Madeleine Arthur: The Encouragement of Big Breaks
You may recognize Vancouver’s up and coming star Madeleine Arthur. One of her earliest breaks was actually in Tim Burton’s Big Eyes, as Margaret Keane’s daughter. Her visual resemblance to Amy Adams is far from the only reason why this casting decision makes sense. Already, Arthur has showcased some serious acting chops. She took part in Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and is currently working on the sequel (due next year). Arthur has also been featured in a variety of television shows, including the resurrected X-Files series, and The Magicians. These are the origins of a career destined to explode any day now.
With that glimpse of a bright future ahead, we were eager to talk to Arthur about her career so far. Please check out her official IMDb page to see her past and future projects, as well as her Instagram and Twitter to keep up with her daily adventures (on and off set).
Films Fatale: What has been your favourite on-set experience so far?
Madeleine Arthur: Each on set experience is so unique and enjoyable, which makes it impossible to pick
one over another! If I had to choose, I would say all of the things that I’ve done on
location. This year I had the privilege of filming a movie in Portugal which was
absolutely spectacular. I’ve also had the good fortune to film in upstate NY, NYC and
Hawaii, which were also incredible experiences.
FF: How does a Canadian performer make it in the industry (either Canadian or
American)? What advice can you give to aspiring performers?
MA: I feel like my advice is nothing new, nonetheless, my advice to any performer would be
that hard work does pay off. Sometimes it may take far longer than you think it will, but
at the end of the day if you are passionate and persevere good results will come. As an
actor starting out it is paramount, in my opinion, to attend acting classes and practice,
practice, practice put in the time to learn your craft.
FF: Which performers have inspired you throughout your life? What have you learned
from them that you can apply to your own work?
MA: Throughout my life I’m always meeting performers who inspire me. I don’t know if there
is any one practical thing that you can learn and every time I’m on set I learn from all of
the other actors and those behind the camera as well. A few things that stand out having
worked with some incredibly exceptional actors; learn outside your field/ learn about the
world and always stay humble. Joely Richardson and Amy Adam’s both instilled the
value of being a life long learner in me and their work ethic is something to look up to:
they both care so much about the material and have a humility with everyone.
FF: What is your dream film/show? It can either be a specific existing work, or a general
style/genre piece (like a noir detective film, or a blockbuster action adventure).
MA: Honestly, I have so many dream films/ shows! The broad answer would be anything well
written and that tells a good story, whatever your definition of “good” is. The more
specific answer is a French film... perhaps starting with a guest star on “Call My Agent”,
which is a fantastic series about the industry. I would also love to do a period piece,
whether that be set in the 70’s or 1770’s (ideally both).
FF: What kind of studying did you do growing up when it comes to acting?
MA: I started doing theatre camps recreationally when I was little and once I started to fall in
love with it at around twelve, I dove into a wider variety of classes. Namely ones that
focused on Meisner and Chekov, scene study classes and voice classes, and I still take
classes to this day, always keep learning! Right now I enjoy sensory and dream work
and anything that focuses on movement.
FF: What is something about the acting industry (film or television) that you wish to clear?
What stigmas do you wish to dispel? What do you wish more people knew about the
MA: It takes time. I think a common misconception people have about the industry is that
“success” happens overnight. The majority of the time actors have been auditioning
and working for years before they get a “big break” or even start working. So don’t lose
faith if you don’t land a role within the first year of becoming an actor, give yourself time.
FF: We like to send interviews off with the most basic question, based on why we are all cinephiles. What are your top five films of all time, and why?
MA: I have so many favourite films! It’s really more of an ever changing collection, here are
five of many that I enjoy.
La Vie En Rose
MA: Marion Cotillard's performance in this film is stunning. Her transformation is masterful,
so for that alone it puts the film as one of my favourites.
MA: One of the most beautiful films about love and pure human connection. I love that it
takes place over the span of twenty for hours and that it doesn’t need any special
effects to make it powerful, it’s all about the power of communication. The authenticity
and messiness of Jesse and Celine’s conversation is mesmerizing to me. I also have
the travel bug, so anything set in a foreign city creates an allure.
MA: Honestly, I am a big fan of all of [Paul Thomas Anderson’s] films. Magnolia weaves such a fascinating tale of multi-layered and idiosyncratic characters and their lives in the valley. I feel like
watching it is a master class in acting and filmmaking.
MA: The youthfulness, the joy, the reminder to bring out your inner child. It’s a movie that
always puts a smile on my face.
Rebel Without a Cause
MA: It was a film at the frontier of coming of age stories and still stands the test of time. I can
still connect with it, and find it fascinating and enjoy witnessing how it has influenced the
narrative of so many modern day coming of age stories.
Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.