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March 22, 2018 Interviews Madison Wolfe, Star of I Kill Giants

Posted by Rebecca M

There's almost nothing more exciting than hearing that one of your favorite books will be hitting the big screen. From finally seeing beloved characters come to life, to critiquing how much an adaptation really matches the book, it's always fun to see new versions of your favorite stories. In exciting news, recently had the opportunity to interview actress Madison Wolfe, who plays Barbara Thorson, the main character of the feature film I Kill Giants, which is in select theaters and On Demand starting March 23rd. From the acclaimed graphic novel comes an epic adventure about a world beyond imagination. Teen Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe, The Conjuring 2) is the only thing that stands between terrible giants and the destruction of her small town. But as she boldly confronts her fears in increasingly dangerous ways, her new school counselor (Zoe Saldana, Guardians of the Galaxy) leads her to question everything she’s always believed to be true. I Kill Giants is an intense, touching story about trust, courage and love from the producers that brought you Harry Potter. Read below for our interview, to see the trailer and to learn more about this amazing movie.

Before we dive into our interview, check out a trailer for I Kill Giants.


If you're ready to watch, I Kill Giants is in select theaters and On Demand March 23 --- find it on iTunes.

Now read on for our interview, which was conducted with the bloggers Milena Barrett, Rebecca Munro, Leanette Fernandez, Laura Franklin, Colleen Padilla and Lissete Lanuza Sáenz, along with Madison Wolfe, the star of the film.

Rebecca Munro:  Hi, Madison.
So, I'm assuming you had to read the book before you took on the role.  I was wondering what your most immediate takeaway of what the biggest challenge would be in portraying Barbara and the most fun part about portraying her. 

Madison Wolfe:  I think that the biggest challenge for me I knew was going to be that Barbara has so many layers.  You know, on the inside she's really vulnerable, but on the outside she's super, super tough.  And that was definitely the biggest challenge. 
And funnily enough, it was also the best part of it.  Like, I love a good challenge, so it was really fun to challenge myself as an actress to reach those emotions.

Rebecca Munro:  Definitely.  You did an amazing job. 
So also, obviously Barbara's story line is so sad, but there's something very empowering about the fact that she truly believes she's her town's protector.  I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about what younger viewers, especially teenagers, can take away from that in this time.

Madison Wolfe:  I just hope people take away the message that they're stronger than they think.  It's one of the last lines that Barbara says, and I think it's a really common theme throughout the novel and the movie as well.  And I think that if young teenagers, or really anybody, just keeps that in mind in times of struggle that they'll be able to get through it.

Rebecca Munro:  That's excellent. 
So, kind of tacking on to that, the entire cast is really led by really strong, multidimensional women.  And I was wondering if you learned anything from your colleagues' performances and from their characters.

Madison Wolfe:  I loved working with Zoe [Saldana] and Imogen [Poots].  And even the other actresses that were my age, they were all a huge inspiration to me.  And they were really, really kind and just good people in general as well as being really talented.  So, they definitely inspired me.  And it was really easy to act opposite them because they're just really amazing.

Rebecca Munro:  Excellent, thank you.

Madison Wolfe:  Thank you.

Laura Franklin:  Hello.  How are you? 

Madison Wolfe:  Hi.

Laura Franklin:  So, let me see.  I'm actually a mother of three teenage girls.  I actually have five kids.  So, I love what you said about what girls or any kids and teens watching the movie can take away.  What made you initially excited to work on this film?

Madison Wolfe:  I think I was really excited because I knew it was going to be a challenge.  And I knew that it was going to surprise people, because when you see the trailer or if you hear about the storyline, it doesn't really do the actual movie justice, in my opinion, because it's so much more than just Barbara and her imagination and her giants.  It's about a teenage girl who has so many struggles and just is so tough and is able to get through those struggles.  

Laura Franklin:  Yes, I totally agree, because I actually had not read the book before watching the movie, so I didn't know what to expect at all.  And my son came in during the movie and kept asking questions like, "Wait, are those real giants?"  Like, "What's this about?"  You know, he kept asking because he was very, very curious. 
And I love that there is so much--so many questions, so many things to think about.  So, one other question is how--did you relate to Barbara at all, or did you see her--yourself in her character, and how?   

Madison Wolfe:  Yes, definitely.  I think that, despite kind of looking like an outcast, Barbara is a very relatable girl, you know? 

Laura Franklin:  Yes.

Madison Wolfe:  Everyone faces struggles in their life, whether they be big or small.  But I definitely related to her in a way that--you know, I've had struggles in my own life, and I feel like I was, like, tough enough to be able to get through them.  And I think that she's a great character to show that.

Laura Franklin:  Great.  Thank you. 

Madison Wolfe:  Sure.

Lissete Lanuza Saenz:  Yes.  Hi, Madison.

Madison Wolfe:  Hi. 

Lissete Lanuza Saenz:  Hi.  I just wanted to start saying I really enjoyed the movie.  And you were talking about how Barbara, her story is basically the story of being a teenager.  It's just that her imagination sort of takes over.
So, I wanted to talk a little bit about what message you think she, as a role model for younger kids, sends not just because she's fighting these metaphorical giants because she's getting through it.  

Madison Wolfe:  I think that she can definitely be a role model because in a way she doesn't really care what other people think.  You know, she dresses how she wants.  And even though everyone is telling her you're crazy for believing in these giants, she still continues to do it and do what she really believes in and kind of stand up for herself.
And I think it's a really beautiful kind of arc during the film, because in the beginning she's just completely in denial of what's really going on.  And by the end, it's a learning process for her.  And she really grows up and kind of gets through all of her struggles. 

