•• Virginia Madsen is one classy lady! The veteran actress made her film debut in the early ‘80s movie Class, and went on to work with such iconic directors as David Lynch (Dune), Rob Reiner (Ghosts of Mississippi), and Francis Ford Coppola (The Rainmaker). But it was her role in Alexander Payne’s Sideways that earned her an Academy Award-nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Madsen would eventually work with legendary director Robert Altman on A Prairie Home Companion, and then appear in a string of high profile films including Firewall, The Astronaut Farmer, and The Number 23. Her latest film entitled Walter will open in theaters on March 13th.
Walter stars Andrew J. West (TV’s The Walking Dead) as the title character, a ticket-taker at the local cinema that believes he is the Son of God. He has agreed to decide the eternal fate of everyone he comes in to contact with. But when a ghost in purgatory (Justin Kirk) starts to haunt him, Walter begins to question everything he thought he understood about his world. Madsen plays Karen, Walter’s brokenhearted mother. In addition to West, Kirk and Madsen, the movie also features performances from Milo Ventimiglia (WildCard), NeveCampbell (WildThings), PeterFacinelli (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1), Jim Gaffigan (ThreeKings), and William H. Macy (Rudderless), and was directed by first time feature filmmaker AnnaMastro.
I recently had the honor of speaking with the absolutely delightful Virginia Madsen about her work on Walter, as well as her memories of making Sideways and A Prairie Home Companion. The Oscar-nominated actress discussed Walter, how a first time filmmaker gets an Oscar-nominee to be in their movie, what she looks for when she is choosing projects, shooting her scenes with Andrew J. West, our shared experience on Sideways, working with the great Robert Altman on A Prairie Home Companion, and the truth about director Paul Thomas Anderson’s contributions to that film.
•• Virginia Madsen is best known for her role as Helen Lyle in Candyman (1992) and for her performance as Maya in Alexander Payne’s film Sideways (2004) for which she received numerous awards and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Other film appearances include Long Gone, Ghosts of Mississippi, Gotham, The Rainmaker, A Prairie Home Companion, Red Riding Hood, Firewall and The Astronaut Farmer.
Madsen has appeared on television in Moonlighting, Star Trek: Voyager, Frasier, The Practice, Dawson’s Creek, CSI: Miami, Monk, Scoundrels, The Event and Witches of East End. She is the sister of storied actor Michael Madsen and the daughter of author and filmmaker Elaine Madsen.
“I think he has the plague, and I kind of spiral into my own ridiculous insanity. Then the strange way it all unravels with this ghost, whether you think it’s real or in his mind, I found so fascinating. God, Justin did such a great job as the ghost. I thought he was wonderful.”
Walter, the feature film directorial debut for Anna Mastro, opens March 13, 2015 at select theaters and will also be available that day on all major VOD providers including iTunes, Microsoft Xbox, Google, Sony, M-GO, Blockbuster, Amazon Instant Video and Vudu. The gentle, absurdist comedy stars Madsen, Andrew J. West, Justin Kirk, Neve Campbell, Leven Rambin, Jim Gaffigan, Milo Ventimiglia, Peter Facinelli and William H. Macy.