“Nocturne” is about two siblings sharing a dream of playing an extremely important solo during a concerto. While they support each other at first, the support is making place for competition, hate and betrayal. The result? A dark and exciting horror movie by director Zu Quirke and starring Sydney Sweeney and Madison Iseman as the sisters. We had a chat with Madison and talked about the love for music, working with your best friends and the passion for writing.
Liselotte Vanophem: Hi Madison, congratulations on the movie. What was it that makes you wanted to do “Nocturne”?
Madison Iseman: Well, I always love movies that are about the arts. This one, in particular, doesn’t only show arts but also the dark side that comes with a passion for music. I was part of an orchestra in high school, so I was familiar with classical music. There aren’t a lot of stories about classical movies told from the perspective of young women, and so yeah I was very excited to be part of a story like that.
LV: When reading the script, what was the most emotional scene for you?
MI: The one that really hit me when I was reading the script was the scene in which Juliet (played by Sydney Sweeney) takes her sister’s piece and performs it for the first time to get the part at the concerto. That was the scene that made me go ‘Oh, this is going to be a very interesting movie’. After that, it got really dark really fast. When reading the script, I listened to the classical music that the girls would be performing throughout the movie. It really helped in creating the right vibe.
LV: Most of the scenes are between you and Sydney who portrays your on-screen sister. How was it to work with her?
MI: It was such a treat to work with her! We’ve been to high school together, so it was such a pleasure to be able to work with your friend. That’s something we rarely get to do. She’s just so awesome, and she’s a breath of fresh air in this dark movie. There were so many times on set during which we cracked up. We needed the laughter to balance out some of the dark stuff happening in the movie.
LV: In “Nocturne”, you play a lot of piano. Are there any other musical instruments you like to play?
MI: I play the guitar and ukulele. I used to play the violin back in the days, but then I quit because I hated it. I play the piano a little bit. I can’t read music, but when I hear a song, I can always figure something out.
LV: “Nocturne” is a very dark horror movie. Do you remember what your first horror movie was?
MI: It was either “The Grudge” or “The Ring’. I remember that because of the shower scene in The Grudge where her hair falls out, I was too scared to take a shower for a long time after seeing that movie.
LV: “Nocturne” is part of the “Welcome to the Blumhouse” series, four horror movies coming together. Have you seen any of the other three films already?
MI: No, not yet, but I’m very excited to sit down and watch all of them.
LV: The last few years have been quite amazing years for you. You’ve made many movies such as “Jumanji: The Next Level”, “Feast of the Seven Fishes” and “Riot Girls”. What was the film that stuck with you the most?
MI: They all stuck with me in so many different ways. Jumanji probably in the way that it did the most for me. It was the movie in which everything came together and that I was like ‘OMG, this is a big movie in theatres, and I’m in it’. It was so weird to go to my hometown cinema and watch myself in a movie. I brought my family with me to see it. Jumanji created the most memorable moments for me. However, all the films I starred in have a special place in my heart.
LV: What was the moment in your life that made you realize that you wanted to become an actress?
MI: Well, I’ve known that from when I was very young. I love storytelling, and I always had my nose stuck up in a book. I love reading. If I have to pinpoint a moment when I knew that I wanted to go into the film industry was when I saw one of the Harry Potter movies in the theatre and when I saw Hermione on screen, and I was like ‘that’s what I wanted to do’. I was a big fan of those movies.
LV: Apart from “Nocturne”, you already worked on some other horror movies such as “Annabelle Comes Home” and “Tales of Halloween”. If you were to write your horror movie, what would the storyline of that film be?
MI: I have absolutely no idea. Well, right now we could make a horror movie and call it “2020”. If I wrote the story for a horror movie, it would be one that involves ghosts, demons and all the other scary stuff.
LV: Now that we’re talking about 2020. During the lockdown, people discovered a lot of new hobbies and things that they were pretty good at. Were the things you found that you’re good at, apart from acting?
MI: I started to write a lot. I love books, and I read so many books per week. I’ve always been fascinated by writing, and now I was like ‘Ok, let’s do it because I don’t know how long we’re going to be stuck inside the house’.
LV: What kind of writing is it?
MI: Fiction and different kinds of screenplays. I’ve been a huge fan of fiction and fantasy. Creating little worlds, I can escape too.
LV: Apart from this movie, do you already have other projects coming up?
MI: Well, one of my other films, “Clouds” was just released a few days ago on Disney+ which is also about music but it’s not a dark or scary movie.
LV: Thanks a lot for this interview and good luck with your future projects.