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