Mckenna Grace

Mckenna Grace

Matt Kallish
Mckenna Grace

The Bad Seed Returns

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September 02, 2022
In The Mix

Mckenna Grace's Bad Seed Sequel

The fifteen-year-old actress wrote and executive-produced the Lifetime sequel — and reprises her role as the murderous Emma Grossman.

Paula Hendrickson

When Mckenna Grace and her dad, orthopedic surgeon Ross Burge, felt a little bored during the early days of the pandemic, they thought it would be fun to write a script. And since the fifteen-year-old actress had starred in Lifetime's 2018 remake of The Bad Seed, a sequel to that movie seemed a logical place to start.

"We came up with a broad idea of what we wanted it to feel like," says Grace, who's been racking up credits for nine years, including recurring roles as brainiac Paige on Young Sheldon and an Emmy-nominated turn as Esther Keyes on The Handmaid's Tale. "We put together a lot of references and a look book, and then we were like, 'We should just sit down and write the script.'"

The original draft was really dark — probably too dark for Lifetime, Grace admits. Knowing they needed to lighten it up, they turned to Barbara Marshall, who had written the 2018 adaptation.

"It was nerve-wracking knowing someone's going to go in and change something that you've been working really hard on, but I trusted her and the studio to make good decisions," Grace says. "I'm happy with how it's turned out. The final version is a lot different than the first script we wrote, but at the same time it's still the same."

The actress reprises her role as Emma; she also served as an executive producer, along with her dad and her mom, Crystal. "It was kind of crazy doing it all at once," she says in retrospect, "considering it was my first time doing a producing job. But it was really special to have so much input," in areas such as casting and selecting locations.

Also "really cool": "getting to go to a table read with the other cast and see this script that my dad and I wrote coming to life before my eyes. Getting to watch playback and having input on the way things were done was so special."

The writing experience was so satisfying that Grace and her father are already collaborating on other projects. It also has her thinking about the future: "I plan to explore a really broad spectrum of what I can do in the industry, whether it's creating music, acting, producing, writing, directing — I want to do it all."

The Bad Seed Returns premieres on Lifetime on September 5.

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine issue #5, 2022, under the title, "Sowing New Seeds."

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