At 19, actress Madison Pettis has already built a career portfolio that would be impressive for actors twice her age. Pettis, who currently stars in Facebook Watch’s drama series Five Points, is most known for starring with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the 2007 hit film The Game Plan when she was eight years old, as well as her role as the President’s daughter Sophie Martinez in Disney Channel’s That’s So Raven series spinoff Cory In the House.
In the Kerry Washington-produced Five Points, Pettis plays Tosh Bennett, one of five students from a Chicago high school who each experience a life-changing event from a different point of view. Pettis recently spoke to Multichannel News about her new dramatic role and her transition from child performer to adult actor. An edited transcript follows.
MCN: What attracted you to Five Points?
Madison Pettis: Initially, the writing. As soon as I got the first audition scene I was hooked. I thought our writer, Adam Giaudrone, really captured what high school is like for teenagers — he didn’t sugarcoat anything. It really captured what I think teenagers talk about and actually go through.
MCN: How would you describe your character?
MS: Tosh is one of the five points of view the story is told through. She’s a perfectionist and an overachiever; she cares a lot about appearances, having a perfect relationship, perfect clothes and perfect hair. I think that stresses her out and prevents her from actually living her own life because she’s so worried about what other people think. She has a lot of insecurities that she’s struggling with, and she’s going to project that onto other people, which can make her seem like a mean girl — but she’s more than that.
MCN: Are you excited to see companies like Facebook Watch and YouTube get into scripted?
MS: Totally. I think it’s awesome that there are so many different platforms providing opportunities for actors. I’m excited to be on Facebook Watch — we’re one of their new shows and it’s definitely a new platform that people are getting used to and hearing about. I’m super active on social media and have a lot of followers; I talk pretty much every day on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, so it’s really cool to be doing a show on a social media platform. I get to connect with my fans on a deeper level.
MCN: How would you characterize your career thus far?
MS: It’s been a long road; I’ve been acting for almost 12 years, which makes me feel really old even though I’m only 19 (laughs). I think it’s been pretty steady growth. It started on Disney Channel and that was a dream come true and a really great start for me. I’ve done a mix of film and TV over the years, just trying to choose roles that connect to me and that I think my fans will relate to. I think this show really completes that.
MCN: Has the transition between child star and young adult actress been smooth or difficult?
MS: It’s been pretty smooth. My mom has helped — she keeps me grounded and has really helped me sort of navigate things as I’ve gotten older. But another part of it is social media and having my fans follow me for many years. I’ve been on Twitter since I was 10 and on Instagram for many years; it’s like my fans have gotten to sort of keep up with me on almost a daily basis. They’ve gotten to known me as just a regular girl, and have been able to relate to me on that level. Having had them on that ride really helps.
MCN: What are your future goals? Do you have any interest it producing or directing?
MS: Yes. One of our executive producers is Kerry Washington, and I’ve always looked up to her because she’s had a really amazing career mix acting in film and television, and now she has her own production company, Simpson Street. It’s a long-term goal for me to have my production company, not only to be in front of the cameras — which I hope to do for a very long time — but also have some creative control of the projects that I do and have a seat behind the camera.