Close Encounters of the Celebrity Kind...
Virginia Madsen Returns to "Haunt" Theatres
Expanded Edition of 3-27-09 Chicago Tribune Interview
by Richard Knight, Jr.
The luminous actress at a film premiere, realizing that something's really...off in The Haunting of Connecticut, at a screening with
son Jack in 2007
Chicago area native Virginia Madsen won widespread acclaim for her Oscar nominated role in 2004’s “Sideways.” Since then the
versatile actress has starred opposite Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey, Forest Whitaker, and Billy Bob Thornton playing an assortment of
characters including a waitress, a bakeshop owner, a femme fatale, a lot of moms and supportive wives, and an angel in Robert
Altman’s last film, “A Prairie Home Companion.” Horror audiences have loved her since she starred in the 1992 cult movie
“Candyman” (filmed partially on location in Chicago at Cabrini Green). Madsen, a big fan of atmospheric gothic horror movies had
been looking to return to the genre for awhile when she read “The Haunting In Connecticut” script. In the film, based on a true
story, Madsen plays the fiercely protective mother of a teenage son afflicted with cancer who apparently is strongly desired by the
ghostly inhabitants of a creepy old house her family has moved into.
Q: I remember the publicity about the spooky things that happened during the making of “The Exorcist” and “The Amityville Horror”
– what was the atmosphere like on your set?
A: I looked at the script and thought “This is a very big movie; we don’t have enough time to make it and we have to go to some
dark places.” So I thought the best way to accomplish that was to keep the atmosphere fun and light. Now, we stayed in the Fort
Garry Hotel in Manitoba which is like in “The Shining” – one of those big, gothic hotels and it was said to be haunted. So of course
Kyle (Gallner) and Amanda (Crew) had to stay on the haunted floor and report every day about the latest haunting that they’d
experienced the night before (laughs).
Q: “Come and play with us Virginia…”
A: Yes! So they were endlessly filled with creepiness. They were convinced that there were things under the bed and all that stuff
(laughs) but I decided that was not going to happen to me.
Q: I understand that there was something very unique about the corpses in the film – that they were anatomically correct. Is that
A: Oh my God, I’m chagrined but yes it is.
Q: (laughs) That’s delightful.
A: Well there was this one corpse that was, as you say, anatomically correct and the funny thing was that it was so real that they had
placed a little handkerchief over his manhood, so to say. It was like we were high school – everyone kept sneaking in and taking
pictures with it and looking at it and laughing and running out. It was just irresistible; it was so funny.
Q: This mother has to protect her son from a house full of really bad dead people. What’s the scariest thing you’ve had to do the
same thing for your son Jack (who is 14)?
A: I don’t think we’ve gotten there yet because I haven’t had to give him the keys to the car. I haven’t dealt with that kind of terror
yet and I knock on wood when I think of it. He’s so far a very, very good boy and things are just emotional teenage stuff right now.
Q: You’ve said you love scary movies. Do you have a favorite?
A: There was a George C. Scott movie in the 1970s called “The Changeling.” It’s one of the scariest movies ever. It’s a movie that
I would very much like to remake. I’d like to play the George C. Scott character. When I was first trying to find a good horror script I
was looking up “The Changeling” to see if I could buy the rights and then I saw that Angelina Jolie was making it with Clint Eastwood
directing and I was like, “Damn!” but then of course (laughs) it’s a different story.
Q: You’re from the Chicago area – a place famous for a lot of haunted happenings – have you had a paranormal experience
A: No, not really though I really believe that it exists. I’ve never seen ghosts myself; hadn’t had any visitations – at least that I’m
aware of (laughs). It could all be happening all around us, we just don’t know.
Q: Your hardcore fans want to know if they’re ever going to see Virginia Madsen do another “Candyman” film.
A: I really wanted to. Tony (Todd) was signed on to do three though people weren’t really making sequels or prequels then and the
only way I would sign on was if Bernard Rose wrote and directed the second one and quite frankly, they didn’t like his ideas. He had
two ideas for “Candyman” sequels that were fantastic but the film company didn’t like it and I thought that was really a shame. I
thought it would have been beautiful. They’ve already made three and I doubt Tony Todd would want to revisit it.
Q: I understand that they’re doing a Japanese remake of “Sideways.”
A: (Delighted) Yes they are and it’s so funny because it’s like the four of us in Japanese. Wouldn’t it be great if the four of us went
to the premiere and met the four of them? I want to go out and have wine with all of them (laughs).