couple met at an indigenous Māori film festival in May 2015 and it was Rachel that pursued Nikki over the next few months despite some awkward teenage behaviour. Today, the pair are happily married and live in Auckland, New Zealand with their children and a feature film about their endearing start in love. 

(Try and spot their cameos in SBD!)

NIKKI SI'ULEPA & RACHEL ANETA WILLS

SBD is based on the true love story of it's filmmakers, Nikki Si'ulepa (writer/director) and Rachel Aneta Wills (producer). In 2019 the couple independently distributed SBD to New Zealand cinemas and international film festival audiences. 

Nikki and Rachel have produced five short films between them that have screened at international film festivals including Berlinale, Sydney, Tribeca, MIFF, NZIFF and ImagineNATIVE.

The couple met at an indigenous Māori film festival in May 2015 and it was Rachel that pursued Nikki over the next few months despite some awkward teenage behaviour. Today, the pair are happily married and live in Auckland, New Zealand with their children and a feature film about their endearing start in love. 

(Try and spot their cameos in SBD!)

CAST

ROBYN PATERSON

"RACHEL"

Robyn was born in Pietermaritzburg but grew up in Somerset West, South Africa. She and her family immigrated to Hamilton, New Zealand in 1994 when she was six years old. 

 

Robyn plays, Rachel (inspired by SBD producer, Rachel Aneta Wills), and is an actor, voice over artist, acting teacher and award winning theatre writer. She’s worked professionally in film, television and theatre since she was only fourteen when she landed her first role on long running New Zealand soap drama, Shortland Street, and hasn’t looked back since. At three years old she was the narrator for her pre-primary Christmas production and loved capturing the attention of the audience. She knew from that moment that all she wanted to do was act. Her mother drove her to Auckland for training and auditions and she signed with her first agent at twelve. Robyn is a graduate at the Unitec Department of Performing & Screen Arts (Auckland, NZ), and the The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre (New York, USA), and studied the  Sandford Meisner technique for two years. 

“Playing Rachel in Same But Different, for sure because everyday, I got to go and work with the most talented, supportive cast and crew who made me laugh. It was rare that we went through a day without laughing on set. And everyone was always on the same page, [we were] there for no other reason than to make a great film and tell a great story. ”

Robyn strongly resonated with her character, Rachel, and describes her as a "woman with a huge heart who’s going through a second adolescence. She’s awkward, gangly and desperate but has an infinite amount of love for the people in her life, putting them first because if they’re okay, she’s okay.” Robyn says that SBD is a story that is topical, relevant and needs to be told. It has a message of love and acceptance that is wonderfully disguised in a funny, warm and sweet way.

Robyn loves a good soy latte in bed, a solid movie selection on long haul flights, restaurants that have extensive gluten free menus, and writing theatre and making herself laugh while doing it.

HANNAH MARTIN

"NIKKI"

Hannah Martin is a model and actor of mixed European and Māori descent from the Māori tribes, Ngāti Ruanui (Taranaki) and Ngāti Raukawa (Ōtaki) and grew up on a farm in Cheltenham just outside Feilding, New Zealand.

She began modelling and acting in 2014 . Her first taste of feature film life was for the award winning sci-fi action comedy film, This Giant Papier Maché Boulder is Actually Really Heavy. Whilst she played a minor role in this film, Hannah was hooked. However, Hannah’s interest in screen arts began at a very young age with her family’s first video camera.

Hannah was attracted to SBD because of it’s female driven production and cast, and had originally arrived at auditions prepared for the role of Rachel but arrived (on a motorbike) and was instead asked to read the role of Rachel’s love interest, Nikki (based on  SBD  writer/director, Nikki Si'ulepa). As fate would have it, Hannah was called back and landed the role in her first major feature film and describes Nikki’s character as passionate, stubborn and cheeky.

Hannah enjoyed the experience on the SBD set. She asserted that “[She] can’t think of a better time to release such an important movie especially with current issues affecting so many people around the world. People should watch this movie. It is about LOVE which the world needs more of regardless of gender and race.”

Hannah is a huge animal lover and is fiercely vegan.

