Bringing Hollywood Home
Madison Jolly never thought she would be able to fulfill her dream of getting a role in a Hollywood movie before even turning 16. But this summer, Jolly was able to work with Hollywood actor Chris Kattan without leaving the limits of Edmond, her hometown. “Everyone is surprised that I landed such a major role,” she said. “I’ve been doing film classes for several years now, but this was an actual job and was such a big thing the first time.”
Jolly always felt that acting was her calling. Since an early age, she participated in plays and took acting classes. Her parents were her first audience. “She has always been a drama queen,” joked her father, Stuart. “She’s always been very bright and quick. She could memorize lines and do little performances for us off the top of her head.”
It’s also helped that Jolly has always been a voracious reader and can memorize lines with ease. “She would really delve into her books — from Harry Potter, all the way to … you name it,” said her dad. That certainly helped the young actress when she auditioned for her first big role.
The movie is a comedy called “Just Crazy Enough.” It depicts the everyday life of a family and all the challenges and funny moments they experience. The audition was a cold read, which means the actors didn’t have the script in advance. After the first audition, Jolly didn’t feel confident that she made the cut, but a few days later she got a callback. She was one of four finalists. This time the actors read part of the actual script. “We all took chances reading it with the boy who had already been cast as the little brother.” Dalton Farmer, who played brother Freddie, also from Oklahoma.
In real life, Jolly has a younger brother, Alex, who is the same age as the character. She believes that certainly helped her re-create a real family relationship. “They called me back and told me I’d gotten it and I was super excited; it was a dream come true.” The filming began and even though it was a lot of fun, it also involved a lot of work. The crew often worked 12-hour days, filming several takes for each scene and frequently moving from one location to another.
Jolly said the crew and the director, Lance McDaniel, were amazing. “He gave us a lot of room to do what we wanted with the scene,” she said. “We, the actors, had a blast. We would do each take differently, say different stuff, and Chris is hilarious! Every take he would do a completely different joke.” Jolly truly enjoyed working with Chris Kattan, who has a lot of experience with comedy — from “Saturday Night Live” sketches and a role in “The Middle,” to movies such as “The Year Without a Santa Claus,” “Corky Romano” and “Christmas in Wonderland.” “He was the star, the one to look up to,” she said.
And Jolly received her own share of praise. “She was very professional and prepared for her scenes. And, that preparation allowed her to improv more and play off of Chris Kattan and the other actors. I would happily work with Madison again anytime,” said McDaniel. He added that Jolly has a natural acting style that looks effortless on camera. “We had over 50 crew members on set. So, to be able to act natural in a setting that is completely fabricated is so much harder than it looks. And Madison was great.”
Jolly played a 15-year-old teenager, Rose Mulberry, who didn’t have a very good relationship with her father (Kattan). She was upset, because he was working too much and not paying enough attention to his daughter. Rose also was dealing with some boy drama. There were some moments that didn’t go as scripted. In one scene, Jolly had to run out of the house and hop on the back of her boyfriend’s motorcycle. Unfortunately, the motorcycle hit the sidewalk and both teens sustained minor injuries. Eventually the scene was dropped.
The filming took place in July throughout the Oklahoma City-metro area — from the state Capitol and Lake Hefner, to a house in Edmond. “It is amazing that people came from all over the United States here to Edmond to film a movie, and all we had to do is drive into town. It was kind of neat,” said Jolly’s father.
Jolly’s favorite part of being an actress is acting itself. “I get to test myself and see if I can pull off the mean girl, pull off all these different roles,” she said. “I get to see if I can do all these different things and still incorporate my own life in it.” Between school, acting classes and a part-time baby-sitting job, she still finds time to read, paint and hang out with friends. They often joke that she should start taking them to movie premieres and introducing them to famous actors when she becomes famous. “They think it’s so cool.”
The young actress hopes to have many premieres in the future. “I am not sure what I would want to do other than acting.” Jolly’s advice to those who want to pursue an acting career is to work hard and be persistent. “It just takes so much trying out and failing before you finally get that one part that’s exactly right for you and you nail it. It’s an amazing feeling.”
“Just Crazy Enough” is still in production and will be released sometime in 2012. Along with Jolly’s performance in the movie, Edmonites can certainly enjoy the role their charming city played in it.