Mikey Madison On Being Cast In Sean Baker’s Mysterious Competition Title ‘Anora’: “I Was Floored” — Ones To Watch

Mikey Madison says the call from Sean Baker came entirely out of the blue. “I guess he’d seen a horror film I did, Scream [2022], on the opening weekend, and decided to call my agent the very next day. I met him and Samantha Quan, his producing partner, for coffee, and they pitched me this amazing, crazy idea he had for a film. I was floored that he wanted to do this film with me, but I didn’t question it. I was like, ‘Yes, absolutely!’”

They worked on the project for a year before shooting started. Madison, however, is reluctant to spoil the surprise. “What I will say is that it’s different than any character I’ve ever played before, in every single way. It was definitely the most preparation, physically and emotionally I’ve ever done for a character, because Sean likes to mix professional actors with newcomers, and I wanted to be so confident and sure of who I was that I would fit into that environment in an honest and truthful way.”

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Mikey Madison
Mikey Madison

Fitting in meant building the character from the inside out. “My character is from New York, so I wanted to be authentic from the area that my character was living in,” she says. “Sean is also from New York too, and I knew that he was going to be very specific in how he wanted me to sound. I worked with a dialect coach, and then I got to New York early before filming so that I could meet lots of women from the same area that my character was from, talk to them, take little pieces of their voices and meld it with what my vision was for how she would speak. I’m a California girl, so I have that upward inflection that people in New York don’t have, so it was important for me to make it really authentic that my character was born and raised in this one place.”

If the name sounds familiar, you may recall the 25-year-old from the FX comedy Better Things, in which, over seven years, she played “an amalgamation of all of the creators’ daughters”. It was, she says, “like my acting class, my college and my home-school all in one because I didn’t go to college.” After that, you will most likely have seen her as the Manson Family’s Susan Atkins in Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood. “Working with Quentin was so reinvigorating,” she enthuses. “I was like, ‘F*ck, I’m 19. This is my first big movie. What am I supposed to do next? Nothing is ever going to be as special as this.’ I mean, he’s one of my heroes and one of the reasons I wanted to be an actress.”

Read the digital edition of Deadline’s Disruptors/Cannes magazine <a href="https://issuu.com/deadlinehollywood/docs/0514_deadline_disruptors?fr=xIAEoAT3_NTU1" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">here</a>.
Read the digital edition of Deadline’s Disruptors/Cannes magazine here.

Playing Atkins meant that Madison was one of the few cast members who knew about Tarantino’s plan to rewrite history and spare Sharon Tate from her real-life fate in the film’s violent climax. “Obviously, I knew from the beginning,” she says, “because I’d read the full script — there was a kind of epilogue section that he would only give to a certain amount of actors. After we shot it, I was just waiting and waiting and waiting for the film to come out. It was painful, not being able to tell anyone, but also exciting because it got to be this fun surprise. Everyone was just really passionate about keeping it a secret as well. It felt we were working on this top-secret mission together.”

After Anora, you’ll seen her alongside Natalie Portman in a new Apple TV+ show Lady in the Lake. “I read that character, and I felt such a pull towards her that I begged the director to cast me in it,” she says. “I think if I feel like I have to be in a movie, to me, that’s a sign that I should definitely do it. It’s not good to feel wishy-washy.”

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