At 14-years-old, Bailee Madison already possesses a resume that actors four times her age would drool over -- in less than five years she's worked with Guillermo del Toro, Nicole Kidman, Billy Crystal, Natalie Portman, Hilary Swank, Bette Midler, Sam Rockwell, Jim Sheridan among many others.
Following a bewitching turn as Young Snow White on ABC's Once Upon A Time, Madison is now starring on the networks' best new comedy, Trophy Wife, as Hillary Harrison, the truly modern family's over-achieving eldest child. I caught up with Bailee following the Trophy Wife SAG Foundation Q&A to talk about how she came to acting, to the show and to relate to this character on a deep level.
ETonline: Did you always dream of being an actor?
Bailee Madison: I honestly don't even know how I got into acting. It happened so quickly because my mom and sister used to do commercials, and apparently when I was little I would unbuckle myself from the stroller and crash their auditions. So I guess, in a way, I was trying to get into the business from a young age [laughs], but I don't think I really realized how much I loved it until I booked my first movie and found myself in New Zealand for six months filming Bridge to Terabithia.
ETonline: You're 15 episodes into filming the first season now, how does the reality of who Hillary's become compare your hopes for her?
Madison: We wrap our episodes on Fridays, so Saturdays are my favorite days because I wake up to an email from the writers with the new script, and I always get so excited because I know it'll be better all-around than the script from the week before. It's been really great because when I stepped in, everyone was trying to figure our Hillary, but now we all have a greater understanding of who she is.
ETonline: And who do you think she is?
Madison: She's really her mother -- she's kind of following in her footsteps and that was something, coming in, that I don't think we understood. As they saw my chemistry with Marcia [Gay Harden, who plays Diane], that storyline just kind of seemed so obvious. It's funny because we've never seen her try and choose sides with her mom and Kate, and I think that would be a really funny situation to play. Just having her stuck in between those two.
ETonline: This is the first show you've been a series regular on, so it's the first time you've been able to take a character on an open-ended journey. How has that process been for you?
Madison: To think that I could be playing Hillary for the next 6 years of my life, and that there could be no end to playing her, is the most incredible thing for an actor to hear. When you have a movie, you know who they start out as and where they go. But this is constantly changing and you're growing with the character. For me, it's been the most magical experience in the world. I love it so, so much.
ETonline: What are you excited for fans to see in tonight's Christmas episode?
Madison: It is wild. I remember reading the script and thinking "How are they going to pull this off?" It's such a big episode that we started filming it on Sunday and finished on Friday, but we didn't care because we all believed so much in making this episode the best one possible. Everyone is so good in this episode -- you know the emoji of one person laughing and crying? Well, that was me filming the whole episode. It's so funny and it's got so much heart -- it's something I could not be more proud of. It's unique and different and I think it will set us apart from all other Christmas episodes.