24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Meet 'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark's' young star, Bailee Madison

August 29, 2011 | 11:49 am

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Perched on a couch with her legs tucked under her, 11-year-old Bailee Madison was excitedly recounting her time filming the new movie “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” when her mother leaned over a banister in their Toluca Woods home and shouted: “Can I interrupt?”

“Bai,” began Patricia Riley, halting her daughter's interview, “I think you should tell her about Alex's Lemonade. Because it's really cool how your little friends are helping with your charity.”

Bailee paused, seeming momentarily frustrated by the suggestion. But within seconds, a smile was back on her face and she started extolling the virtues of a charity focused on childhood cancer for which she is a national spokesperson.

“Something my mom and I have always said to each other is: ‘We’re not here for interviews. We’re not here to get your picture taken,’ ” the soon-to-be sixth-grader said. “ ‘We’re here to make a difference, and this is our opportunity to.’ ”

These days, though, Bailee is in fact sitting for plenty of interviews and photo shoots, and seems to have a preternatural poise that many industry veterans would envy. Then again, she’s already got more than a decade of experience in front of cameras — she appeared in her first commercial at only 2 weeks old and had a recurring role on Disney Channel’s “Wizards of Waverly Place.”

On the big screen, she’s worked alongside some of the biggest celebrities in show business — Adam Sandler in “Just Go With It,” Natalie Portman in “Brothers” and now Katie Holmes in “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” a horror film that opened Friday.


Endlessly perky, distractingly adorable, incredibly well-behaved and devoutly Christian, Bailee fields questions with an adult aplomb. Ask her whose career she hopes to emulate, and she responds:

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Guillermo del Toro resurrects 'Dark' from development hell

August 24, 2011 |  3:07 pm

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Soon after Bob and Harvey Weinstein left the Walt Disney Co.’s Miramax Films in 2005, Guillermo del Toro rang up the parent studio. The “Hellboy” filmmaker wanted to know from Disney which movies the Weinsteins were taking with them and which they were leaving behind.

Having clashed with the brothers in directing 1997’s “Mimic,” Del Toro had no interest in collaborating with the Weinsteins again, but he very much wanted to mount a remake of the 1973 TV movie “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” which had been in development at Miramax for several years, at one point with James Wan ("Saw") penciled in to direct.

Lucky for Del Toro, the Weinsteins left it behind. “I got it back, read it, and was still in love with it,” said Del Toro, who had personally optioned the remake rights to the 1973 original.

The feature film, opening Friday and being released by FilmDistrict, was ultimately produced and co-written by Del Toro, who closely mentored first-time feature director Troy Nixey. It’s taken Del Toro more than a decade to bring the film to theaters -- “I was shepherding this movie at every step,” the Mexican-born director said -- but he says the effort was worth it.

“I think it’s academically spooky,” he said. “It has nothing to do with hard-core gore.” To read more about the film and Nixey's feature directing debut, go here.

RELATED:

Guillermo del Toro's imagination is working overtime

Guillermo del Toro and Jon Favreau on fear, weight and Disneyland

 COMIC-CON 2010: Guillermo del Toro isn’t afraid of … much of anything

-- John Horn

Photo: Katie Holmes, right, and Bailee Madison star in "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark." Credit: Carolyn Johns / Miramax Film Corp.


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