After she was discovered in an open audition for Hairspray Live! in 2016, Maddie Baillio has returned to her performing roots as Malvolia, one of the stepsisters in Kay Cannon’s version of Cinderella. The actress spoke to HollywoodLife.com in an EXCLUSIVE interview about the “empowering and timely twist” on the beloved fairytale, which premieres Sept. 3. “When I read the script, I realized we really did need another Cinderella. It’s great feminist take,” Maddie told HL. “Cinderella has dreams, she has goals, and those are her priorities. It mean, love is great, the prince is great, but she’s going to work on herself first. And I think that’s a real, honest place that our film comes from.”
As the film has an empowering and uplifting theme, it’s clear that the stepsisters and stepmother are not as “evil” as we typically see in other Cinderella iterations. “We’re not so evil! We can definitely be mean to Cinderella, but that’s just because we see our the way our mother treats her — she’s harsh,” Maddie said. “It shows we are a product of the way that we were raised, until we grow out of it. I would say we were more like her snarky older sisters.”
Maddie worked closely with the iconic Idina Menzel, who stars as Vivian, Cinderella’s stepmother. “We had similar training and musical theater and we both approach our work in similar ways in that we’re kind of over prepared,” the Hairspray star recalled. “When it comes to comedy and doing a Kay Cannon film, you really need to be in the moment and just be and I saw that in her and she spoke that in a really beautiful way to me, too.”
She added that the two spent time together working on the choreography for their Material Girls performance. “We would rehearse in fields of horses,” Maddie explained, recalling how the cast came back together after a brief shut down due to the pandemic. “We all got really close during those times.”
Cinderella also stars Billy Porter, James Corden, Pierce Bronson, Minnie Driver and Nicholas Galitzine. Watch it on Amazon Prime Video, premiering Sept. 3rd.