 

Terangi Brown

"TERE"

Terangi plays Rachel’s boss, Tere, (pronounced Teh-Reh with a rolled ‘r’), who constantly battles with Rachel’s lateness and regular butchering of her name. Terangi describes her character as, powerful, smart, savvy, determined, successful, (sometimes scary) woman, wife and mother. She’s worked hard to get to where she is in life and is slowly learning to chill out working hard on her inner calm, (probably instructed from her counsellor for interactions with Rachel in the office). She has a heart of gold and a big capacity to nurture and grow the people around her, which is why she doesn't give up on anyone that easily, even the most annoying ones!

Terangi's father is Canadian, Norwegian, German and American. Her mother is a Cook Islander from Atiu but was born in Rarotonga and has Portugese ancestry.

Terangi was encouraged by friend and SBD director, Nikki Si'ulepa, to audition for the role of Tere. Terangi had never acted before but nervously went to the audition and landed the role and was excited at the opportunity to work with the cast and crew. Despite her lack of acting experience, Terangi knows this role all too well. Terangi was Rachel’s real life boss! Terangi has also been friends with Nikki Si’ulepa for over twenty years, and it was Terangi who originally tried to connect Rachel Aneta Wills and Nikki Si'ulepa, aware of their love for film.

Highlights for Terangi working on the film; “I definitely had a fangirl moment sitting next to Michele Hine, (who plays Rachel’s mum, Margot). She does a bloody good read through.” She also loved watching Nikki and Rachel behind the scenes in their element of film-making. Terangi says; “SBD, to me, is about love. If we let love lead the way, if we surrender to the power of it, we will discover the highest and truest expression of ourselves. A film is such a beautiful way to be exposed to another perspective of life. To be moved by stories and characters that can teach us, lead us and grow us. SBD’s gift to the world is to continue the positive rhetoric and progress being made around the world about the beauty of love between all people.”

Terangi loves salty Margaritas and spicy Bloody Mary’s, chubby babies and cheeky children, a quiet Sunday on the couch with a relaxing essential oil blend diffusing and 90’s RnB playing in the background, fat cats, tropical holidays and family road trips.

Simon Mead

"ROB"

Simon plays Rob who’s the energetic, keen, lover of our leading lady, Rachel (played by Robyn Emma Paterson). He was born and bred in GreyLynn, Auckland, New Zealand and is proud to have been brought up in a very hip and multi-cultural part of town. Simon began acting and signed with his first agent when he was nine years old. However, he believes he’s been playing up and trying to be the centre of attention as far back as he can remember. After his first taste on set, Simon never looked back and knew that acting was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

Simon has appeared in various New Zealand TVNZ 1 and TVNZ 2 shows such as, Nothing Trivial, American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story, Hillary, and Dance Exponents biopic - 'Why Does Love' where he played the drummer Harry Harrillambi and says was a career highlight for him. “That was just an incredible project to be a part of, and will sit with me forever mainly because of the people involved and the music and era. Also playing Sir Edmund Hillary and of course 'Nothing Trivial' which was where my journey in this profession started.”

Simon wanted to audition for SBD because he’d never worked on a feature film before and was really excited about the prospect of being in a comedy. Simon describes his character, Rob, as a, “Naive, young, easily excited uni-student who just can't really see the big picture (bless him). He's a stage five clinger!”. Simon’s most memorable SBD moments were about the people. “Especially Rachel Aneta Wills and Nikki Si'ulepa, they were both very passionate and lovely and kind and that made it an unforgettable experience for me. SBD is a love story more realistic than most in the sense that it’s not perfect but definitely encapsulates the many changes people go through in life to find happiness”.

Simon loves waking up in the middle of the night to watch his football team Manchester City, He also enjoys travelling, cross-fit training, and most of all his lovely girlfriend and their dog.

Jett Willem Morris / Ted Rattray

"INDIE" / "FELIX"

Ted plays Felix, Rachel’s son and was 9 years old when he filmed SBD. Ted is of Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish descent. Here is what he has to say himself.

