Finding and embracing life’s true purpose can be a challenging experience for many adults as they struggle to determine their dreams, let alone young children who recently started school. But talented and versatile young actress, seven-year-old Madeleine McGraw, has already uncovered and embraced her natural talent as a performer. She has naturally showcased her ability to understand and connect with her character in the new Cinemax supernatural horror series, ‘Outcast,’ on which she made her television series regular acting debut. The drama highlights how McGraw understands both the joy and pain of her character during an at-times turbulent period in her life, which has rightfully garnered her critical acclaim.
‘Outcast’ follows Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), a young man who has been plagued by demonic possession all his life. As he searches for answers and redemption, he sequesters himself from those he loves, including his young daughter, Amber (McGraw), out of fear of causing them greater hurt.
Kyle begins to receive help from the Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister), a preacher with personal demons of his own. He’s a West Virginia evangelist who believes he is a soldier in God’s holy war against the forces of evil on Earth. An inveterate drinker and gambler, he doesn’t believe God intends people to worry about minor details. As Kyle receives aid from the reverend, he embarks on a journey to find answers and regain the normal life he lost. What Kyle discovers, however, could change his fate—and the fate of the world—forever.
The ending of ‘Outcast’s current initial season focuses heavily on McGraw’s character. In episode 9, Amber learned to cope with the disappearance of her father’s adopted sister, Megan (Wrenn Schmidt).
‘Outcast’ is based on the Skybound/Image comic by Robert Kirkman (the co-creator and writer of ‘The Walking Dead’ comic book series) and Paul Azaceta. The Cinemax supernatural horror series was created and is executive produced by Kirkman and Chris Black. The show’s 10-episode first season debuted on the premium cable network on June 3, and is scheduled to air is season finale tonight at 10pm. The drama has already been renewed by Cinemax for a second season.
McGraw generously took the time recently to talk about starring in the first season of the acclaimed supernatural horror series. Among other things, the up-and-coming actress discussed how she relates to her character of Amber on ‘Outcast,’ as they’re both close to their fathers. She also mentioned that making her feature film acting debut in the 2014 Academy Award-nominated biographical war drama, ‘American Sniper,’ was a rewarding experience for her as a performer.
ShockYa (SY): How did you start acting?
Madeleine McGraw (MM): We were living in the Bay Area (San Jose) at the time, and my baby sister Violet had her one-year-old picture hanging up at the mall in a picture store. Someone thought she should model and left information for my mom about an agency in San Francisco, so she contacted them. They met Violet, and then months later they found out she had brothers and a sister, and they signed us all.
SY: How did you get your role of Amber Barnes in ‘Outcast?’
MM: I will never forget that day. We had been back and forth from San Jose to LA a lot that week. My mom and I were actually coming home from LA (I had been on set) on this one Friday. It was late when our manager called my mom and said there was an audition back in LA the next day (Saturday), and asked if we could be there. My mom initially said no, because she was super tired from all the driving. But then I read the sides (auditioning scene), and I begged for my mom to take me. I am so grateful she did!
SY: How are you most like Amber?
MM: I love my dad so much, just like Amber. I love that my dad always makes me feel safe just like Kyle (Patrick Fugit) does for Amber. I feel like I have a special bond with my dad just like Amber has with her dad. Plus, I love my real dad and my pretend so much so it’s super easy to feel like Amber.
SY: What has it been like working with Patrick Fugit and the other actors on the show?
MM: Working with Patrick is the best thing ever! All I want to do is be on set when he is there. We play a lot and I learn so much about all the things that it takes to make a TV show. If I stay on set after I wrap, Patrick will ask me questions about the scene I have watched. He is super generous with his time and I am super grateful!
SY: Did you rehearse with Patrick and the other actors?
MM: Yes. We usually rehearse the scene before we do it. Wrenn Schmidt is so funny! Sometimes she will say her line in a funny voice during rehearsal. She is so amazing! I’m not really allowed to watch ‘Outcast,’ but sometimes my mom will show me a scene with Wrenn and say, “Now this is an amazing actress. Watch her and learn from her.”
Patrick and I like to run lines together. Sometimes we do them with silly voices or do them really fast just to make it fun and different. We don’t like to over rehearse because Patrick and I like to be in the moment. It’s so easy to work with him because he is really good and honest.
SY: What was it like also working with Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood on ‘American Sniper?’
MM: Working on ‘American Sniper’ was one of my most favorite experiences ever. I was so excited I booked a role in a Clint Eastwood movie because my mom would always tell me how her dad loved Clint Eastwood. Mr. Eastwood is very relaxed on set. He doesn’t really say action. He says, “Okay.” He is really nice, and I know when I am older I will appreciate my time with him even more than I do today.
Bradley Cooper was really nice and stayed in character the whole time. When my brother (who was also in the movie) and I went to the premiere, it was the first time we realized Mr. Cooper didn’t really talk the way he did on set. We were like, what?!?
SY: You also voice Rita on ‘Clarence’ for Cartoon Network. Why do you also like working on cartoons?
MM: Voiceover is one of my favorite things to do. It is so cool to see your voice come out of a cartoon character. My little sister loves watching the stuff my brothers and I do voices for. She will scream, “That’s you! That’s you! Rewind it!” when she hears us. She is so funny!
SY: Do you watch your scenes from your show and movies?
MM: Yes, I watch the scenes from the stuff I do. I don’t always like watching myself, because it’s kind of weird. But I learn from it, and it makes me remember all the people who were involved in making that one scene possible. It’s crazy how many people it takes to make one scene.
SY: What do you like the most about acting in movies and on television?
MM: I like everything about it! Just being on set is so much fun! Plus, you get to work with some of nicest and most talented people in the world. I also love craft services. When I am on set is the only time my mom really ever allows me to ever have a soda and craft services always has the best snacks.
SY: Besides acting, are you still modeling? Do you like modeling just as much as acting?
MM: I love modeling so much, and I definitely like them both the same. Modeling is always super fun. A lot of times they play fun music in the background. You can also have pretty hair and a little makeup, not to mention all the cool stuff you get to wear or play with. Yes, I definitely love modeling as much as acting.
SY: What other hobbies do you have besides acting?
MM: I would have to say soccer is my other favorite thing to do. My twin brother and I are always trying to help each other get better by practicing and playing soccer together. I also love swimming, which I just learned this year. My mom and dad said now that I can swim safely, and we can go to a water park. I can’t wait!
Written by: Karen Benardello