Kat Graham on ‘Operation Christmas Drop’ and Not Falling in Line in Order to “Elevate Consciousness”
The Christmas spirit is strong over at Netflix! We just celebrated the debut of the super sweet young adult romance series, Dash & Lily, and now it’s time for a new feature film that’s absolutely oozing with holiday joy, Operation Christmas Drop. The movie is inspired by a real US Air Force humanitarian mission that involves military planes dropping goods for those in need.
Kat Graham leads the film as Erica, a congressional assistant who’s assigned to assess an Air Force base in Guam to determine whether or not it’s a candidate for closure during the holidays. Turns out, her guide for this visit is the individual on the base with the most Christmas spirit, Alexander Ludwig’s Air Force captain, Andrew. Now it’s up to Andrew and his team to prove to Erica that their annual Christmas drop is a valuable use of resources and worthwhile tradition.
With Operation Christmas Drop now available to watch on Netflix, I got the opportunity to chat with Graham about her experience making the movie, including having the opportunity to work with Bruce Best, the outer island liaison who’s been contributing to the real Christmas Drop for decades, and what it was like making a movie in Guam. Graham also took a moment to elaborate on her recent comments about being required to change one’s look for a role, specifically where the pressure to do so comes from:
“I think it’s about having conversations, about having honest conversations, about being honest with yourself and who you are. A lot of us, especially if you’re an actress or you’re in entertainment, you kind of almost have this disease to please because there’s so much rejection in Hollywood. When you finally do get that role or you are able to be a part of a project, you just don’t want to ruffle any feathers. Especially if you are the only one of your kind – if you are the only Black person or the Asian person or LGBTQIA character, you really want to sometimes fall in line and I think that there’s a way to be respectful but also challenge something stylistically (and) visually that might, in a way, elevate people’s consciousness or their awareness.”
Graham continued by revisiting how her personal journey landed her in a place where she’s “more comfortable having uncomfortable conversations” to inspire change:
“For me, as I think you know from this interview, I grew up different. I’m just a little different and I think I spent a lot of time hiding that or wearing what other people thought I should wear or doing my hair in a way that I thought other people should wear, and I finally came to this point of self love and that has to translate. And I think that there are times where characters call for straight hair or curly hair or an afro or I want to wear my hair in curls, or whatever it is, but these have to be honest conversations about why executives or writers are making certain decisions for characters and I’m now more comfortable having uncomfortable conversations because they need to be had, because we want to talk about love, we want to talk about acceptance and we want to talk about diplomacy and we want to talk about all those things, but unfortunately, there’s not enough diversity in Hollywood. And when you’re able to really showcase different kinds of people on screen, that translates to how people relate to each other in the real world and I think that that’s really what it’s about. It’s about how we treat each other and there’s no more discrimination and there’s no more racism and everyone really accepts each other for who they are, but we have to come as who we are first.”
You can catch our full conversation in the video player at the top of this article. Operation Christmas Drop is now available to watch on Netflix!
- What draws Graham to Christmas movies?
- Graham highlights the person in the movie who’s involved in the real Operation Christmas Drop.
- Graham notes that this movie was actually the first feature to film in Guam.
- What’s it like filming on an active Air Force base?
- Graham revisits the flying experience she got while making the movie; one especially authentic moment on set.
- Graham elaborates on her recent comments on changing your look for a project; how she strives to spark change in that respect.