When you’re a child actress, every day at work is another day at school. A film set becomes another classroom, the cast and crew, a fresh batch of teachers.
So Bailee Madison, of “Just Go With It” and “Don’t be Afraid of the Dark,” went to the school of Bette Midler and Billy Crystal on her new comedy, “Parental Guidance.”
“Bette taught me to ‘Just breathe and jump into it,’ ” Madison, who turned 13 in October, said. Billy Crystal showed her how to spend every minute on the set thinking of something funny to say. Maybe it’ll make it in the movie.
“I knew Bette from ‘Hocus Pocus,’ ” Madison said. “But everybody tells me I HAVE to see ‘Beaches.’ ” Did she know Crystal? “Does ‘Monsters, Inc.’ count?”
“Parental Guidance,” opening Christmas Day, has Midler and Crystal as two “old school” parents who take in the grandkids for a few days while the parents (Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott) are out of town.
Madison a veteran of “Bridge to Terebithia” and “Conviction,” got to play something totally new in “Guidance.”
“My first CRUSH. That was AWKWARD! What more can I say about it? Is it like that in real life? I don’t know.
“Andy (Fickman), the director, kept telling me, ‘Be a little more flirtatious.’ What does THAT mean? How? I was biting my lip to death and pulling pieces of hair out of my head trying to figure that out, how to look even more awkward than I felt.”
But playing that “first crush” also means that the apple-cheeked Madison is entering that first potential pitfall child actor’s face – into adolescent roles. She calls this “a tricky transition, moving into teen roles.” She and her “team” are “holding out for wholesome, family films. So it’s not easy. ‘Parental Guidance’ lets me grow up a little.”