A cool, classic beauty, with a vibrant blonde mane and an exuberant flair for the dramatic, Virginia Madsen is one of Hollywood’s most versatile and unique actresses to date. Not only did she receive amazing reviews for her Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominated performance in Alexander Payne’s hit film, “Sideways,” but this Independent Spirit Award-winning actress has an illustrious resume of roles alongside the most notable and respected actors in the business.
This past year, Madsen filmed AMC’s “Hell on Wheels,” and the independent feature “The Wilderness of James,” the NBC pilot “Hatfields & McCoys” and also starred in the feature, “The Magic of Belle Isle,” directed by Rob Reiner, opposite Morgan Freeman. She starred in the independent features “The Hot Flashes,” alongside Brooke Shields, Daryl Hannah, and Wanda Sykes, “Crazy Kind of Love” and TNT’s “Hornet’s Nest” this past year. In 2010, Madsen starred opposite Kevin Spacey in the indie comedy “Father of Invention” and in “Red Riding Hood” in 2011. Madsen was also seen on the television shows “Scoundrels”, “MONK,” and starred in the Lions Gate thriller “The Haunting In Connecticut.”
Also on Madsen’s slate is her production company with partner Karly Meola called Title IX Productions. Their first project is the documentary “I Know a Woman Like That,” which premiered at the Chicago Film Festival. The doc was directed by Virginia’s mother, Elaine Madsen, about the lives of extraordinary women ages 64-94. Next in the company’s lineup is the film adaptation of “The Bitch Posse” to be directed by Catherine Hardwicke and co-produced with Ambush Entertainment.
Madsen’s other films include starring roles opposite Harrison Ford in the action thriller “Firewall,” Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline in Robert Altman’s last film, “A Prairie Home Companion” and Forest Whitaker in the existential drama “The Ripple Effect.” She also starred opposite Jim Carrey in New Line’s 2007 psychological thriller “The Number 23,” directed by Joel Schumacher, as well as opposite Billy Bob Thornton in the 2006 comedy “The Astronaut Farmer.” In 2008, she starred in the Sundance hit “Diminished Capacity” alongside Matthew Broderick and Alan Alda for IFC.
Madsen also appeared in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Rainmaker” with Matt Damon in 1997, the cult classic “Candyman”, “Hot Spot”, directed by Dennis Hopper, HBO’s first feature “Long Gone” and David Lynch’s “Dune.” Her versatility was seen in the independent film, “Almost Salinas” and in “American Gun,” opposite Academy Award winner James Coburn.
It was destiny for Madsen to become a star as her determination and talent quickly paid off. When a Polaroid landed on the desk of the famed director David Lynch, he instantly cast her in his film “Dune.” Immediately following, Madsen landed her first leading role in MGM’s “Electric Dreams” in 1984.
When Madsen became pregnant with her son, Jack, she put her successful career on hold. It wasn’t until Jack was in pre-school that the actress had notions of reentering into her Hollywood career. Upon hearing of Madsen’s desire to act again, Francis Ford Coppola asked her to audition for his latest project, the film version of John Grisham’s legal thriller, “The Rainmaker,” a role that reestablished her dynamic career. And with the critical acclaim she received for her portrayal of “Maya” in “Sideways” and her roles in “Firewall”, “A Prairie Home Companion”, “The Astronaut Framer”, “The Ripple Effect” and “Number 23,” it was clear that her hiatus to raise a family did nothing to hinder this go-getter from resilient success.
Madsen comes from a very talented family. In addition to her Emmy award-winning mother, Elaine Madsen, her brother is the gifted actor, Michael Madsen. Madsen lives in Los Angeles with her teenage son.