Virginia Madsen

Official Website
28 Jun 2012

Virginia Madsen: “In Your 40s You’re Free… In Your 50s You Fly”


Virginia Madsen said: “it’s always about evolving and learning to fly.” An actress with astonishing range and a touch of timeless glamour, Madsen’s talents didn’t hit center stage until later in life. A native Chicagoan and the daughter of an Emmy-award winning poet and playwright, Madsen packed in over two decades and 40 TV and film roles with some of the biggest stars in the business before she finally hit her stride with her Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated performance in the film “Sideways.”

Several films followed suit, including roles in “The Astronaut Farmer” and “A Prairie Home Companion,” until her role as Charlotte in Rob Reiner’s recently released “The Magic of Belle Isle.” Madsen plays a middle-aged woman with two daughters who emotionally shuts down her life until an older man named Monte (Morgan Freeman) moves into the house next door. Their unlikely but uplifting coupling unfolds as both Charlotte and Monte rekindle dormant passions and inspire one another to re-engage in life.

“I’ve always admired her work over the years,” said Rob Reiner, who cast her in his latest film “The Magic of Belle Isle.” “She’s one of those really talented actresses who’s done extraordinary work for so many years but just doesn’t get the recognition she deserves.”

Huff/Post50 recently spoke with Madsen about her role in “The Magic of Belle Isle,” women in Hollywood, and her own life post 50.

•• I read that you’re the first actress to kiss Morgan Freeman on screen.
– I’m definitely the first to have had a romantic love story with him.

•• You had to fight for your role in “Sideways.” How did this role come about?
– I would have thought that I would’ve had to fight, but I just got a phone call from my agent saying that Rob Reiner wanted me for his next film. I almost fell over. I love working with Rob. And I was floored again when he said that Morgan Freeman was playing the lead and that I’d be his leading lady. Then Rob said, “I think it’s kind of a love story, but you read the script and let me know.” I read it and cried like a baby. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have been asked to do this.

•• The film doesn’t focus on the differences between you and Morgan Freeman: Age, race or physical disabilities. There’s a purity to the connection between you two.
– Yeah. We’re just two human beings falling in love. We don’t think about our race. We don’t think about the difference in our age. We don’t think about his disability. We just think about the two people we are. That’s how much sense it makes. That’s how right their love story is. Nothing else matters. Continue Reading  

28 Jun 2012

Virginia Madsen: “The Magic of Belle Isle”


Virginia Madsen stars in the heartwarming story “The Magic of Belle Isle” as the recently-divorced mother of three girls who befriends the writer who moves in next door (Morgan Freeman).  I spoke to her about making the movie, which is available now On Demand and will be in theaters July 6th.

•• What was it like for you working with three young actresses who played your daughters?  How do you develop a level of trust with them?
– Well, I raised a child. I had a boy child who’s now 17 and I’ve worked with kids before. I know that this was a big job. We had a lot to do, they had a lot of dialogue and I really, really wanted them to trust me. One of the greatest things is that they all had nice parents. We struck gold with that. They were nice kids, they weren’t Hollywood-ized and the mothers really allowed me to mother their children which was incredibly trusting and generous. Slowly, I gained their trust and they could see how I wanted to be with their daughters, and that I was going to take good care of them. Before the movie started, I asked the art director and [director] Rob [Reiner] if I could have a space on the set, a room that I could set up arts and crafts.  Because that’s what I did with my son, and decided to bring music, and all the supplies.  I said, “Just give me this room, but no one is allowed to go in it but us, that is the O’Neil house, and I don’t want a sound cart in there, I don’t want lights being stored, no makeup touches go on in this room, this is the O’Neil house and this is our sacred space.”  And they loved it. And then the art department said, “Actually, there’s a sun room, we’ll make it a part of the movie.” And so when there was a break, this allowed me to keep us al together as a family and allowed them to remain focused and quiet when it wasn’t alright for them to play in the yard especially if it was raining. The next great thing was, they bonded as sisters.  Madeline Carroll [who plays the oldest daughter] is really something special, and she helped shepherd the girls, she really loved those girls. She would sit and make necklaces with them. She was never bored or impatient like a lot of teenagers naturally would be. Continue Reading