Interview: Madison Iseman

From the interview archives.

Vulkan caught up with actress Madison Iseman to talk about her experience as Bethany on CMT’s Still the King, working with Billy Ray Cyrus, and her upcoming role in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Still the King has just entered it’s second season. How has it been working on this set with this cast?

It has been the quickest two years of my life! Through Still The King I have met the most amazing people. The entire cast is so talented and down to earth, they make work very easy. They all have a very special place in my heart.

I know you play guitar and sing as well, have you had an opportunity to jam with Billy Ray off set yet? 

Yes! We actually have! I had to leave my guitar behind this year because I was going back and forth between Nashville and Atlanta, so Billy Ray let me borrow one of his! 

Your character Charlotte had a pretty emotional first season as she met her father. What was going through her mind when she realized her father is a washed up former music star?

Charlotte has some pretty tough skin. Seeing her father for the first time at fifteen years old was the farthest thing from easy. In her mind, I don’t think it really mattered who he was. Washed up country singer or not, he was the man that wasn’t present the first fifteen years of her life.

Expanding on that, how was she feeling towards the end of the season, particularly after Vernon left her again? Was she feeling abandoned?

Towards the end of the season, Charlotte definitely grew very fond of Vernon! She had really gotten comfortable with the idea of him taking on the role of finally being a father. So this time when Vernon left, she was heartbroken, but I don’t think she felt abandoned. She understood why he had to do what he did, but that heartbreak was short lived because Vernon made his way back after realizing he can’t run from his problems forever.

What one thing do you think Charlotte wants to say to Vernon but is holding back?

I think Charlotte would like to say “thank you.” Thank you for coming back, loving me, and trying to mend things back together.

You’ll also be appearing as Bethany in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Were you a big fan of the original film when you first auditioned for the role?

Yes! I was a huge fan of the original. It’s probably my favorite Robin Williams movie.

How does Bethany wind up playing the game?

Bethany discovers the game along with Spencer, Martha, and Fridge one day during detention. Out of boredom, they decide to give it a go. Little do they know what their boredom is about to lead them to.

When the game gets underway, is she excited, nervous, or scared? Does she try to get out of it?

Terrified! One second all is calm, and the next they’re being sucked into the game! There isn’t even time to think about trying to get out of it. 

The film has a pretty remarkable cast…. Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black amongst others. What was it like for you working with these veteran actors? 

The table read alone was one of the most memorable days of my life. I’ve watched the three of them growing up, and I’ve always looked up to them. I got the opportunity to sit down with Jack Black and discuss our character Bethany to make sure we were on the same page with her mannerisms. I never in a million years thought I’d ever share a role with Jack Black!

What do you hope the response is for those die-hard fans of the original? 

I really hope they love it. I hope they’re able to see that no one is trying to “recreate” the magic of the first film, but we’re simply continuing-on the magic and bringing it to life for a new generation of kids 20-ish years later! 

Robin Williams really shined in the original film as Alan Parrish, some would even say Jumanji isn’t Jumanji without him. Will this film allude to him at all, or is it going to be a completely independent film?

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is hugely influenced by Robin Williams’s performance as Alan Parrish. Our movie takes place 20-ish years later, so we get to see where he was all that time he was gone… the secrets that only Alan Parrish knows.

Would you personally ever play Jumanji

Absolutely not! First off, I am so bad at video games, extremely terrible. Second, I would for sure be the first one eaten by an rhino, no doubt about that.

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