Madison Iseman Tells Us About ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’
Determined, caring, passionate, and social media lover are only a few things that describe Still the King and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star Madison Iseman. Iseman has been a determined actor ever since she started playing with the camera and writing short films as a child. She is caring to the other hilarious cast members she gets to work with during her days on Still the King. Iseman has kept her passion for acting but realized that caring for one’s self is equally as important. She loves expressing her identity through social media and the sharing of thoughts it brings out. However, after speaking with Iseman, we quickly realized there is more to her than meets the eye.
Cliché: What inspired you to get into acting? Was it something you’ve always wanted to do?
Madison Iseman: Growing up, going to the movies was always my favorite thing to do. It still is. Harry Potter was the first movie that hooked me. As soon as I saw the first movie, my only goal in life was to be Hermione Granger. In middle school, I started making my own short films (they are absolutely terrible and I can’t figure out my password to take them off the internet). I was really obsessed with horror films at the time, so my friends and I would come up with some crazy concept and just improv from there. I’ve been obsessed with the camera as long as I can remember.
What can you tell us about your character, Charlotte, in Still the King?
Charlotte is the coolest girl in the world. She is everything I wish I was when I was 16. She’s fun and witty and has great taste in music, clothes, and boys. She’s just started a relationship with her father in season 1, but through time, they’ve grown. Now I think she sees a lot of herself in him.
What is it like working with Billy Ray Cyrus?
Working with Billy Ray Cyrus is amazing. I grew up watching Hannah Montana so I’ve always been a fan. He might also be one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Our entire cast is always getting in trouble for laughing too much in between takes. He’s a very humble and simple man. If you ever get the chance to meet him, buy him a Dr. Pepper. He will be very happy.
What do you love most about the show?
The people; 100% the people. I’ve made relationships that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my life. We’re all just a bunch of people that want to make the world laugh and smile. It’s a simple, kooky show and we’re a bunch of simple, kooky people. That was really cheesy, I’m sorry.
You’re playing Bethany, the popular girl in the upcoming action comedy Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Can you tell us more about your character?
Bethany is your classic pretty, phone-obsessed, kind of mean, entitled teenage girl. But underneath all that, she’s just an insecure girl trying to figure out who she really is.
Since the notoriously comedic Jack Black takes on your character as your “avatar” in the film, were you able to meet and work with him? How was that experience?
Yes! I got to meet pretty much the entire cast! The entire experience was unreal. Jack and I had the chance to sit down and do some character work on Bethany. We totally had to be on the same page since we’re sharing this character together. The process was easier than you think. The entire time filming, we were able to watch playback from our avatars to make sure we were all on the same page.
From all your past experiences working in film and television, what was one of the most memorable moments you had?
Probably the table read for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Production flew the “teens” out to Hawaii for a general table read with the rest of the cast. It was the most terrifying/coolest experience of my life. It was the first time I had worked on such a big production with so many named talents. I was seated between Jack Black and The Rock…not terrifying at all! It ended up being so cool though! Like I said, Jack and I got the opportunity to go over the character that we’re both playing and get to know each other. We started the table read and the “teens” are the first to speak in the movie. I was praying someone would laugh when I read my lines, and thank God they did!
Did you have any funny moments while working with your other castmates Alex Wolf, Ser’Darius Blain, and Morgan Turner?
We worked very, very, very long days, so every day got funny towards the end. I think everyone was pretty delusional. The day we filmed the sequence of getting “sucked” into the TV was a very funny day. The effects were done post-production, so we pretty much just had to act like we were getting sucked into the TV and then drop to the floor and get out of frame. It was a weird day; we looked ridiculous.
If you were actually stranded in a jungle and could only have one possession besides a phone, what would that possession be?
Probably some dark chocolate. I wouldn’t last a day in a jungle, especially the Jumanji jungle, so at least I would have some chocolate.
Did you learn any memorable lessons when acting on TV or in a film?
I’ve learned too many lessons to count. I moved to LA when I was 16, so I still had a lot of growing up to do. The greatest lesson I ever learned was what it actually means to take care of yourself, physically and mentally. Season 1 of Still the King was a challenge. I was newly 18 and had to move to a city where I knew absolutely nobody, and go to work with a bunch of people in their 40s. I really struggled with anxiety and depression the first few months. I slipped so far into my anxiety that I actually broke out in shingles. Thankfully, I got right on medication and was only sick for about a month. For the first time in my life, I realized taking care of yourself has to be a priority.
When acting, what is a normal day for you?
Early call times, which means I wake up at about 4:30 AM, drive and arrive on set at 5:00 AM, eat breakfast, slip into hair and makeup, then off to set to work. I always try to find time to go to the gym after, and then I eat dinner and go to bed.
When not working, what do you enjoy doing?
When I’m not working, I’m enjoying my downtime. I’m a homebody, so I love to be home on my couch with my kitty, Owen. I enjoy reading, going to the beach, hiking, and hanging out with friends. Right now, I’m currently obsessed with going to the gym!
It seems you love social media, especially Instagram, and see it more for its ability to help people express themselves and connect with others. What should people know when using social media and why do you think people shouldn’t focus on their likes and followers?
I really do love social media! I love connecting with people and most importantly, sharing pictures. I think people should stop taking social media so seriously. It is very easy to get wrapped up into the attention that comes with it, but it’s important to remember that those likes and follows are just numbers. What’s really important is your connection with the people and the world around you. Social media is an excellent platform to update, share your thoughts, show off your new haircut, or post your #OOTD that you’re really proud of, don’t get me wrong. I just think it’s important that people remember what really matters isn’t on your phone.