Lights, camera, action

Ford makes mark on big screen


Photo courtesy Madison Ford

Madison Ford plays the character Laura in the 2018 film Nathan’s Kingdom. Madison is a 2012 Coppell High School graduate and former entertainment editor of The Sidekick.

Anthony Cesario, Entertainment Editor

From discovering a passion for writing to landing the lead role in the 2018 film Nathan’s Kingdom, Coppell High School and Columbia University class of 2016 graduate Madison Ford is fulfilling dreams she never expected to have.

When Ford was young, she did not consider becoming an actress; she wanted to be an astronaut. However, she spontaneously decided to audition for “Barney” while she was attending Wilson Elementary. Despite not getting the part, Ford was noticed by a local agent and signed with them, before attending Cathryn Sullivan’s acting school in Lewisville, where she fell in love with the craft.

“I like the opportunity [acting] gives you to understand life experiences that are not your own, or also that it provides an outlet for you to understand your own life experiences well but in a deeper way,” Ford said. “I’ve had moments in acting where the character has some scene and the combination of the writing and acting have made me realize something about myself that I didn’t before.”

I like the opportunity [acting] gives you to understand life experiences that are not your own, or also that it provides an outlet for you to understand your own life experiences well but in a deeper way

— Madison Ford

Ford decided to join The Sidekick her junior year of high school as a staff writer. As a senior, she became the entertainment editor.

“Joining Sidekick and journalism introduced me to another path that up to that point I hadn’t considered weaving into my life, my future,” Madison said. “Since then, I’ve continued to write as well as act. That’s helped with acting as well, because you’re continuing to learn about the world and about people’s stories in a way that’s not so insular. [It] gave me more tools and different avenues to pursue storytelling and be a more multifaceted person.”

Ford was actually attending college when she auditioned for Nathan’s Kingdom. She returned to Los Angeles during her school year for a couple rounds of callbacks and chemistry reads.

“Most actors worry about themselves; they think more about the performance and less about listening. Most actors are self-conscious,” Nathan’s Kingdom writer and director Olicer Muñoz said. “Madison is none of that. Madison is a professional actor who listens and because she listens, she puts the acting first and she puts herself last. She’s completely confident in her craft, she’s confident as a person and she’s what actors strive to be.”

Nathan’s Kingdom is a drama/fantasy film featuring a man, Nathan (played by Jacob Lince), who is on the autism spectrum, and his opiate-addicted teenage sister Laura (Ford), as they search for a kingdom that only exists within their imaginations.

Ford appreciates the film for its acknowledgement of the talents of performers who may have been marginalized in the past – Lince is on the autism spectrum himself – and going forward, she hopes to participate in more meaningful projects with the same resonance.

“What made the booking of this so important and special for me [is that] it’s my first feature film, and it’s not only a lead role in which you get to do a lot of work as an actor, but it’s a very well-written role, especially for a woman,” Ford said. “This role was kind of a dream role. I felt very lucky and blessed, and I was also very excited about the film in general, because they had big goals and they succeeded in accomplishing those goals.”

Nathan’s Kingdom is currently in its festival run and has been receiving rave reviews.

“[Ford] brought more than just being a very good actor, she brought this human quality as well,” Muñoz said. “Once the cameras stopped rolling, she didn’t just step away to do her own thing, she hung out with us. She’s also a really smart storyteller. If she had questions she would bring them up, because she always wanted us to make the best possible movie together.”

Ford is also able to boast a unique family dynamic not many other people can say they have: her mother, Aileen Ford, still lives in Coppell and is also an actress as well as a jazz musician. Madison’s little sister, Mia Ford, is an actress, too – and she was also a staff photographer for The Sidekick her sophomore year and a member of KCBY.

“[Acting has] created a really special bond between [me and Madison] because we can share so much with each other and you always have someone to relate to throughout the challenges of this business,” Mia said. “It’s really nice to always have someone there to confide in, and she knows exactly what you’re feeling and exactly what you’re going through.”

Madison also finds herself inspired by Mrs. Ford, who has been a role model in her life and has pushed her to be focused and driven. Referring to Mrs. Ford as her “guiding light and north star,” Madison appreciates her mother’s support of her career and the way she lives her life.

“I always said to [Madison and Mia], if you’re doing this to be rich or famous, you’ll be very miserable, because you have to love the art of it and the craft, and they totally do,” Mrs. Ford said. “They’re both incredibly humble and they do it because they love acting.”

Madison has been living in New York for the past six years, but at the start of next year she will be moving to LA. She looks forward to the future and fostering more meaningful relationships while taking advantage of her talents.

“The older I get, the more important putting meaningful work out there is for me,” Madison said. “As I go forward, I want to act more, I want to write more, and I want to be a thoughtful person while I’m doing that.”

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