“I live with my mum, dad and my two older sisters, my two cats, Basil and Robey, dog called Chico, and a rat named, Milo. I love playing X-Box, Fortnite, my dog, my cats, my rat, apples, reading books, pools, hoverboards, my mum, my dad, sausage pasta, basketball, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, Alpino Italian restaurant in Cambridge, and cute furry animals, Youtube and Roblox.”

A friend of Ted’s mum saw a post on Facebook for a call out for a nine year old boy to audition as, ‘Felix’. Ted decided to try out because he thought it would be fun. As it happens, he landed the role!

As a first time actor, Ted describes acting as, “Boring sometimes but sometimes it's fun. The set people [cast/crew] are funny and cool. The fun things are missing school and having so much cucumber! [from catering]”


Ted describes Felix as, “Patient, cool and ‘eye rolly’. His screen mum Rachel is weird and is not a normal mum at all. She is tragic sometimes.”


Ted’s “excited, pumped and braggy” to see himself on the big screen when Same But Different is released.

Jett plays Rachel’s daughter, Indie. Jett has two older brothers and is of Scottish and English descent but refers to herself as a Kiwi. She was 8 years old during the filming of SBD and enjoys singing, swimming, going on holiday, ripper rugby, skating, sports, chocolate, and cheese pizza.

Jett has a special behind the scenes connection to the film; Jett’s mother is SBD producer, Rachel Aneta Wills and her step-mother is SBD director, Nikki Si'ulepa. Indie’s character was inspired by Jett’s real life as Rachel’s daughter, although Jett describes Indie as a girl who, “thinks she’s a superhero and thinks she can do anything and thinks she’s brave”. Jett describes Rachel’s character as, “not the most ‘on-task’ mum, and different in her own way”. Jett played a small role in a short film called, Counting Cars, which is yet to be released and is also made by her mum and Nikki.

Jett is a “bit freaked and excited at the same time” to see herself on the big screen in the film.

Afega Si'ulepa-Mulivai

"FANGS"

Afega (pronounced, Ah-Feh-Nga), or, ‘Fangs’ as she is commonly known, plays herself as the cousin and confidant to Nikki. Afega and Nikki Si'ulepa (SBD director) are real life first cousins and spent a significant time of their upbringing living together with their grandparents. Their sisterly bond formed early and progressed throughout adulthood and it was Afega who Nikki confided in when she was being accosted by Rachel Aneta Wills. Afega saw the true intentions behind Rachel’s advances unlike her oblivious cousin, Nikki.

Afega is a second generation Samoan born in Auckland, New Zealand. (She says she’s also “third generation Wakandan”, and is a huge Marvel and DC movie fan). Fangs grew up in New Zealand and Samoa and currently resides in Auckland with her husband, Fa’asa’o, and their three children, Kenese, Kalani and Kingston.

Afega believes she’s been “acting up” since she was born, however, her professional acting journey began on the set of SBD. When Nikki, messaged Afega in Samoa about auditioning for the role of, ‘Fangs’, (inspired by her), she replied, “Marvel won’t release me”. Nikki then asked her who she would suggest as a suitable actor to play, ‘Fangs’ and Afega replied, “Vivica Fox, but even she’s mediocre”. Auditions went ahead and the call for the character, ‘Fangs’, an underwhelmed, chain-smoking, Samoan, thirty-something, mother of three was sent out. Nikki received a message from Afega asking if it was too late to audition.  “It would tick off a box in my bucket list. Plus, having someone else play Fangs wreaked havoc on my O.C.D. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).” Afega believes the world needs to see SBD because, “It’s about love and love is universal and is something the world needs more of right now. Less judgement. Less hate. Just love’.”

Afega loves being underwhelmed, playing Play Station with her sons, watching cute animal videos online with her daughter, cuddling up with her husband while watching romance movies (his genre) and generally being underwhelmed. She fantasises daily about calling in sick to work so she can stay in bed and read all day.

Michele Hine

"MARGOT"

Michele plays Margot, who is the mother of Rachel. Michele is an actor, director and acting teacher who has lived in Auckland for the last 33 years. She is of English, Scottish and German heritage and speaks French to communicate with her French relatives from the 'Hine' cognac family in France.

