Madeleine Arthur: The actress you need to know

'The Family': "The Family" Official Trailer
'The Family': "The Family" Official Trailer


BY: GIBSON JOHNS

Take note of Madeleine Arthur's name, because she's going places.

The 18-year-old actress, who's one of the stars of the upcoming ABC show "The Family," has already starred in a critically-acclaimed film starring Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz and Oscar-nominee Amy Adams. (The film won Adams a Golden Globe last year.) And she more than held her own among such rare, incredible talent.

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In "The Family," Arthur plays the younger version of Alison Pill's character Willa, and the daughter of Joan Allen's. It isn't lost on the rising star that she's found herself on yet another set filled with world-class talent.

In our exclusive conversation with Arthur, her gratitude for the extraordinary opportunities she's been lucky to score in her career so far was very clear, as was her passion for what she does. We talked to her about "The Family," the advice she got from Adams and Waltz and the pressures of being a young actress.

Check out our full conversation with "The Family" star, Madeleine Arthur, below:

Tell me a bit more about "The Family" and your role on the show.

The Family is a drama and gripping thriller about a politician whose son goes missing and is presumed dead. But ten years later, he reappears. The questions are really around what has happened in that time and, you know, is he really who he says he is? I play young Willa Warren, who is his sister, and she is with him the day he goes missing. Older Willa is played by Alison Pill.

I'm very excited about the show. It's been a lot of fun exploring Willa's journey and see her develop into older Willa. I hope that the audience will be as intrigued and invested as I am.

So your version of Willa appears exclusively through flashbacks. Are there flashback scenes in every episode?

There are flashbacks in every episode, which is really interesting because we get to see how each character matures and the flashbacks give you a better understanding of what they're all about.

How much crossover did you have with Alison Pill? Obviously you guys probably don't appear on camera together, but what about behind the scenes?

Behind the scenes we crossed over for sure, and before filming started we discussed Willa, her morals and her physicality, which was really cool. It's really interesting to use your imagination to create a whole new character, especially one that's being played by two actors.

See photos of Madeleine Arthur:

Between this and "Big Eyes," in which you played Amy Adams' daughter, you seem to be attracted to more adult, dramatic material.

I definitely am more attracted to dramatic roles, and I'm really grateful to have been a part of "Big Eyes," as well as "The Family."

I would also love to do comedy one day, but I do like to be able to sink my teeth into scripts with lots of depth and artistic integrity. I'm very pleased with "The Family" in that sense. It's full of suspense and heartbreaking moments. I've been very fortunate.

Can you talk a little bit more about your experience filming "Big Eyes?" Working with Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz must've been very special -- those are some high-calibre actors.

It was incredible! It was the most phenomenal experience, and I learned so much from them. Amy I admire so much -- her work, every single role that she plays and how she is in real life. She's the most kind person.

Christoph, as well -- he's outstanding. He was great to work with.

Did they give you any advice during filming?

One of the last things Christoph said to me when we were wrapping up was, "Don't just be an actress. Keep learning. Have outside interests." And I think that's really important to note. There's a lot more out there than just acting, despite it being my main passion.

With Amy, I just learned every day on set from her.

You have a ton of other hobbies in addition to acting, like gymnastics and violin. How do those outside interests inform your acting, if at all?

They most definitely have an effect on my acting. With gymnastics, the floor routine was always my favorite, and I was always very dramatic with it. In terms of the performance aspect of acting, gymnastics definitely helped me with that. But it also gave me determination, hard work and focus. I definitely think every life experience can be valuable in that way.

You've had a pretty huge last year and a half, or so. Have you gotten used to everything that comes with working on these big projects?

I don't think that you can ever really get used to it, but I'm just holding on for the ride and hoping it will continue. It's a lot of fun, and I have a great support system with me. I'm just really taking it one step at a time and enjoying it.

What's been your biggest "pinch yourself" moment?

I have them all the time! I'll be on the street or on set and I'll just totally freak out and have these realizations. Every time that I get the call that I book a role, those are for sure "pinch myself" moments.

Do you have a dream role?

I would one day love to do a French film. I speak French, so that's definitely a dream of mine. Maybe even with Marion Cotillard. [Laughs]

What actresses do you look up to or try to emulate career-wise?

Marion Cotillard! Emma Thompson is another actress that I really admire. Those two are actresses whose careers I would love to emulate.

What kind of pressures or challenges have you felt as a young actor starting out in Hollywood?

Obviously, you try out for a lot of roles, and you get some and you don't get others. But I haven't spent too much time in Hollywood itself, so I feel a bit removed from the whole vibe there. Luckily, I try to not think about the pressures.

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