Bailee Madison has grown up before our very eyes. We’ve seen her in several movies and shows including Wizards of Waverly Place, The Fosters and Once Upon a Time. She’s even become a published author! Now, she’s staring in the newest Netflix musical called A Week Away. The movie musical follows Will, a troubled teen who has a run-in with the law and must attend a Christian summer camp. There, Will finds himself falling in love with Bailee Madison’s character Avery as he heals the wounds from his past. Bailee even served as a producer on the movie! YEM spoke with Bailee about the new movie and the impressive career she’s had at just 21 years old!
Young Entertainment Magazine: How have you been doing during this time with Covid and lockdown?
Bailee Madison: The most important thing is thankfully that my friends and my family and loved ones have been healthy and are alright. I feel like that is the biggest blessing here. And it has obviously been so nice to be able to talk about this movie and get to have this. Even if it is from my home and all virtual, because it is a big part of my heart. So all in all it’s very good, and I’m very grateful.
YEM: You have been acting since a very young age, who or what got you into acting?
Bailee: It just sort of happened to be honest. My mom and my sister did commercials, and when I was little I would go with them and hang out in the waiting room. When I was five my sister was auditioning for something, she’s 13 years older than me, and they came out and they said “does your little sister act?” and they said “I don’t know” and they said “would she like to audition?” They asked me and I said sure, and from that moment on it was pretty much 11 months out of the year. It has been quite the journey, and humbling, and a really just beyond fulfilling time for me.
YEM: What are some tips you can give someone pursuing a career in acting?
Bailee: I would say patience is probably the biggest thing. We hear about all these overnight success stories, and that does happen. But I do feel like the reality of it is even the people that you think are working or not hearing the word no from the things that they would love to do still experience that. I think patience, and what will be will be for you. I also encourage people to fall in love with the business as a whole. I’m a big believer in not waiting for the right script to come around and to create your own things, write, and have discussions.
If you are home and are waiting to be on a set, dive into that creative mind of yours. Start writing, make videos with your friends, and start uploading as a short online. Thankfully social media is around now, so I feel like the possibilities are really endless in this day and age. A lot more than what they were like when I started out.
YEM: You’ve also worked with many talented people in your career, have any taken you under their wing and guided you through the process?
Bailee: I feel so fortunate, I feel like any set I was able to be on I found myself being taken care of, and had people look out for me, and that meant the world to me. There are so many people in my life that I have been able to keep near and dear to my heart. And personally be able to know me and guide me. They are all a huge chunk of why I am who I am as well. I feel really blessed with the relationships in my life and the friendships that have turned out from there.
YEM: Was there something that they taught you that you’ve taken with you project to project?
Bailee: Definitely! I feel like I was constantly always trying to be sponge without knowing when I was younger. And I feel like some of the best lessons are taught when you kind of sit back and are silent and you watch and you listen. For me it was the little things from how you treat your crew. Katie Holmes is always exceptional when it came to that and the way she treated everyone on that set, so that is something I have always taken with me.
One of my first films, Josh Hutcherson and Anna Sophia Robb were in it. And I was the baby. I was the newbie. And they had already been working and were so respected. And just the way that they nurtured me as the kid on set and included me and taught me. That’s something that whenever I have a sibling in a show, or someone that is starting out, or anything like that. I remember the way they treated me on that set. I could go on and on with stories but really being a silent listener and the also vocal conversations that I’ve been able to have with these beautiful humans I’ve gotten through my personal life and my work of course.
YEM: In your new film A Week Away you do quite a bit of singing. And sound amazing by the way. Do you have any tips?
Bailee: Oh gosh, I don’t know! I’m like a musical movie over here! It’s been a dream of mine for so many years and I was just so ecstatic when this project came along. It felt like the perfect fit that I have been waiting for to finally step into music. But you are asking the wrong person because I am learning all of these tips as we speak.
