Madeline Carroll Talks “Popper’s Penguins”, Team Jacob and “Hunger Games”!
Pretty 15-year-old actress Madeline Carroll has gone from action with Jackie Chan in The Spy Next Door and Gerard Butler in Machine Gun Preacher to cuddly kid and teen-friendly classics like Flipped and Mr. Poppers Penguins which comes out on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 6th.
We wanted to ask about making “Poppers” with hilarious Jim Carrey and a bunch of real live penguins. We’re also talking about music, Twilight and the upcoming Hunger Games film.
Kidzworld: Last time I was on the phone with you it was for the DVD release of The Spy Next Door.
- Madeline: Yeah, I know! Cool to talk to you again.
Kidzworld: Jim Carrey plays your dad in the movie. We know he just cracks everyone up. What is the funniest thing he did on set that you remember?
- Madeline: The thing that stands out the most to me is we came to the set one day and there was this huge spray-painted thing in the studio. This weird image of a crazy-haired person. I couldn’t believe that Jim Carrey spray painted the wall in the studio. He took all the stuff out of his dressing room and was doing art in there.
Kidzworld: Your character Janie had a little trouble talking to her parents, especially her dad about a boy she liked. Is it that way with you or is it easy to talk to your parents about things like that?
- Madeline: It’s easy for me to talk to my mom about it but not usually my dad. My dad is very protective and I have three brothers and they’re very protective as well. So, I usually just tell my mom things.
Kidzworld: Are you as glued to your smartphone or Blackberry as your character Janie is in the movie? Like would you go out with someone and just be on the phone the whole time?
- Madeline: I do use my phone a lot but when I go out with friends and stuff, I’m usually not on it. But, I’ll admit that I’ve texted somebody when they’re right there.
Kidzworld: You are a California girl so how was it on that cold set and in the snow? The set actually was cold because the penguins needed it that way, right? Was that totally strange for you?
- Madeline: Yeah. Being from California, we always have nice weather so when I go anywhere and it drops like ten degrees, I’m freezing. So, on the set they did keep it really cold for the penguins so that was really fun. Thank God it was wintertime in the movie because we got to wear all those layers and stuff but it was so cold.
Kidzworld: We know you have younger brothers. How was working with Maxwell Cotton as your little bro in “Popper’s”? Did you think of him more as a little brother or an equal?
Madeline: I thought of him as a little brother. He’s so cute and fun to work with. We actually go to school together. It was really weird. When I found out that I got [the part], I was getting all my school work together and they said “Oh, what are you filming?” I said “Popper’s Penguins” and they said “Maxwell’s going to be in that”. “He goes here?” and they took me and introduced me to him. I’m like “Hi. I’m gonna be your sister”.
Kidzworld: You have some really great winter hats in the movie. Did you keep any of them or did you get to keep the beautiful silver dress she wears to the Snow Ball dance?
- Madeline: I didn’t get to keep any of the hats. I thought they were cute too. They were mostly from H&M. I didn’t get to keep that dress but I tried on so many dresses for that scene it actually was like dressing up and doing a fashion show like Janie did in the movie. That one that we ended up going with was much different looking. It was a longer dress and they cut it and made it their own. I really liked that. I was getting fashion tips from Jim Carrey.
Kidzworld: In the Blu-Ray extras you talk about how fun it was to work with the live penguins. Tell us something really cute they did. Then tell me something kind of gross or annoying they did.
- Madeline: They had this little habitat outside of the studio. It was basically like a huge trailer.
Kidzworld: The penguins were divas and had their own trailer?
- Madeline: [laughs] Yeah so we’d go in there. It was like a huge refrigerator. They had a little pool and they would chase each other and play with each other. So cute. Something annoying was they seriously pooped a lot. They’d poop on our shoes and we had to pretend “Oh, they’re so cute” while that was happening so that was really funny.
Kidzworld: What are your holiday traditions?
