Saturday, 14 December 2019

Teenager lands role in Hollywood comedy Last Christmas

Teenager lands singing role in Hollywood comedy Last Christmas

A TEENAGE girl from Henley won a singing and acting role in a Hollywood film after passing her first ever audition.

Madison Ingoldsby  stars in the opening scene of Last Christmas, a festive romantic comedy in which she plays a younger version of the lead character, a former singer called Kate played by actress Emilia Clarke.

The 14-year-old appears in a childhood flashback filmed at St Sophia Cathedral in West London, in which Kate performs a version of Heal the Pain by George Michael and Paul McCartney while backed by a children’s choir.

The scene lasts for about two minutes before fast-forwarding to the present to show the adult Kate singing the same song while daydreaming in her bath.

The film was written by actress Emma Thompson and inspired by the music of Michael, who died at his Goring home in 2016. It was released into cinemas on Friday.

The story follows shop worker Kate who is bitter at the decline of her singing career and struggling to maintain a good relationship with her family until a mysterious stranger gives her a new outlook on life.

Madison, who lives with her mother Jane Vaughan and sister Anaiyah, 10, has been singing, dancing and acting since she was six.

She was alerted to the role by her agent and attended her first audition in London on the same day that she arrived home from a school trip to America.

She forgot the lyrics to the song while performing because she was nervous, jet-lagged and recovering from a cold. Despite this, she was accepted for a second audition followed by a final one a few weeks later.

Soon afterwards her agent told her she had been successful.

Madison, who is currently studying for her GCSEs, including drama and dance, at Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead, had to record herself singing at Air Studios in Hampstead, where she met Thompson for the first time.

She then had to mime to it while wearing choristers’ robes during the main shoot in Bayswater just before Christmas last year.

The session lasted about three hours during which she briefly met Clarke and the film’s director Paul Feig, whose previous works include Bridesmaids (2011), The Heat (2013) and Ghostbusters (2016).

Madison is yet to see the finished film because she has been travelling around the world on dancing commitments.

But her mother and sister have seen it and say they were moved by her performance.

Madison said: “I was really panicking during the first audition and I thought I’d done really badly but I guess the lady could tell that I could sing.

“I was really annoyed with myself and thought I’d messed up my first good opportunity as I’d nailed it in the car before we got there. Mum was saying ‘don’t worry, there’ll be other chances’ and when I heard I’d got a second audition I was shocked, although not as much as when I actually got the part.

“I felt a lot of pressure at the second audition and I was nervous but it went fine once I started.

“I was so excited when I heard the good news and the shoot itself was amazing. I was treated like royalty — they had breakfast waiting for me first thing in the morning and Emma was in the room when I was having my hair and make-up done.

“She was so lovely, like a big mum figure, and was hugging everyone and saying what a great job they’d done. She was very down-to-earth, which you wouldn’t think from some of the roles she has done but she’s very different in real life.”

Madison performed her scene many times over so it could be filmed from different angles and she had to keep her concentration when a camera mounted on a crane was inches from her face.

She said: “It was very strange the first time because you’re doing the scene with all these faces staring at you and suddenly this camera comes out of nowhere and gets right up close. I had no idea it was going to happen but I managed not to flinch and keep going like it wasn’t there.

“There was a very cute moment where one of the choir kept leaning in to get into the shot with me and Paul had to ask her to keep standing up straight. He was very patient, though, and always very positive with his suggestions.”

Throughout the shoot she chatted with Harry Holland, the younger brother of Spider-Man actor Tom Holland, who was an extra.

Madison didn’t realise who he was until she got home. She said: “I was annoyed about that because I really like Tom. I was chatting with Harry about the heavy coats we’d been given to wear between takes and he said, ‘yes, my brother always wears these on set’ but it didn’t click.

“At the end, a woman asked where my coat was and I said I’d given it to ‘the boy who looks like Tom Holland, but with curly hair’ as I still hadn’t realised. I finally made the connection when I saw him on Tom’s Instagram feed!

“I only said a quick ‘hello’ to Emilia because there wasn’t much time to chat but she was very sweet and bubbly with everyone on set. I felt a bit shy meeting her.”

Madison said she enjoyed the filming experience but wanted to continue focusing on her dancing.

She danced with the professionals and celebrity contestants in an opening routine of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2016 and more recntly won an international competition in China with her new dance partner Mark Chilcote, 16.

In 2014 she and a former partner and three other couples won the world championships at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool representing Team GB.

Madison said: “I really enjoy being a ‘triple threat’ rather than doing just the one thing and I don’t want to narrow anything down.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the film though it still doesn’t feel real to think that I’m actually going to be in it with all these stars. I haven’t told too many people because I don’t want to look like I’m boasting but I’ve let my close friends know and a few others have found out through my mum. They’ve all been really supportive.”

Mrs Vaughan said: “It was quite an achievement because she was up against thousands of girls from around the country and Emma had the final say on who would be cast. Maddie was a bit worried after the first audition but they knew a bit about her background so they were confident that she deserved another chance.

“Emma absolutely loved Madison’s voice, which is why she insisted on coming to the recording session to hear her in person. She said she knew she was the right one when she heard her.

“Madison was nervous when she recorded the vocal track at the studio because she was inside this little box in a room that’s big enough for an orchestra. However, the sound engineer said she did an amazing job and very few professionals managed a first take as good as hers.

“It was an incredible opportunity for her and because it’s a Christmas film it will hopefully be watched for many years to come. It takes a lot to bring a tear to my eye but I was quite shocked by the twist at the end. Anaiyah was crying when she saw her big sister on the screen.”

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