Madison Ekstrand stars in the upcoming horror series Very Frightening Tales, which consists of a compilation of horror shorts.
The series has been billed as a cross between the infamous Night Gallery and Tales From the Crypt.
Madison stars in the first episode, The Curse of Stonehill, as Lauren Foley, an adoptee who while searching for information about her birth mother finds herself at a haunted estate with the caretaker, Edward Barnes, played by Michael Paré (Eddie and the Cruisers). She traveled to Los Angeles to film the series in an actual historic haunted estate called Sunny Gables. The short has already won numerous awards at film festivals, including a Silver Thriller Award from the Hollywood Gold Awards and an Honorable Mention from the New York Movie Awards.
When did you decide that you wanted to be an actress?
Madison: I started dancing when I was three. And when you dance, you dance with your emotion and you act through your motions and your movements. And I was like, ‘you know what? I think it’d be really cool to step it up and lie actually go into acting. So about three or four years ago, I started acting classes and it all kind of just progressed from there.
How do you think your dance background has helped with your acting?
Madison: I think dancing has helped me mostly with stage fright because I’m always up on stage. So when I got in front of the camera, I was perfectly fine.
How would you describe your new show, Very Frightening Tales?
Madison: I would describe it as a series, but every episode has three different short stories in it. And every short story is completely different, with completely different characters, completely different storylines and creatures, monsters, everything.
What’s it like playing a different character for every story?
Madison: I think it’s amazing. I’m a shy person and that’s definitely helped me come out of my comfort zone. Like with dancing, I don’t have to talk or anything, you just put on like a ton of makeup. But acting as different characters has definitely made me so much more comfortable.
Do you have a favorite character yet?
Madison: So far, it’s The Curse of Stone Hill’s Lauren.
And with that episode, you filmed in an actual haunted place, right?
Madison: Oh, yeah! It was scary. I’m a wimp, so I’m scared of everything. I won’t even go in the basement in my house without someone to come with me. But everyone felt on edge and we just felt like we were being watched the whole time. We even used the buddy system. It was so creepy because the house is so old and even had the old furniture still in it. It was just creepy.
Did anything happen while filming that creeped everyone out?
Madison: Yeah! So, they’re [cameramen] inside shooting out a window for a shot and I was outside. One of the camera guys tells the director to move out of the way and Tom’s like, ‘I’m not in the camera.’ So, there’s something on the camera and we all saw it and it was not like one of us. So we were like all freaked out.
Did the director keep that footage or did he get rid of it?
Madison: We weren’t actually recording, we were just setting up the camera at that point. I mean, it would have been cool if we actually got it on footage though.
Outside of the real life haunted estate. Did you ever get scared while filming?
Madison: Of course! After watching scary movies and stuff, I was afraid to go behind doors or in a room by myself because I don’t want a door to slam and I get locked in a room or something. But, I’d have to scream and sometimes they’d tell me just to scream, but every once in a while the director will actually scare me so that I’ll actually scream. Sometimes I’d smile instead. And it’s like, oh my gosh, really, we have to redo it? I’d be like, scream-smiling.
So because you scream-smile, did you have to do a lot of screaming takes?
Madison: It was just every so often. It would just be when he would say something to try to scare me. And I’d just start smiling because how he’d try to scare me was so funny.
So, would you say smiling was the biggest challenge you faced while filming this series?
Madison: It’s definitely my biggest challenge. I smile all the time. And when I was in Dinner Rush, I play more of a bad girl kind of thing, I just kept smiling!
What was your favorite part of filming this series?
Madison: The cast and crew because we’re all so close! Also, just being a part of this project, all the makeup and putting on the wigs. I feel like that’s my favorite part, becoming a different person.
But is there anything else you’d like to add about Very Frightening Tales?
Madison: I would say give it a chance. Because it’s so cool and it’s so different. It’s not just a horror TV series. It’s amazing. You won’t get bored with all the different characters and creatures and like, I know what’s happening but when I watched it, I was even scared!
Not much has been released about Very Frightening Tales yet, but Madison hopes we’ll get to see it this summer!