Rena Owen
Rena Owen
as Helen

Actor Biography

An international award-winning actress, Rena Owen is one of only six actors and the only actress in the entire world to have worked with both legendary filmmaking giants; George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg during her illustrious career that spans over three decades.

During her formative years she studied at the Actor's Institute in London and worked in all aspects of theatre. The first stage play she wrote, THE RIVER THAT RAN AWAY was produced and directed by the reputable award-winning British actress Ann Mitchell with Rena in the lead role. It enjoyed a successful London tour and was later published by NZ Playmarket.

Upon her return to NZ in 1989, Rena acted in two one-hour dramas for Television NZ's Series, E TIPU E REA. A first of its' kind; the series was written, acted, directed and produced by Maori. In constant pursuit of learning and honing her craft, she continued to work extensively in theatre; acting, writing, directing, working as a dramaturg, and was a founding member of Taki Rua Theatre. In 1992 Rena was a rare recipient of a Dame Te Atairangikaahu (the Maori Queen) Literary Award & Scholarship.

Rena's first feature film was a supporting role in RAPA NUI produced by Kevin Costner in 1993, followed by the leading role in the cult-classic NZ feature film, ONCE WERE WARRIORS. Her electrifying performance garnered her universal rave reviews. The film was voted one of Time Magazine's top 10 films in 1994 and won over 30 international awards. Rena won Best Actress awards at the Montreal, Oporto, Seattle, & San Diego Film Festivals, as well as the Cannes Film Festival's Spirit Award. While in NZ, she was awarded the Benny Award for Excellence in Film and the Toast Masters Communicator of the Year Award.

1996 to 1998, Rena was a series regular in the Australia NETWORK 10 TV series, MEDIVAC and also had a supporting role in Rolf De Heer's critically acclaimed film, DANCE ME TO MY SONG which was in competition at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival and earned her an Australian Film Institute (AFI) Best Supporting Actress nomination.

In 2000, Rena set up a base in Los Angeles to learn more about filmmaking. She played beloved Taun We in George Lucas' STAR WARS: ATTACK OF THE CLONES followed by a cameo role in Steven Spielberg's A.I. Whilst developing two screenplays, she played a reoccurring role in WB's ANGEL. Lucas cast her again as Nee Alavar in STAR WARS: REVENGE OF THE SITH and she went on to play multiple supporting and cameo roles in international television and feature film productions.

In 2010, Rena played a three-month role on NZ's longest running TV series, SHORTLAND STREET and won the Best Supporting Actress Award at the 2011 Aotearoa Film and Television Awards (AFTA). A reoccurring role in the award-winning Australian TV series, EAST WEST 101 earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Australian Academy of Cinema & Television Arts (AACTA), and a Best Actress nomination at the Monte Carlo International Television Festival in 2012.

In 2012, Rena played the Matriarch opposite Brian Cox's Patriarch of a multi-ethnic crime family set in the Torres Strait Islands for an Australia ABC TV series, THE STRAITS. Rena played a supporting role in a USA indie film THE LAST SURVIVORS, which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2014 and also, Once Were Warriors was voted the number one film of all time in New Zealand and Rena played a pivotal role in a documentary celebrating the film's 20th Anniversary called, Where Are They Now?

In 2015, Rena was cast in reoccurring roles for A&E's & Netflix's TV series LONGMIRE and Sundance's TV series THE RED ROAD. She also played a supporting role in Vin Diesel's feature film THE LAST WITCH HUNTER and a cameo role in a NZ feature film THE DEAD LANDS, which enjoyed a Special Presentation Premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.

2016 onwards, Rena is a series regular in a Freeform TV series, SIREN. She also plays a reoccurring role as the first female Moclan in Seth McFarlanes's sci-fi TV series THE ORVILLE season 1 & 2. She recently completed filming her role as Grace Cochrane in Victoria Madden's thrilling Tasmania noir eight-part miniseries, THE GLOAMING for Stan and ABC Studios International and is currently shooting SIREN season 3.