Madison Iseman on co-starring with The Rock in 'Jumanji' and her workout regimen
Madison Iseman, 20, has come a long way from reenacting “Harry Potter” scenes with her mom’s camera as a middle schooler in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Fast forward a few years later and Iseman is starring in the box-office smash, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” which is currently the No. 1 movie in North American theaters.
In the family-friendly “Jumanji” franchise film, based on the 1981 children’s book of the same name, Iseman plays the role of Bethany, a self-absorbed teenager that gets transported into the video game world of Jumanji along with three of her classmates. Bethany wondrously morphs into game character Professor Shelly Oberon, played by comedian and actor Jack Black.
Other boldface names, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart also star in the movie, which premiered in late December.
Iseman spoke with espnW about how Hollywood has toughened her up, preparing mentally and physically for her role in “Jumanji” and working with The Rock.
espnW: “Jumanji” is your first major motion picture, discuss your journey.
Madison Iseman: Hollywood is an exciting place. You may be a top talent in your hometown, but when you come out here, everyone shines. A lot of actors arrive in L.A. when they’re like 8-years-old. When I came out here at 16, I was [competing against] many actors who had been here since they were small children.
However, I kept working on my craft and took acting classes to hone my skills. I was getting used to countless rejections, which taught me how the business works. It also allowed me to make friends in a new city. It was all a learning process that made me better.
espnW: How was it to work with such a star-studded cast?
MI: Working on “Jumanji” has been quite a ride, and I loved working with this cast. The script is hilarious so seeing everyone play around both in person and in character was cool.
During the table read, I sat next to Jack Black and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, which almost freaked me out. I was very nervous because my part was first and I just kept thinking, “please, someone laugh,” which they did.
espnW: What’s your typical diet like and how do you maintain healthy eating habits while filming?
MI: I’m no nutrition expert, but I do eat clean and healthy. I always make sure I have a protein, carbs, and lots of greens. Because I’m trying to gain more muscle mass, I try to eat a lot more. I tend not to eat as much while filming, and I had to set reminders on my phone because it’s easy for the day to escape me when shooting.
espnW: How did you get into wellness and what are some of your favorite workouts?
MI: My mom was an athletic instructor, so I hated working out at first because she was always trying to get me to the gym. Back then she would do personal training and teach Pilates plus Zumba. Now she teaches spin and various [full-body] workout classes.
When I turned 18, I got into yoga and discovered barre classes. I’m usually doing a little bit of everything in the gym and have days in which I focus specifically just on my arms, legs, back or chest. A lot of my workouts also come from watching videos on YouTube and Instagram. My favorite accounts to watch are AnnaVictoria and EmLouiseFitness.
I also got into weight training, and in doing so, I’ve watched my body become much stronger.
espnW: Outside of acting, how do you want to impact your fans?
MI: I try to live a humble and happy life. I want my fans to realize that life is too short not to pursue what makes them happy. Some people get stuck in the wheel of habit. The world is endless with opportunities, and you don’t have to settle.