Check our interview with Los Angeles native and Tribeca Film Festival rising horror star Madeleine Coghlan.
The 20-year-old actress on the rise can be seen in the independent horror film “Holidays” with Kevin Smith and Seth Green. She portrays ‘Maxime,’ a modern-day ‘Carrie’; a school outcast who is bullied and out to get revenge. The stories in “Holidays” put a scary spin on annual holiday traditions like Valetine’s Day and Christmas.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Goofy, determined, compassionate.
We’re sure you have been asked this million times but how did you get in the industry?
When I was 4 years old, my mom took me to an orange juice commercial audition. I ended up booking it, and I just remember loving the whole process. I think I loved the fact that I was a part of something so different than anything I’d experienced. It wasn’t just another playground game, it felt important, and I knew I wanted to keep doing it.
Did you always know that you wanted to become an actress?
Yes, from my first performances at my parent’s dinner parties, I knew there was nothing else I wanted to do. I did go through phases where I would try out different things like cheerleading or photography, but I always came back to acting.
Do you get nervous when you go to an audition?
I usually don’t get nervous at a first audition, I get nervous the closer I get to the role, because the more real it becomes, and the more attached to the character I get.
Best advice ever given?
I think the best advice I’ve ever been given is to worry about you. It’s so easy to compare and judge yourself in relation to others, but that only ends up hurting you. Especially this day in age where everything is filtered and cropped and captioned just right, sometimes I still find myself hung up on what someone else is doing, as opposed to focusing on my own work.
Do you have a role model?
My role models are my parents. My dad is really level headed and has always taught me the value of hard work and determination, but he also has the best sense of humor. My mom is such a lovely compassionate soul, and she brings this positive outlook to anything she does. They balance each other out really well.
What is the best part of acting?
For me, the best part about acting is getting to know someone other than you. I love how the process of understanding the character gradually turns to becoming the character. There’s something really special about that transformation.
What roles do you like to play? And why?
I’ve always gravitated towards those dark dramatic roles, similar to Maxine in “Holidays.” I like getting inside the head of characters with complicated histories. Earlier this year, I guest starred on the show Castle, also playing a character with some hidden darkness. People tell me I don’t really give off the dark twisted vibe, so it’s fun surprising people, even myself, with doing roles like those.
Tell us about your role as Maxine on independent horror film “Holidays”?
Maxine is the school outcast who has a crush on her swim coach. She gets bullied by most of the girls at her school, and the swim coach shows is pretty much the only person who shows her kindness.
What role has been your favorite? And the most challenging?
I think this role of Maxine has actually been my favorite and the most challenging. Maxine doesn’t speak so I had to communicate all of these complex emotions and thoughts she was having solely through facial expressions and body language. It was also a physically demanding role that involved jumping off a diving board backwards and working with a scuba instructor for underwater scenes. The directors, Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch are absolutely amazing and made the whole experience so enjoyable. I didn’t want filming to end!
What is you favorite song? And why?
If I had to choose just one, I think it’s J Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers’ “Last Kiss.” I’ve always felt kind out of out of place in the present, so I love this 50s song because it transports me. It’s weird because it has this upbeat doo-wop medley, but the story itself is quite sad. There’s something sort of beautiful about the way the contrasting melody compliments the lyrics.
Who you would love to work with?
This is a tough one, there are so many! I recently watched “Love” on Netflix, and I think the whole cast is incredible, so working with any of the actors or writers on that show would be amazing. I love everything Damien Lewis does, so working with him would be really cool.
Who is your favorite Actor/Actress and why?
Well to name a few; Marion Cotillard, Sally Field, and Rachel McAdams. I really admire how you never really know what Sally Field is going to do next. She is always working on such a range of different projects and she doesn’t limit herself to one specific genre. Also, Eddie Redmayne’s character work is just extraordinary. I feel like I have no idea who he is because he just delves so deep in to every character he plays, you can’t even catch a glimpse of him sneaking out.
What do you like to watch on tv?
I watch mostly cable shows like Billions, Shameless, and Banshee, but I started watching The X Files from the beginning on Netflix, and I am addicted. The downside of the X Files addiction is I now assume every unfamiliar noise I hear is extraterrestrial activity.
Any future plans you want to share with us?
I’ve been working with Radio Disney on releasing some fun improv based videos, which is great because I get to write as well as act in them! The most recent projects I’ve worked on have been dramatic so I’m excited to get to do some comedy because I love that as well.
Any loves, other than acting?
I’m really in to cooking and baking, so I like to host dinner parties, usually with a fun theme. I’m passionate about writing as well, whether it’s short stories, sketches, or poetry.
Name 3 things you can’t live without?
Sunscreen, my 1930s letterman jacket, and my mini backpack that I somehow manage to fit my life in to.
Name one your strengths?
I think one of my strengths is my empathy, especially for animals. I’ve been a vegan for 5 years and a vegetarian my whole life. I think that compassion has definitely served me.
How is a normal day in your life?
My days usually vary so much throughout the week depending on if I’m shooting something, but they pretty much always start with a healthy breakfast, a workout, and definitely coffee. If I’m not working, I love to go antiquing in thrift stores or hiking with my dogs.
Idea of a perfect Sunday?
I think it would start off with cooking a nice breakfast in the morning, then a workout at my favorite, Barry’s Bootcamp, followed by a trip to the farmers market where I would eat half the produce in the car, and save the rest to use to cook a dinner for family and friends that night!
Where we can follow you?
My instagram is maddyc17 and is comprised mostly of pictures of my rescue Saint Bernard Dorothy, who loves swimming and rocking her under bite like the supermodel she is.
Favorite Quote: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” –Cesar A. Cruz
Favorite Book: “What Makes Sammy Run?”-Budd Schulberg
Favorite Movie: Elvis Presley’s “King Creole”
Favorite Food: Tempeh
Favorite Tv Series: Billions or The X Files
Favorite Restaurant: Café Gratitude
Favorite Sports Team: I don’t have one currently, but open to suggestions.