Bailee Madison latest to join ‘A Cinderella Story’ franchise

Rick's Reviews

Bailee Madison had to learn how to use a lasso for her role in the new “Cinderella” movie. (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros)

(KGET) — Bailee Madison has added her name to a list of actors that already included Hilary Duff, Selena Gomez, Lucy Hale, Sofia Carson and Laura Marano. They have all starred in an installment of “A Cinderella Story” movie series that began in 2004.

The opportunity for Madison to star in the latest light romance film built around the idea of a young woman having her life put on hold by a wicked stepmother comes through “A Cinderella Story: Starstruck.” It is currently available through digital platforms and DVD.

Being part of the “A Cinderella Story” franchise is a huge accomplishment for Madison.

“I was the biggest fan of the series,” Madison says. “When the original came out, I was a little girl. It was my favorite movie. I had a little CD case I would take with me when I was working on location and Hilary Duff’s CD was the first one in the case.

“My younger self wouldn’t believe this was happening because the movies meant so much to me when I was growing up.”

Madison faced a wide range of challenges to play Finley Tremaine, a small-town farm girl who dreams of acting stardom. Not only does she have to sing, dance and act, Madison often shares the screen with a pig or a cow, spends more than half the film in an elaborate disguise and must perform fancy rope tricks.

The mention of how her character spins a lasso makes Madison extremely happy. She had never tried her hand at roping until the role came along. It is part of her character’s audition to be in the movie that ends up shooting on her farm.

The time she got to work on the skill was one of the few blessings of working during the pandemic.

“I did not have a lot of time for training,” Madison says. “They sent a rope to my house about two days before I got on a plane. I had two lessons which was really just me learning how to keep the rope up.

“We had an amazing coach. When we got to Canada, we were in quarantine for two weeks. I was in an apartment trying to learn how to trick rope. It wasn’t until the day before filming that I finally figured it out. You learn something new every day in this business.”

Taking on a role in the Cinderella series means that Madison is working her way through the fairytale princess roster. She previously played the younger version of Snow White in the network series “Once Upon a Time.”

“I really feel so lucky to have gotten to play such beloved fairytale characters,” Madison says. She jokes the two roles may be her childhood self just checking off the bucket list of roles she wanted to play.

In Madison’s case, her childhood was only a few years ago. The 21-year-old Florida native has been acting since she was 7 and has amassed a list of credits that rivals many veteran actors.

Along with appearances in films such as “Bridge to Terabithia,” “Parental Guidance” and “Just Go With It,” she has worked on the TV shows “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Trophy Wife” and “The Fosters.” She’s best known for playing Grace Russell on the Hallmark Channel series “The Good Witch” from 2015-2019.

The one thing that has remained consistent for Madison through all of her acting jobs is that she goes into each project knowing it takes a large team working together to make everything work. She did feel a little extra pressure with her addition to the “A Cinderella Story” legacy because of her love of the past productions.

Madison turned to director/writer Michelle Johnston when she had some concerns or questions. This is Johnston’s first time directing a film in the series but she worked as the choreographer on four of the other movies in the series.

“For us, we were really excited – even though every film is a different version of Cinderella – to try to use some of the classic moments from when the franchise began,” Madison says. “We have never seen ‘A Cinderella Story’ take place on a farm. We have never seen ‘A Cinderella Story’ have a nod to the animals who are Cinderella’s best friends.

“For us, there are a lot of classic little ‘a-ha’ fairytale moments when we were creating it.”

The one thing that has never changed in any of the films in the series is the searching for a happy ending. Madison is convinced that the search and discovery of love as presented in the film is something everyone needs now.

She sees the film as the kind of positive message the world needs now after such a long period of darkness. And, that comes through how the film maintains the sweetness of the original fairytale but adds a modern touch that will make it accessible to young and old.

The cast of “A Cinderella Story: Starstruck” also includes Michael Evans Behling, April Telek, Lillian Doucet-Roche and Richard Harmon.

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