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Ant-Man and the Wasp

Wingman Wednesday

Madeleine McGraw

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Photographer: JSquared Photography/Hair: Gui Schoedler/Make-up: Desirae Cherman/Stylist: Jessica Margolis

Animated Disney movies are enjoyed generation after generation, over and over again. For example, our parents watched “Cinderella” in the 1950s, and then we watched it in the 1980s, and now our kids are watching it in a different century than when it was produced. That timeless, evergreen viewing experience is not lost on 10-year-old Madeleine McGraw, who plays Bonnie in “Toy Story 4,” set to hit theaters on June 21.

I almost can’t wrap my head around it,” she said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

We recently sat down with McGraw to discuss how she reacted upon learning she had been cast in the fan-favorite franchise, being a part of the Marvel cinematic universe, and the kindness of her “pretend dad” Patrick Fugit.

TrunkSpace: We are huge fans of the “Toy Story” movies because there is always something for everyone in them – both kids and adults alike. Were you a fan of the movies prior to being cast, and what was your first thought when you learned that you’d be playing Bonnie?
McGraw: I was five when I booked the role of Bonnie and I had definitely seen all three “Toy Story” movies. I loved them so much! We used to drive from Northern California to Southern California a lot and I would always bring all three movies for our drives. I remember when my mom and dad told me I booked Bonnie. I ran around our house screaming! I was so excited.

TrunkSpace: Bonnie is a character who was previously established in “Toy Story 3” and then appeared in a few of their holiday specials as well. Were you nervous taking on a character who had been voiced by a previous performer? Did you have the freedom to make her your own in this latest installment?
McGraw: When I first got the audition they were definitely looking for a voice match. I listened to the talented Emily Hahn and realized Emily and I sounded similar. I wouldn’t say I was nervous, but I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, especially Emily. You get very attached to a character you work on for such a long time.

TrunkSpace: Disney movies like “Bambi” and “Cinderella” are more than 70 years old but are still enjoyed by kids today. Is it cool knowing that your work will be watched by people for generations to come?
McGraw: Oh my goodness… YES! I know I am only 10, but I do think about how someday my kids, or even my grandkids, will get to enjoy this amazing series of movies. I almost can’t wrap my head around it.

TrunkSpace: What was the most enjoyable aspect of getting to play Bonnie in “Toy Story 4?”
McGraw: Well, I loved getting to work with Josh Cooley (director) these past four years and I hope to work with him and Jonas Rivera (producer) again and again. They were always super supportive. I also loved getting to record at the Pixar Studios in Emeryville. It was like an extension of Disneyland. I didn’t want to leave.

TrunkSpace: Without giving away any spoilers, what are you most excited for people to see when they sit down and watch “Toy Story 4” when it hits theaters on June 21?
McGraw: I can’t wait for everyone to meet Forky and watch his adventure with the original toys.

TrunkSpace: The franchise is one that always gets plenty of merchandise tie-ins, including toys. What is it like seeing a toy based on a character that you portrayed on the big screen?
McGraw: I don’t know if they will make a Bonnie toy, but I was incredibly lucky to voice a car in “Cars 3.” I played Maddy McGear. (Named after me – Maddy McGraw.) Having a character named after me was probably one of the most incredible things that has ever happened to me. Then when I saw the cute die-cast Maddy McGear car, I cried. It was a really special moment.

TrunkSpace: You also appeared in “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” portraying a young Hope Van Dyne. With the recent release of “Avengers: End Game,” what does it feel like knowing that you were a part of such a huge, international success as the Marvel cinematic universe?
McGraw: It definitely doesn’t feel real. But it does feel incredibly special. I am a HUGE Marvel Fan! My brothers have their whole room decorated in Marvel stuff. My pretend dad from “Outcast,” Patrick Fugit (we are still super close), his awesome wife, Jenny, and my whole family, always go to see all the Marvel movies together. It was so cool to take him to see “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” The whole Marvel experience is something I will never EVER forget! I still can’t believe I was a part of it. So grateful!

