Interview: Bailee Madison Talks Doing Her Own Stunts in THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT

The violent and terrifying The Strangers: Prey at Night is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital. Bailee Madison plays Kinsey, the teenage daughter of Cindy (Christina Hendricks) and Mike (Martin Henderson), who has to try and help her family survive a brutal attack by the infamous strangers. There’s lots of bloody fight scenes and Kinsey ends up in the middle of most of them and has to find more and more creative ways to fight back. Dread Central had the pleasure of chatting with the very talented Bailee Madison about what it was like to play Kinsey, doing her own stunts, and more!

Dread Central: Hi Bailee! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today!
Bailee Madison: Of course! They say we’ve got ten minutes, but I would talk to you for the longest time if you wanted (laughs).

DC: What was your reaction when you read the script for The Strangers: Prey at Night and what appealed to you the most about the character Kinsey?
BM: I could talk about this forever, but I will try and keep it short. I fell in love with the script. I read it right after I had surgery, so that probably added to the experience (laughs). I was just so in love and so refreshed by this type of a horror script. I had actually been reading so much at that moment in my life. I just had yet to find a horror script that was so smart and so different and engaging, yet grounded. And then this came along. I fell in love with the characters and their relationship, and then very quickly was caught up and enamored by the craziness that the three crazy killers can instill in one’s life.

The physicality was a huge excitement for me as well. It’s very detailed in the script and very stunt oriented and very physical. In terms of why I liked Kinsey, I truly never played a character like her before. I wanted to know more about her. I really felt like I could truly bring her to life and the layers that she has as this very tough and broken girl. You quickly have to break that down and she’s a child again in her mom’s arms. And then she has to step up and try and become an adult in a few minutes. Those were just very exciting key points for me to try and tackle the best that I could. I just love the people involved, Christina Hendricks and our director Johannes Roberts and Lewis and Martin. For me it was just a no brainer.

DC: The film initially presents Kinsey as a typical rebellious teenager, but like you said, later we find out there are so many more layers to her and she’s an incredibly strong young woman. Did you draw from any personal experiences for your performance?
BM: Genuinely, I’ve never had three people try and kill me. Thank God (laughs). I don’t smoke and I love my family and I have just a very wonderful relationship with my entire family. For me, I think why I loved her so much was that Kinsey was a stranger to my life. A complete stranger from any character I’ve ever played, so for me there really wasn’t much to draw from except what I think she would be feeling. I think that’s what made the experience so much fun. It was fun to figure out what kind of music she listens to and how she scratches in her notebook and what it’s like to be her. That’s what for me was a really fun part of the creative process.

DC: You mentioned the physicality of it and there’s a lot of violence. You have a lot of fight scenes with the strangers when they’re trying to kill you. How did you prepare for the violent scenes and was it as physically challenging as it appears?
BM: The first thing when I got to Kentucky was I met with Johannes, the director, who I just have to say is such a genius and such an amazing guy. Then Cal, who is equally incredible and is our stunt coordinator. I said, “I really want to do my own stunts. I know you guys probably hear it all the time, but I really want to do my stunts, like I want to be in there. I want the shots to be real. I want it to genuinely be my face, please put me through the ringer.” On the first day they just kind of threw me right in and I went home bleeding with cuts and bruises (laughs). I went back the next day and did it again and I just fell more and more in love with it. It just kind of became the adrenaline of the craziness of wanting to do more and wanting to do another take and falling harder. Those were just things that were so much fun for me.

I remember at the end of filming, probably one of the most cherished memories I’ll ever have, Cal came up to me and the entire stunt team was just incredible. They had made me a Strangers t-shirt where it said Stunts. He said, “I really tried to break you within the first few days because it would have been much easier to throw my people in there, but you wouldn’t let me. So, you’re welcome to be a part of the team anytime.” That just meant so much to me.

DC: It sounds like you guys had a really great working relationship behind the scenes. I’m wondering, because the film is so intense, what your down time was like. Do you have a favorite moment from filming or a funny story that you could tell me?
BM: Oh my goodness. When it came down to weekends, we really only had a day, because we did night shoots. We would get home at like 9 am on a Saturday. We would sleep all day Saturday and then kind of have Sunday. In terms of just moments, we really did all get along really well with each other. I mean, were in Kentucky. We were in the middle of nowhere. Lewis would come over to my hotel and we could play Scrabble to try and stay on the night shoots. He and I would just go at it with my mom (laughs), and Christina would come over. Christina, me and my mom and a friend of ours who was visiting, we would play Scrabble until about 4 am. I just remember walking outside with Christina and chatting with her until the early hours, and just really special moments that we created. Like in between takes and just chatting with people and we really did all genuinely enjoy each other, and I think that just made it that much more special.

DC: Are you working on any new projects you can tell me about?
BM: Well, I’m really excited. I just had a YA book come out called Losing Brave. It’s a psychological thriller that I co-wrote with a friend of mine named Stefne Miller. We wrote that to adapt into a screenplay, so that’s officially out right now in stores and online. That was a fun process. Then I have the fourth season of Good Witch, which is on Hallmark Channel right now Sunday nights at 9 pm. Then I have a few things that I’m excited to announce, but I’m not allowed yet. Once I’m able to, I’ll be really excited.

DC: I’m really looking forward to that. By the way, I loved you in The Strangers: Prey at Night. I thought you were really fantastic.
BM: I’m so happy! This genuinely will go down in the books as one of my favorite things. I’m really glad you guys liked it. We all worked our butts off (laughs), so I’m glad you guys enjoyed it.




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