An American makeover for Sami's Super City (+video)

Madeleine Sami as Pasha in her TV series SuperCity.  Photo / Supplied
Madeleine Sami as Pasha in her TV series SuperCity. Photo / Supplied

Madeleine Sami's hit TV series Super City has been picked up by an American network - but it's not a done deal yet says the actress and creator.

"It's really exciting to have my little toe in the door and the potential for what it means is pretty cool," says Sami, "but we're not getting ahead of ourselves."

Super City, which was directed by Taika Waititi and screened on TV3 last year, stars Sami as five different characters - Pasha, the ageing cheerleader; Jo, the lesbian personal trainer (who's still in the closet); Azeem the taxi driver; Linda, the art enthusiast; and homeless girl, Georgie.

After seeing the show, big time network ABC wanted to see more and in June Sami and producer Carthew Neal will go to Los Angeles to meet up with producer Aaron Kaplan (who worked with Waititi on a US version of hit British comedy series, The Inbetweeners) and work on an American adaptation of the show.

"We're going over to produce, what they call a not-for-broadcast presentation," says Sami who is currently writing the second series of Super City for New Zealand TV. "It's kind of like a pilot but not really. It's shorter, and just to give them an idea really. Then it's up to them whether they want to pursue it."

She thinks the show will translate well because the characters are universal and it will be intriguing when it comes to "Americanising" the likes of Pasha, Georgie and Azeem.

"It's gratifying getting the interest from [ABC] because they obviously got the characters. That in itself feels like an achievement that a group of people from another country and another culture really dug them.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge of taking characters I love to play and changing them for an American audience and finding out what that means culturally for each and every one of those characters."

Neal says the American network like the show because it is unique and they don't have anything like it in the US at present. "The US interest reinforces that creative risk-taking is valued in TV, and that our [New Zealand's] unique stories and talent can stand on an international stage."

He also says the empathetic way each of Sami's characters are treated also appealed to ABC.

"They loved that the series was grounded in reality and that we weren't laughing at the characters, [but] you feel for them while laughing at the situations they found themselves in."

The first series of Super City is also out on DVD.

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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