FYIG recently had the chance to chat with actress Madi Violet Graves about her role as Liv in the upcoming indie film After and much more! Don’t miss this interesting look at an up and coming star!
How did you get your start as an actress?
I started acting when I was 10 years old after getting cast as the Wicked Witch of the West in my school’s production of the Wizard of Oz. I went to an all-girls school and ended up playing many male roles throughout my time there. I then went on to study the Meisner Technique at the William Esper Studio in NYC with Bruce McCarty, which was an absolutely life-changing experience.
With your father being a famous hockey player, how important was it for you to follow your own path?
I never really felt any sort of pressure to follow my own path. My parents have always encouraged me to follow my passions, and my dad’s path has been a consistent reminder of the doors that open when you work hard and put your entire being into whatever you are pursuing. I always try and carry this reminder with me.
Did your father ever give you any advice about the pressure of being in the spotlight?
Not directly. He’s an incredibly humble, kind and generous person, and I think those are important qualities to have regardless of whether you are in the spotlight or not.
Talk to us about your role as Liv in the post-apocalyptic indie film After.
Liv is almost primal in her being. She’s impulsive, tough, hotheaded, argumentative, and incredibly strong – emotionally, physically and mentally. She is equally fiercely strong in heart, and takes on the role of leader, in order to protect Cara and maintain some sort of order in a rather chaotic situation. On the inside, Liv is in a lot of pain; she’s afraid, lonely, and hurt by her past, however, she rarely shows it.
What drew you to the role?
I empathize deeply with Liv’s need to be “tough” in order to survive. Although I’m not living in a post-apocalyptic world, I wear this mask too sometimes in my own life, as a means to protect myself from true vulnerability. I’ve always seen it as a “bad” quality, but diving into Liv has shown me that our individual “survival techniques” or masks are truly universal, and a part of being human. There’s a certain feeling of self-acceptance and forgiveness that comes with that realization. I also like to push myself out of my comfort zone. This film is both physically and emotionally demanding and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to really challenge myself on all fronts.
How difficult was it to film primarily outdoors?
So far, it hasn’t been too difficult all. We’ve filmed the summer and autumn scenes so far. However, the winter shoot, with the snow, is definitely going to be the most challenging. I’m looking forward to it!
Talk to us about some of your other recent roles like your role as Ashley in the short Blind Text and Meena in the film The Pride.
I’m currently filming The Pride, a film about a group of intercity kids who come together through an outreach program run by a local dojo. I play Meena – she’s a badass red belt with a whole lot of heart. This is the first role where I’ve ever gotten to practice Shotokan karate, and it’s been a wonderful and incredibly fun learning experience.
I also recently shot a short called Blind Text, which deals with the dangers of social media. I play the hopeless romantic, yet cynical Ashley who meets the “perfect man”. I can’t say too much or else I’ll spoil the ending, but I love the message of the film and had a great time shooting it.
Do you think you’d have any interest working behind the camera at some point in your career?
Absolutely, I’ve written some of my own stuff and would love to get involved working behind the camera at some point. The collaboration involved in filmmaking is my favourite part of the process, and I would like to gain a further understanding of how the whole machine works in order to keep growing as a craftsperson.
Are there any stars in the film industry that you dream of working with someday? Do you have a dream role?
Currently, my favourite actress is Isabelle Huppert, and I would love to work with her. I also adore Tom Hardy, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, Robert DeNiro, Mark Rylance, Saoirse Ronan, Brie Larson, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain, and Meryl Streep (of course), and many, many more. I’m obsessed with the whole cast of Stranger Things – particularly Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin. He’s hilarious!
I don’t really have a dream role. I think my “dream role” is whenever my whole heart is completely drawn to a character and story. Although, maybe a female Jesse Pinkman type character would be cool…I could dig that.
Tell the audience one obscure fact about yourself.
When I was 9 years old, my best friend and I made a Hermione Granger scrapbook and sent it to Emma Watson’s P.O. box. Something tells me she probably didn’t receive it…
Let the readers know where they can find you online.
My instagram is @madivioletgraves. You can also find me on IMDb or Mandy.com.
Also, check out our interview with Robyn Abbott who plays Cara and directs the film After here.