Born and educated in Wellington she first acted professionally in her late teens at Downstage Theatre. She spent seven years abroad acting with various companies in the UK, touring to Europe and Japan as well as playing an evil 'Wheeler' in Disney's 'Return to Oz'. Returning to NZ in 1985 she toured two solo shows around NZ, and to Australia, before joining the Theatre Corporate in Auckland. Since then she has appeared in numerous productions on stage and screen including a core cast role in 'Go Girls' for 3 years and another Disney movie 'AtomicTwister', is in TVNZ's 'Fresh Eggs' and is a co-founder of, and Artistic Manager for, the prestigious 'door to the industry' course, 'The Actors' Program'. She was Chairperson of the Basement Theatre Trust Board for many years and co-founder of, and Lecturer in, Unitec Department of Performing & Screen Arts. Michele has a hugely supportive husband and two grown up children and gained a Masters degree in Directing for Stage whilst her kids were little. She has always taught acting alongside her performing work and absolutely loves working with, and being inspired by, the next generation of talented actors, writers and directors in Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Michele applauds Nikki Si'ulepa and Rachel Aneta Wills for sharing their funny, poignant and uplifting story with everyone. She says that the atmosphere they both created on set had a very family/whānau feel which was a joy to work in. Playing the screen-mother of one of her own acting graduates (Robyn Emma Paterson) was an added bonus.

Another real draw card for Michele was playing the delightful Margot. Michele says, "She is such a warm, open and unintentionally funny character, whose desire to explore her 'one eighth #Māori' heritage, learn Te Reo Māori (Māori language), and to 'whakawhanaungatanga' (connect), really endears her to everyone she meets. I think that this 'comedic love story with a twist', is so important in celebrating love between all peoples." This resonates particularly with Michele as she has a wonderful sister with a beautiful wife of her own, and many same-sex couple friends.

Michele loves keeping as young as possible through dancing, yoga and e-biking, eating great food with lovely people (preferably in exotic places), laughing hysterically over the craziness of life with a group of like-minded ageing thespians (thinly disguised as a 'book group') and being amongst her wonderful family.

 

Luci Hare

"SAM"

Luci is an Auckland based actor who plays, Sam - the confidant and new age spiritual B.F.F. of, Rachel. Luci is a graduate of the Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, has studied the Meisner technique Master Class with Michael Saccente, and has trained with Miranda Harcourt. Luci has played roles in films such as the award winning sci-fi action comedy film, 'This Giant Papier Maché Boulder is Actually Really Heavy', 'The Cure Movie', and Taika Waititi's multi award winning Vampire Mockumentary, 'What We Do in the Shadows'. Luci has appeared in television series such as, 'Murder is Forever', 'Ash vs Evil Dead', 'The Brokenwood Mysteries' and TVNZ 2’s, 'Step Dave', and is well known as ‘Vicky’, a lead character in multi award winning comedy web series, 'Auckward Love'. Luci also has a great love for theatre and says a career highlight for her was in, 'Boys Will Be Boys' which played at the Silo Theatre in Auckland.

Same But Different, is Luci’s first major film credit which she’s extremely excited about and was hooked at the first page of the audition script and told herself, ‘No-one else is allowed to play this role, I have to do it!’ Luci describes her character, Sam, as, ‘The friend everyone should have. She’s warm and always means to do the very best for her friends but sometimes it ends up a bit sideways.’

Luci grew up in the Bay of Plenty, NewZealand, ‘Under the beautiful mountain, Mauao (MountMauganui) and near the Wairoa river’, and says she’s, ‘Kiwi as, bro!’ She began acting when she was about three years old taking any given opportunity to put on shows and entertain her family.

Luci describes SBD as a story that is about, ‘Love and how far you can go to find it, (or how far your friend, Sam, pushes you!)’. She says the highlight for her during the filming of SBD was, ‘The beautiful extras that came to support the film from the Samoan community, they made the film for me.’ Luci believes everyone should see, Same But Different because everyone needs to see their love story on screen, no matter who they are.

Luci loves the Kiwi summer, her son, Beau, her partner, Alex Tarrant and watching a really good movie in bed with heaps of popcorn.