This week, the brand new movie A Cowgirl's Story officially came out on iTunes and DVD. The film is an exciting project for actress Bailee Madison, because not only did the 17-year-old play the leading role of Dusty Rhodes in the movie, but she also worked behind-the-scenes as a producer. TWIST caught up with Bailee to ask her all about the making of the movie, and working with some of her closest friends along the way. Check out our exclusive Q & A below.
TWIST: Congratulations on the movie being out! How does it feel?
Bailee Madison: It's so exciting. It's one of those things where you prep and prep, and then it's time to put your baby out in the world. All of the hard work everyone has put in to the film is finally out there. You cross your fingers and say a prayer that people connect to it and people like it. It's nerve-wrecking but very exciting.
TWIST: And you wore so many different hats on this one, with producing, and acting, and everything!
BM (laughs) That's what's even more nerve-wrecking! Like even if the acting side is good, there are 12 other sides to come back at you! I'm so excited to be a part of it in that way as well.
TWIST: What was it like in the very early beginning stages putting it together?
BM: The process was really fun. It started with a phone call from Timothy Armstrong, who was the writer of this film and also the director of Cowgirls and Angels, which is how we really met and the story started. He said, "I love the idea of this character for you, but I also want to put you behind the camera, what are your thoughts?" And obviously I was so honored to be even asked that. So I read the script and I loved it, and I met with the team and we started that day at a breakfast meeting that we had. And then came casting, and location scouting, and getting the hair and makeup team, and getting props, and everything from scratch. It was an amazing experience to be a part of that and to be trusted with that.
TWIST: When you were first reading the script, did you already have casting in mind with who you wanted to play each role?
BM: Honestly, I had a couple of ideas, but nothing specifically because I wanted to go in there with a clear mind. With casting I wanted to explore every look and every age that could fit the character, so I didn't let myself start figuring that out until casting started. I wanted to make sure I wasn't locked into a certain look or idea right off the bat, and we were able to explore every option out there. It was so gratifying, and I'm so thankful to everyone that was brought in to be a part of it.
TWIST: And we know you got a really rare gift here where you got to work with some of your friends too. What was it like having them join the cast?
BM: I know! Well, you know it's funny. Because when we first started casting, we weeks and weeks of auditions and tapes being sent in. I'd be up watching tapes until 4 AM and everyone had such an amazing version of their own character, and it was exciting to see it myself.
I mean, I remember putting myself on tape, I remember sending those tapes in. To see it from a different perspective, I think I wanted to cast everybody because I knew all of the hard work they were putting in.
But after like the three- or four-week mark, we weren't quite finding our beloved characters yet. So I started thinking and reaching out to people who were close to me who I admired in the business. And along came Aidan [Alexander], along came Chloe [Lukasiak]. They happened to be my friends, but the friend hat was totally off, and at the end of the day, we wanted to find the best people for these roles. And I'm really proud of them, because I think they really were the best. The characters wouldn't be who they were if they didn't play them.
TWIST: Did you find it more challenging to work with friends over a completely unknown cast? Or was it equally the same for you?
BM: I don't, I think at the end of the day we were all there to work and to put our best work on the screen. When I did have a note, they were so kind and respectful, and so excited to take it, and share ideas with each other. It was a very collaborative and wonderful thing.
TWIST: We actually just talked to Chloe and she said you had a ton of words of wisdom, because she's just starting out her acting career, and that you were great at giving her notes and making her feel comfortable on set.
BM: That's very kind of her to say! I'm so proud of her, again, from a friend standpoint but also as someone behind the camera, to watch her grow scene after scene and take after take. That means a lot to me. I think it's a team collaborative effort on set, it's the people behind the camera, it's the people who put food on the craft services table, your whole team carries you like you would a family.
I think it all stems from a film I did, Bridge to Terabithia, where obviously AnnaSophia Robb and Josh Hutcherson were older than me, and I was 6 years old. They could have excluded me from their nights out, and they didn't have to give me advice, but they did. And they made me feel welcomed, and like one of them. And they made me feel special and so loved.
I try my best to give that back to whoever I'm working with, and hopefully someone felt like that along the way, because I did. It's so sweet of Chloe to say.
TWIST: And you guys had some pretty epic costumes, especially for the riding scenes.
BM: (laughs) Epic? Is epic the right word? Are you sure? I'm glad you think so.
TWIST: So how would you describe the costumes, don't leave it to us to say "epic."
BM: We tried! At the end of the day, they are horse riding costumes. We had a lot of options, and those were the best ones we could fine. Our costume designer really tried to spruce them up. The guys even made fun of us, the pants were just not the most flattering. By the end of it, we just rocked it. We'd turn on some music and dance at lunch. The blue looks good on camera, and it worked with the hair and makeup, the team helped us out! They made it work and we felt good in them.
TWIST: Who would you say spent the most time in hair and makeup? We heard from Chloe it took quite some time to transform into her goth character, for example.
BM: I would say the person who spent the most time in the hair and makeup trailer was Aidan Alexander because he just wouldn't leave no matter who was in there! And he would just lay on the floor and talk to us. So technically, he spent the most time. But realistically, it was a tie between me and Chloe.
Poor Chloe, it's so hard to make someone who's just naturally beautiful look like she's just exhausted and a mess. I remember one day she was supposed to look exhausted in the movie, and she just had so much going on in her life. We went in and looked at her makeup when she got to set and I was like, "I'm sorry, I love you, but you look too pretty." And she's like "Bailee!" And I'm like "You do! Just do me a favor and take your hand and rub your eyes." So she did, and got her mascara kind of messed up, and her eyes were red, and she looked really sad. She seemed mad about but realized it was for Savannah, and she killed it, and she made it really realistic.
The poor girl, too beautiful. You can't look that good!
TWIST: We heard you guys all got to see the finished movie all together after production too. What was that like?
BM: Yeah, I wanted to get the whole cast all together, because I was so proud of them, and everyone was in town. I thought it was really special to see it with everyone and congratulate them. We had a nice night together putting the movie on, and my heart is really grateful that I got to thank them for all that they did.