Photographer: JSquared Photography/Hair: Gui Schoedler/Make-up: Desirae Cherman/Stylist: Jessica Margolis

TrunkSpace: Another project that you starred in with a comic book connection is “Outcast.” Are there any characters from the world of comic books that you’d like a chance to play in the future?
McGraw: Playing Amber Barnes was such a gift. Robert Kirkman is, well, a genius. So if he came up with a new comic book character that I could play, that would be awesome. But honestly, I love Marvel so much, it would be an honor to play any of them.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
McGraw: Well, the highlight for me would definitely have to be all the amazing people I have met. Some of my closest friends and mentors in my life I have met because of acting. My friend Megan Park (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) has been such an incredible friend and mentor to me. She cast me in her directorial debut and she keeps casting me in just about anything she can. Besides directing and acting, she is such a gifted writer. I admire her so much. Meeting her and having her in my life is definitely a highlight. Same with my pretend dad from “Outcast,” Patrick Fugit, he is one of the coolest people I know. I had a tough audition recently and I asked my mom to call him and see if he could help me. He totally made space in his day to help me out. So meeting him has also been a huge highlight.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
McGraw: No, I would want to experience the journey as it comes. I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise or work any less hard. I like having goals and working to reach them.

Toy Story 4” unwraps in theaters June 21.

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Photographer: JSquared Photography/Hair: Gui Schoedler/Make-up: Desirae Cherman/Stylist: Jessica Margolis

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Wingman Wednesday

Jae Suh Park

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With the sheer volume of content flooding our brains on a daily basis, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to keep tabs on what new television series are launching, at what time, and on what platforms. That being said, it’s hard not to get excited for the ones that are being spearheaded by the best and brightest talent both behind and in front of the camera. That is certainly the case with the new Netflix series “Friends From College,” an ensemble comedy with a stacked cast (Cobie Smulders, Keegan-Michael Key, etc) and a creator/writer/producer (Nicholas Stoller) known for bringing the laughs with films like “Neighbors” and “The Muppets.”

We recently sat down with “Friends From College” star Jae Suh Park to discuss her expectations for the series, being the weirdo at the bus stop, and the perks of being married to a superhero.

TrunkSpace: Your new show “Friends From College” is a high profile series, stacked with a high profile cast, set to premiere on Netflix, a high profile platform. It is it difficult not to view it all as a career changer?
Jae Suh Park: Well, I feel like I’ve been in the business long enough to know that not one thing is a career changer. I don’t think you can point to that one thing. I mean, I hope it does well and I hope for a season two. It definitely had people wanting to talk to me, like you. So I guess it’s a little bit more high profile than… well, a lot more high profile than things I’ve done in the past, so… I hope so.

TrunkSpace: Have you had to emotionally disconnect from it since you wrapped shooting or is it something you can’t help but get excited about as it gears up for release?
Jae Suh Park: Well, we shot it last fall in New York for about three months and right after it, I did kind of forget about it. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot more now because we were just in New York for the premiere last week, and then I’ve just been hearing stuff about it and seeing stuff, so I’m thinking a lot more about it now. But I didn’t for a long time, because you just kind of move forward.

TrunkSpace: There must be a bit of a defense mechanism aspect to it because you ultimately have no control over things once your job is done?
Jae Suh Park: Well yeah, and you just never know how long it’s gonna take. Sometimes you shoot something and it comes out right away, and other times it can take years. Especially cable shows. I guess it’s partly a defense mechanism, because you never know. As far as movies go, or even TV, maybe you got cut out. Maybe your part is not as big as you thought it was. I definitely had experiences like that in the past. (Laughter) So you can’t just go ahead and tell everybody that you’re going to be in this big show, or be in a big movie, and then have all your things cut out. So yeah, I did some of that for sure.

