“The epitome of romance for Chris was the bouquet of Subway sandwiches,” laughs actress Madeleine Arthur as she reminisces about her role as the best friend we all want and need in the American teenage romance trilogy of the decade – To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. From best friend goals to cult escapee and survivor, if you haven’t been keeping up, the extremely talented actress is versatile. “Living in that dark space of emotions over a prolonged time was definitely a unique experience,” she poetically declares of her time as Mae Dodd in the highly-anticipated Netflix suspense thriller, Devil in Ohio. Even without Subway sandwiches in hand, Arthur caught up with Schön! about her time as Chris, and then dished all the delicious details on what we need to know about her totally different role as Mae Dodd.
First of all, how is 2022 treating you and what have been some highlights so far?
Well, 2022 has been a really wonderful year so far. I think I’ve gotten to film some really cool things, and I was able to travel! I spent two months overseas – I was in France and London. I have so much family in London and I love it. I just think it’s a fantastic city. It’s just the energy! My travels consisted of me eating all sorts of good food, seeing some sights, brushing up on my French, and having some long overdue catch ups with family and friends. Overall, it was really special.
It is amazing that you were a competitive gymnast before focusing on acting. Do you ever find yourself missing that or do you still do gymnastics when you are not working?
I think I don’t necessarily miss the training aspect of it because that could be a little intense sometimes, but I definitely miss my ability to do certain skills and strengths. I would like to get back into some type of gymnastics but not like vault bars, beam, floor, etc. Instead I’d love to do silks or acrobatic kind of things. I think that would be so amazing, and I want to get into that.
Of course we loved you as Chris in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy. What did your time as Chris teach you and what was your favorite thing about playing Chris?
She’s a good reminder to just be yourself and be who you are and to walk with confidence through life. We are very different, but where we are similar is that we both just go for it. In terms of what is my favourite thing about Chris? I loved getting to deliver her witty lines and I loved her sense of humor. I also loved getting to work with the whole cast – Lana specifically – and just everyone because when you do three movies together, you become a little family. I miss that we’re not doing it anymore!
Moving on from rom-com to comedy – let’s talk about Blockbuster. You are Hannah – what can you tell us about her?
Hannah is full of joy. She’s fun loving, she’s very optimistic, and she loves her Blockbuster family. I can’t wait for it to come out – I really can’t wait.
What was it like filming Blockbuster?
Oh, that team is incredible. There’s so many comedic geniuses on that set, and just learning from them and playing around with these hilarious lines was great! Getting to walk down the aisles of Blockbuster was like a walk down memory lane for me because I grew up going to Blockbuster multiple times a week. I feel like it influenced my love of cinema and filmmaking and helped inspire me to become an actor by going and renting movies there every week. So getting to work with everyone was honestly just like pure and utter joy – so many laughs on set. I also just loved learning from all these amazing actors who have done so many excellent comedies already.
Switching gears from comedy to Devil in Ohio – which is a suspense thriller that has also been described as sinister. What attracted you to this series and the role?
I love a challenge, and playing Mae was definitely a challenge. She has an utterly different background than my own. She’s coming from a cult – and I really loved the opportunity to get to play such a dynamic and complex character and do a lot of research on it. I’m a huge fan of movies and television series like that, so to get to be in one was so exciting to me.
You are Mae Dodd – strange cult survivor and escapee! What should we know about Mae Dodd?
What I would say about Mae is that nothing is what meets the eye. She’s very mysterious – she’s very enigmatic. Ultimately, she is a survivalist, and she wants to escape her path and fit into this new community to begin this new life. I definitely think there’s characters for everyone to relate to within this story – especially the feeling of wanting to fit in – everyone wants to fit in at some point. That is what Mae is trying to do, she wants to fit in and belong to this new family that she ends up with.
How was it filming such a fast-paced thriller mystery – did you have to do anything differently to prepare for this show?
Preparing to play Mae was different because everything about her and her mannerisms are different from my own. Just every little thing about her was something that I really got to explore, and I did that from the beginning through a lot of research. I watched movies that were related to cults, read articles and just did anything I could to take pieces from other things to make sure I was portraying her as a full human. She’s escaping trauma – she’s been through a really traumatic experience. Overall, living in that dark space of emotions over a prolonged time was definitely a unique experience.
And, actually, of all your roles so far – what has been your favourite character to play and why?
I can’t choose. I love them all because I feel like they’re all such special experiences! And I love getting to dabble in different worlds and I love being able to go through and tell different types of stories etc. They all hold a special place in my heart for different reasons.
Let’s talk about fashion! Recently you have worn Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Dior and more. How would you describe your style and do you have a go-to outfit?
I try to keep it classic and chic, but with a playful twist. And in terms of a go to outfit, right now it’s summer, so I would say sandals and a dress. Keep it fresh, simple and easy. I would love to work with Chanel – I am a huge fan!
More generally, is there someone in the industry (actor, writer, producer, director etc) that you would want to work with that you haven’t had the chance to work with yet?
I would love to work with Marion Cotillard. It’s my dream to do a French movie and one day in life, I would love for that to happen.
Finally, when you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I love the outdoors, so I would go for either a walk or a hike. I love to cook. I love art and art history. So, something involving any of those things! But also, I love watching movies, reading and just always love trying something new. Actually, I don’t really like to sit still at home for very long, so I try to just explore and try new things. I’m always up for an adventure.