STARNEWSONLINE.COM — Spend any time with the actress Madelaine “Maddie” Hasson, and it doesn’t take long to get the impression that this is a young woman who’s going places.
Not only is the 20-year-old a stunning beauty who’s preternaturally poised, but Hasson, who went to Cape Fear Academy and grew up doing theater in Wilmington, recently completed filming a series of movies that could boost her from minor celebrity to full-blown star.
Hasson is in town for the Cucalorus Film Festival and was at Thalian Hall on Thursday night for a screening of “A Light Beneath Their Feet,” in which she plays a troubled teen with blue hair and a lip ring who does some truly mean and nasty things. The movie stars Taryn Manning (“Orange is the New Black”) as a woman with mental illness who’s essentially cared for by her daughter, played by Madison Davenport. Hasson plays Daschulla, and she has some steamy scenes with Carter Jenkins, who shot the TV series “Surface” in Wilmington as a young teenager 10 years ago.
Now based in Los Angeles, Hasson has been a series regular on TV shows “The Finder” and “Twisted.” In addition to “A Light Beneath Their Feet,” Hasson appears in the upcoming Hank Williams biopic “I Saw the Light” with Tom Hiddleston, scored her first leading role in the just-wrapped “Good After Bad” with Billy Burke and is off to start her next project in a matter of days.
I caught up with Hasson after the Cucalorus screening and we sat down in the seats at Thalian Hall for a quick interview.
What is it like to be sitting here, having done plays at Thalian Hall, and now you’ve just watched yourself on the big screen?
You know, I didn’t even really think about that until I was sitting and watching the movie. I was just looking around at all the crown molding and the ceiling and everything I used to look at. It’s just very surreal, because I don’t even think when I was doing plays here I had the thought in my mind that I would be watching myself in a movie from the crowd. It’s just very full-circle and it’s so cool. I didn’t even realize I would have that feeling until I got here. It just felt so special.
You’ve played “good girls” before, but in this movie you really were the bad girl. What was that like for you?
I love playing the bad girl so much. I think the biggest thing that Valerie (Weiss) — the director — and I wanted from Daschulla’s character is that we wanted to see that her way of controlling her life was through manipulation of other people’s lives. The manipulation aspect of her character was very important. We wanted that to come through heavily. But then also, playing bad characters, there’s a line where you have to kind of balance the vulnerability and the bad side of the character. And that’s really, really fun. You want them to be vulnerable and you want to see why they are the way they are.
Did you and Carter Jenkins, who shot the TV show “Surface” here when he was a kid, talk about Wilmington at all during the shoot?
We did talk about Wilmington when I first met him, and I laughed so hard because I didn’t realize that (he had worked here). Carter’s one of my good friends now.
Your look was so spooky, with the blue hair and pale makeup. How did you guys come up with that?
It was so fun. They had a totally idea for Daschulla when it was originally written. I originally went out for (the lead) but it turned out to be a better fit for Madison Davenport. Also, I would have towered over Taryn (Manning). She’s a tiny little thing, like a ballerina.
You grew up doing theater in Wilmington. I remember you mostly from being in “Whorehouse” and “Grey Gardens.”
Those are probably my two favorites that I’ve ever done. I did plays when I was younger with Opera House but I was never that serious about it. “Grey Gardens” was the first big role I had as a teenager.
Right, you played young Edie alongside Paul Teal.
He’s such a nice guy. Oh my god, I had such a big crush on him when I was 13 doing that play. He was just like, you need to chill, you’re, like, a child.
Do you still sing ?
I do still sing. I would love to come back here when I get a break and do theater. I want to so bad!
You’re working like crazy, it sounds like. You were doing all of that TV for a while, now you’re doing movie after movie.
Yeah, it’s picked up. I’m really excited. I just had my first starring role in a movie (“Good After Bad”), I’m so pumped.