Lissete Lanuza Saenz:  Yes.
I also wanted to ask you, I think she's a fascinating character and she has so many layers, like you said before.  And in a way, lately we've seen so many great female characters.  Like, female character don't feel like they did before.  Like, they weren't allowed to be everything they could be.  So, how does it feel to be able to bring a character with so many layers to the screen?

Madison Wolfe:  Honestly, it was really a challenge, getting her layers--like, letting them all show.  And I think it shows that you don't have to be just one thing.  You know, like young girls and teenagers, or really everyone, you could just be yourself. 
And everyone has different personality traits.  Everyone likes a bunch of different things.  You know, it's not just stereotypical you can be in one group.  And I think it's a really good message to portray that you never really know what's going on in a person's life and how many things are happening. 

Lissete Lanuza Saenz:  Okay, just one little final thing.  What was your favorite scene of the movie?

Madison Wolfe:  One of my favorite scenes and also one of the most challenging to film was the scene where Barbara goes and finally visits her mom in her house.  And I think it's just a really beautiful scene, and it's such a turning point for Barbara and her mom and in the story.  So, that was probably one of my favorite scenes. 

Lissete Lanuza Saenz:  Thank you. 

Madison Wolfe:  No problem.

Colleen Padilla:  Hi there.  So, a lot of great questions have been already asked that I also had on my list.  But I loved the movie.  It was amazing.  And I thought your acting was spectacular, how you were able to portray so much emotion. 
So, my daughter is 12 years old, and we talked about what you want other young girls to take away from it.  But what I also saw was, you know, I felt like the friendships and I guess, you know, the guidance counselor, how they helped Barbara.  So, what do you want other girls to really learn about how they can help others that might be dealing with something bigger, you know, their own giants?

Madison Wolfe:  Absolutely.  And the relationships that Barbara develops is such an important factor in her being able to overcome her "giants." 
But I just hope that it kind of brings awareness to the fact that you never really know what people are going through.  And if you just take a second to talk to them and kind of break through their shell that you might end up really, really building a strong friendship with them and really, really helping them in the long run.

Colleen Padilla:  That's great. 
So, it was really interesting for me.  I hadn't read the book, so everything was completely unexpected, where this movie was going.  You know, as we got through it, I saw, okay, there's going to be a twist here. 
But you portrayed the fear of the giants so much.  And what did you draw from to portray that fear?  Like, so what fears do you have in your own life, or how were you able to draw that to make it so believable for the audience?  I really thought this girl was--you know, I hunt giants, I kill giants, I find giants.  That was you, and that's what I thought it was all about.  I didn't know there was going to be this other side to it.    

Madison Wolfe:  Yes, absolutely.  I think that as far as where I pull that emotion from, the best way that I can explain it is that just completely emerging [sic] myself into the character, and really get inside her head and think about really and truly what she's scared of.  Like, why is her imagination, why is her mind acting the way it is? 
You know, it's like just pulling from those fantasy circumstances and making them as real as possible.  I think for me that's always the goal, and that's kind of the best way to explain my tactic of doing it, I guess. 
And, you know, Barbara, her struggles--as far as her struggles at home, like, I have a mom too, like, both my--.

Colleen Padilla:  --Right--.

Madison Wolfe:  --Parents.  Like, if either one of my parents were sick or something like that, you could always pull from real life experiences too. 

Colleen Padilla:  That's great.
And I guess my final question, is there anything unexpected that you took away from acting in this film?  Like, each project you do, I imagine you take away a lot that's going to help you in your next project.  So, I guess what did you really learn about yourself while filming? 

Madison Wolfe:  I guess I really realized more in myself how many layers a person really has, you know, because unless you really, really know someone, you don't get to see all of those layers.  And sometimes you just see the first layer, the first two layers if you're lucky.  But Barbara has so many layers and she has so much stuff going on at home, I think the biggest thing that I learned is just don't judge anyone until you're in their shoes, you know? 

Colleen Padilla:  That's great.  Thank you.

Madison Wolfe:  No problem. 

Milena Barrett:  Hi, Madison.  How are you? 

Madison Wolfe:  Hi.  I'm good.  How are you?    

Milena Barrett:  Good, good. 
You left my whole family in tears when this movie was over. 

Madison Wolfe:  Aww. 

Milena Barrett:  It was very, very moving.  We also hadn't read the book, did not know what to expect, and it was amazing.  It really was amazing. 
Pulling off of some--. 

Madison Wolfe:  --Thank you so much--.

Milena Barrett:  --Of what--oh, you're welcome.  Pulling off of some things that you had said, you said that you also have been through some struggles in your life.  And, you know, I want to know what are some of the things that you do to make your life less stressful?  Like, with Barbara, it was her imagination.  Is that something that you do, or do you journal?  What are some things that you do when life gets rough?

Madison Wolfe:  Whenever I'm really stressed, I really like to just play my guitar, my piano or something, and just do something that I find comforting.  And just talking to my friends and playing music and just kind of taking a second to breathe really helps me, I think, whenever life is stressful. 

Milena Barrett:  That's great.  That's great. 
There was a role playing the Dungeons & Dragons, the whole--that was really big when I was young. 

Madison Wolfe:  Yes.

Milena Barrett:  Have you ever had any experience with role playing or any role playing games before this movie?  Did you have to do any research about it or was it something that you were aware of? 

Madison Wolfe:  I had to do a little bit of research.  Obviously, I mean, I had heard of every--it wasn't too, like, crazy research, but I did a little bit of research just to make sure that I was really comfortable with, like, all of the information and, like, kind of know what Barbara would know.  You know what I mean?  Just really allowing myself to, like, become Barbara.

Milena Barrett:  Okay, great.  Thank you. 

Madison Wolfe:  Absolutely. Thank you guys so much.