TrunkSpace: We saw the poster for “Friends From College” and there you are, front and center with the rest of the cast. Did that help it all feel more real for you?
Jae Suh Park: Oh yeah, definitely. And then we have separate posters… each of us has a separate poster. It says what we are and I’m “The weirdo.” The friend who’s a weirdo. And it’s been on all the bus stops here in LA. So I’ve had friends text me and I saw two of them by where I live, and I was like, I worked a really long time and very hard to be a weirdo at a bus stop. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) In order to be the weirdo at a bus stop you really have to stand out.
Jae Suh Park: (Laughter) Especially in LA.

TrunkSpace: The series creator is Nicholas Stoller and he has become synonymous with quality comedy, especially on the feature side. From a performance standpoint, comedy must be very fun to explore in a series because you sort of get to see the funny spread out over the course of what is usually multiple arcs, not just one arc.
Jae Suh Park: Yeah, that’s what’s so exciting is that you can explore the character in so many different situations and they just kind of take twists and turns. But I know Nick really wanted to make this kind of like a very long movie. It definitely ends open-ended. It’s not like the complete series. It’s not like “Big Little Lies” or something where it’s just kind of one movie. So going back to what you said, it’s very exciting to be able to explore so many different sides of the character.

TrunkSpace: When you look beyond the series itself and at the current TV landscape as a whole, what’s the most exciting part for you as an actress in what a lot of people are calling “The Golden Age of Television” and what that means in terms of roles and characters available?
Jae Suh Park: I get to play a weirdo, which I don’t know if I would have been able to five years ago. (Laughter)

There’s definitely a lot more opportunities for everyone involved in the business. So that’s exciting, but as a viewer, I don’t get to watch as much as I want to just because it’s so much… and I think also the good thing and the bad thing is that you can kind of watch what you want and not at all know anything about anything else. If you’re a very huge fan of “Westworld” you may know all of the actors on the show, but if you’ve never seen the show, you would be like, “I have no idea who that person is.” It’s good and bad because you can definitely have anonymity that stars in the past didn’t have as much.

TrunkSpace: You actually worked with your “Friends From College” costar Cobie Smulders on an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” a few years back, correct?
Jae Suh Park: Yeah, it’s so funny because that’s how I met Cobie for the very first time and my husband is actually really good friends with her husband and they had worked together. I had met him just briefly and when I got the part I went up to her and I said, “My boyfriend knows your boyfriend!” And this is before we were even married or had kids, and now we’re both married and we both have kids. But that was the first time that I met her and worked with her, and that was forever ago.

TrunkSpace: And that was a very memorable episode of “How I Met Your Mother” because it introduced the woo girls… and a quotable “woo” has been echoed ever since.
Jae Suh Park: Yeah, I think I said, “woo” maybe… I don’t know how many times. Let’s just say the script was very easy to memorize. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: What’s great about “Friends From College” is that you guys really have this amazing on-screen chemistry together, as if you actually are a group of old friends.
Jae Suh Park: Yeah, that was one of the very first things that a lot of people noticed because I had only worked with Cobie that one time eons ago and I knew Keegan just socially. And then I’d never worked with the others or any of the guest stars and it was just immediate. We all had so much fun off-screen and on-screen. Even at our very first wardrobe call everybody was like, “Do you guys know each other or have you guys worked together?” All of us except for Keegan have kids and we’re married, so I think that definitely bonds us with Nick. I’m grateful for it because that doesn’t always happen.

TrunkSpace: We know that your husband (Randall Park) was just cast in “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and we’re curious, has he been introducing himself as your “superhero husband” now because that’s totally what we would do with our wives?
Jae Suh Park: (Laughter) No, he’s not. He’s not introducing himself as my superhero husband, but he’s been working out quite a bit because he says he’s gotta look good. I think he’s just in suits. But I will note, I’m not that familiar with the comic, but he did show me some art… some old issues, and the character is buff. I’m not complaining at all. I feel like that’s a perk of being married to a superhero.

Friends From College” premieres tomorrow on Netflix.

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