Madelyn Cline on the power of indie cinema

The actor talks us through her new role in psychological thriller 'The Giant' and filming 'Outerbanks' season two...

A rising talent first known for parts in zeitgeist-y TV shows like The Originals and Stranger Things, as well as the hard-hitting drama Boy Erased, Madelyn Cline’s star soared this year with the release of Netflix teen drama Outer Banks.

Abandoning the lighter fare normally associated with the teen genre to broach topics like class conflict, as well as the murder mystery as the show’s heart, the series saw Madelyn flex her acting muscles as the free-spirited Sarah. This leading role introduced the 22-year-old actor to a whole new audience, but it’s her down-to-earth personality – often showcased via goofy videos on her Instagram page, which now has six million followers – that won her a legion of fans.

Now filming season two of Outer Banks, Madelyn is also celebrating the recent release of The Giant: a hard-hitting psychological thriller first screened at Toronto International Film Festival. An indie flick from a first-time director, the passion poured into the project shines through via artistic shots and cinematography – as well as the convincing performances from Madelyn and her Australian co-star Odessa Young. 

Below, we get the lowdown on The Giant, Madelyn’s love of indie cinema and what it’s like to be back filming Outer Banks. 

How has 2020 been for you?

2020 has been a reason to find myself in the wine section. But in all seriousness, it’s been the strangest combination of high highs and low lows. I’m insanely grateful for what’s been brought to me this year.


Have you discovered anything new about yourself this year?

I will never take being able to get out and do literally anything I want to for granted ever again.


You dropped out of college to pursue acting, what gave you the courage to make that move?

I think naïveté if I’m being honest. I didn’t know enough about being on my own to realise the weight of that kind of life change. It was also such a rush to drop out and drive across the country so reality hadn’t set in yet.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

Definitely being able to travel around and work in different locations. I love not staying in one place for too long.


It seems like your career only keeps growing, how do you stay grounded?

I’m surrounded by people who are grounded and who come from all over, with different backgrounds and upbringings and I really value that. We hold each other up and accountable. We don’t let each other take what’s in front of us for granted.


And how do you get in character for a role?

I try to sit in the circumstances I’m given by the writing. I do my best to empathise with my character whether I agree or disagree, and figure out what the story I’m telling is.


Your new film The Giant has just come out, what drew you to your character Olivia?

What drew me to Olivia was that she was the friend who always checked on everyone else first even though she had her own battles she was fighting internally. I understand: sometimes it’s easier to help someone else than it is to fight your own demons.

And what was it like working with the director David Raboy, particularly as a first-time director?

David is great. This was such a passion project and it was a decade in the making. He cared deeply about this story and you could feel that on set and reading the script.


The Giant is one of many independent films you’ve worked on, how does the experience differ to working on TV?

I love indies. I love how tight-knit it feels, at least in my experiences. It becomes like a family, especially when you’re on location. What I love about TV is that it feels like an extended movie. I love exploring longer character arcs and that it isn’t over before you know it.


I know you’re back filming Outer Banks, what’s it been like filming under COVID restrictions?

It was definitely an adjustment but we found our stride. I’m really thankful that our entire production has made it work despite the obstacles. It’s good to be back!


Any hints about what’s on the menu for Outer Banks season two?

I’d tell you but I’d probably get sued…


The Giant is now available on VOD and Digital from Vertical Entertainment.

23 November 2020