- Madeline: I think a lot of people do this but we love making cookies for Santa. That’s a great holiday tradition. I have two younger brothers. My older brother doesn’t want to do that. He’s 18 but me and my younger brothers love doing that stuff. It’s always fun. And making a wish list with my little brother is great. And also eating a lot. Normal family traditions.
Kidzworld: What is one of your favorite holiday gifts?
- Madeline: I remember when I was ten I really, really wanted a pink i-pod for Christmas and I was one of those who always wanted to peek at presents. I went down and was trying to peek but I never got to see it. The next day when I opened it, it was so exciting when that one last gift is the one you wanted and you get it.
Kidzworld: What are you hoping to get as a gift this holiday season?
- Madeline: I think I want a camera, a cute one I can carry around. I like taking pictures a lot.
Kidzworld: It’s sad that the New York restaurant Tavern on the Green that Mr. Popper saves is really closed now and is a visitor’s center and gift shop. Had you ever gone there?
- Madeline: It was that when we filmed too. The restaurant part you saw in the movie was on stage. Outside, when you see us walking in was actually the Tavern on the Green but inside it was really a gift shop.
Kidzworld: When we spoke to you for “Spy Next Door” you said you were a big Justin Bieber fan. Are you still? Who else are you a fan of now?
- Madeline: I am still a Justin fan but now I’m gravitating toward Taylor Lautner and I’m still a huge fan of Will Smith and I love Leonardo DiCaprio but, of the older actors, I’ve really gotten into Daniel Day Lewis. He’s amazing. I just watched his movie My Left Foot the other day. He was so realistic. For music, I love Sean Kingston for contemporary, Taylor Swift for Country, Bob Dylan and I just went to a Rob Stewart concert recently and loved it. I also love a band called The Cab.
Kidzworld: So you must be Team Jacob if you are into Taylor?
- Madeline: He’s really cute but when I saw the first movie I was so Team Edward. I read the books and loved Edward but when I saw the movie, I felt so bad for Jacob and especially in New Moon. He was really good looking and the one Bella didn’t love. You totally want to say “But I love you”.
Kidzworld: Are you into “The Hunger Games” books?
- Madeline: On my gosh, when I was filming “Popper” I got so into those books. I love those books. I didn’t read all of the “Twilight” series but I read all of “The Hunger Games” in the course of about a month. I hope the movie does well. I’m very excited.
Kidzworld: Do you go to public or private high school or are you home schooled?
- Madeline: I go to a private school.
Kidzworld: Are you looking forward to any holiday dances or parties?
- Madeline: We have lots of little parties at my school, like Thanksgiving and Christmas parties and I’m looking forward to those but I would love to go to Prom in the spring.
Kidzworld: You’ll be 16 in March. Any Sweet 16 birthday plans?
- Madeline: I’m trying to think of what I want to do for my Sweet Sixteen. Don’t know if I want to go play paintball or do something big.
Kidzworld: What is coming up next for you?
- Madeline: I have another movie directed by Rob Reiner and Morgan Freeman is in it and Virginia Madsen and I think it comes out next year. It’s really sweet. It has that Rob Reiner feel to it like Stand By Me. It’s called Summer of Monte Wildhorn. And I’m about to film another movie called Trust with Jennifer Gray and Clark Gregg and Amanda Peet and William H. Macy. That is a dark comedy about the acting business. I’m playing this girl who is an actress but her dad is sort of a hillbilly type so she’s embarrassed by her dad when she gets this huge movie deal. It’s a darker movie at the end. I’m really excited about it.
Kidzworld: Why will kids and teens love Mr. Popper’s Penguins if they buy the Blu-Ray or DVD?
- Madeline: What I got out of it was it was so funny and Jim Carrey is so much like my dad is. He’s the face of the embarrassing dad. Teens and kids will get a kick out of it. They’ll be like “Oh my gosh, I’d be so embarrassed if my dad did that to me”. It’s got cute penguins and Jim Carrey!
By Lynn Barker