I would say that I think your voice is capable of doing so much more than you are aware of. So don’t be afraid to find that part of you and to a melody that might sound terrible five times in a row, but you will be able to find that sweet spot. I think the recording process of all these songs were so great for that reason. Because I do feel like it was a step into finding my voice and now i’m continuously getting to do that. Just have fun with it, laugh it off if your voice cracks- it’ll be alright!
YEM: Did you find that any warm up routines worked best for you?
Bailee: I made an effort if I knew I was recording early in the morning and I was going straight to record and not dance rehearsals to definitely wake up earlier than I usually would have, just to make sure that my voice had enough time to wake up. Hot water, lemon, honey- that was a big thing. We have a tea kettle in the studio. And just was constantly either spooning honey in my throat or having hot water and honey. But I think just taking care of your voice. And if you are recording all day in the studio to take it easy. When you go home as well and giving it a second to rest and rehydrate those vocal chords.
YEM: I read that you’re a co-producer for A Week Away, what about this film and the character of Avery is important to you that you had to tell it?
Bailee: Oh Man! There were so many things. The one thing that really stood out for me was obviously the fact that the entire family could sit down and watch this movie. It feels really acceptable for kids and teenagers. But also my sister who’s 32 years old, has kids of her own, and her husband too. They sat down and watched the movie and absolutely loved it. I think that the idea that the kids can be entertained, the teens can love it, and also the moms and dads. They can enjoy it too and they’re not bored.
That’s a really special thing when you’re able to make a movie that covers, hopefully, the entire family. That was an appeal. Obviously the faith based side of it, as i’ve always been very vocal and honest about my upbringing and my faith. If there’s ever a chance to get to do a movie that shines a light on that it’s also very personally exciting. But it didn’t feel like it was exclusive, it felt inclusive in my opinion. And it never felt like we were trying to shove an idea down anyone’s throat. If you’re on that journey great, if not this movie should still bring love, hope, and light into your home.
All of that combined and also my love for being behind the scenes, it was a no brainer. So when it came up that I could co-produce it with them it was such an honor and we just dove right in.
YEM: A Week Away is quite inspirational, When you wake up in the morning what are some inspirational things you tell yourself?
Bailee: I just take a good deep breath. I definitely call my mom, she’s in Florida, and with the pandemic obviously it’s not too safe to get on a plane right now. So I always have a little talk with her and my family. I think the big thing is that you never know what the day is going to hold. And every day is really precious. We are really experiencing that right now with how quickly your life can change in just a day.
I usually just wake up and I’m like whatever today throws at you you can handle it, be kind, remember your morals and your moral compass. And just try to enjoy the day. And if you don’t get all your tasks done that’s ok Bailee, but try your best. I think it’s just an act of trying to be gentler and kinder to myself. And I think that’s something that we need to do a bit more of.
YEM: Did you have any rituals or a fun routine that you would do before doing your musical numbers in the film?
Bailee: To be honest, any ritual would probably just be us quickly trying to get one last dance rehearsal in before we film. Once our dance rehearsals were up for the four weeks we went straight into filming. And so you can’t be in those rehearsals, you need to be getting the rest of the movie done. The team and I tried even if we had a 20 minute break or one tap number had a scene off we would jump into dance rehearsals and let them practice.
Oftentimes these huge elaborate numbers we frankly didn’t have too much time to film. We just had to really dial in and focus on what time the sun would be going down. Or if this would be the only location time that we could use this. And if this is the last chance to get this number. So there was a lot of adrenaline. We quickly would go over the moves, cross our fingers, and hope for the best.
YEM: Since you’ve done so much already what’s something you still want to pursue?
Bailee: For me, I would love to be able to write something and then hop behind the camera again. That is something that I have really been heavily discussing. And I feel like it would be a really fulfilling journey to get to go on. Also music of my own feels really fitting now as a 21 year old. And now having this movie come out. It is a big part of who I am, and it’s a huge passion of mine. So getting to finally share my side of the story and my voice, not as a character but as Bailee. All of those ideas I would love to give a go!