A Star Is Born. No Really, It’s Not Just A Stupid Cliche

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings

Set the DVRs. This Friday, Madelyn will be starring on the series finale of All My Children. The show airs at noon on ABC, or check your local listings. If it wasn’t for our daughter being on the show, I would be ashamed to see a soap opera on my DVR queue — that’s right, never been a soap fan. But when an agency calls you to come in for an audition for an iconic series, you go!

Our friend (Hi, Jan!) submitted Madelyn’s picture to her adorable granddaughter’s agency on our behalf (surprise!) and sure enough, they liked her Sally Field-style (they really liked her!) and requested she go audition for the role of “Infant” on All My Children the next day. What? Too soon! We didn’t have time to prepare for the audition and go shopping for new diapers, make an appointment at the Aveeno Baby Lotion Spa, or get her gums whitened. At least she had no lines to memorize. Phew!

I managed to put clothes on that didn’t resemble jammies and become human for the afternoon because I was three days post-infection diagnosis, dressed the baby in her most soap opera diva onesie, and drove off to the studio with Bryan and the star-to-be in tow.

As is typical with showbiz, we waited in an office hallway and filled out some simple paperwork before meeting with the casting people. Madelyn was on fabulous behavior and didn’t make a peep as people walked by without blinking when they saw a 15-day-old baby in their workplace. So Hollywood.

Our name was called and we met with a super nice man who casts talent for the show. We made sure to be polite and upstanding citizens because we know that they’d hate to cast a baby with obnoxious parents, so we abstained from making potty jokes and discussing politics. Then the audition began. It went something like this, are you ready?

Super Nice Casting Man: Wow, your baby is gorgeous. Let’s see here, this is, uh… Maaaadelyn. Let me record her on camera.


Alison: Smile, Madelyn!

Madelyn: WHIMPER

Alison: Oh, she NEVER does this! She must be cold. Are you cold, Madelyn? Madelyn, do you want your blanket? She can’t be hungry! We just fed her. She’s actually really a good baby, Super Nice Casting Man! This isn’t how she normally is. She’s very sweet and is usually really easy and —

Super Nice Casting Man: It’s fine. They’re babies. It’s what babies do. She’s beautiful. She really is.


Meanwhile, Bryan stood there holding Madelyn like a strong, proud father as his newborn daughter made a minimal, cooing whimper and his wife began to have a nervous breakdown. THIS COULD BE COLLEGE MONEY!!!!!!!!

Then Super Nice Casting Man wanted to show Madelyn to his boss who is a big time casting director in the soap world. People, like, know her. I didn’t. But still, she wore a flashy red suit and had platinum blonde hair and just looked very soapy and important. She got oogly eyed over Madelyn and accidentally slipped and gave away WHO SHE’D BE PLAYING (but I can’t tell you here or my ass will be sued, and my ass is already very much in post-partum trouble). Madelyn started to whimper-coo again, I began to sweat in places I didn’t know existed, and then Soapy Important Casting Lady asked to hold her and Madelyn silenced. Good one, M! Well played! Now this woman felt like Soap Important Casting Lady AND Mary Freakin’ Poppins. This was looking good.

After that golden moment, we got a little “our people will call your people” lip service (SO HOLLYWOOD) and then we drove home. That was Madelyn’s big audition. She really nailed it. I mean, auditioning to play a baby? The kid’s got talent.

Then we drove home and about a freeway exit away from home, Madelyn’s agent called (ha! That just sounds so ridiculous) and said she booked the part. So now my freshly un-wombed daughter had a job and I am still unemployed. Wow, I didn’t think my kid would be taking care of her old, decrepit parents this early in life. Hey Madelyn, when you’re finished changing your own diaper, why don’t you change mine after Bingo in the dining hall?

We were super excited, but then began the wild goose chase of making her eligible to work. With one day before the weekend, Bryan rushed around to pick up her birth certificate at the Ventura County records office, file her work permit in Van Nuys, and get her pediatrician to sign off on her ability to work. Oh, and we also had to open up a special bank account so we don’t Jackie Coogan/Gary Coleman-ize our kid. It was totally nuts!

The weekend passed and Monday came. Like the rest of America, it was to the salt mines for Madelyn! She began work on the set and it was the start of a fabulous day. First there was a lot of paperwork in the production office regarding financey stuff that I don’t understand, and then the on-set child actor social worker (basically, the child actor pimp who makes sure the the production peeps don’t take advantage of our baby’s fresh-face naivete) escorted us on set and to Madelyn’s dressing room which was also Eva LaRue’s dressing room (Eva LaRue… anyone?? I just IMDBed her. She had guest spots on Charles In Charge and Perfect Strangers. I love her and I don’t even know her!).

I was required to call the wardrobe department over the weekend to give Madelyn’s measurements. I know they’re probably used to hearing 32-33-23 from their female guest stars, so when I said, “Ummm, newborn?” I expected some pretty couture Gymboree threads to fill her dressing room closet. This was not the case. Madelyn’s wardrobe was one of our own Pampers diapers and they provided a fake swaddle blanket that was really a white felt wrap made out of an old poodle skirt. Not so Hollywood.

This is where I give my warning: there were two babies on set. GASP. Yes, they hired two babies just in case one had a meltdown or blew out their diaper or something babyish like that. The other baby was almost 3 weeks older than Madelyn and had lighter brown hair. We were told they loved Madelyn for her youthful looks (ha!) as a newer newborn and her dark brown hair which matched [INSERT SECRET CHARACTER’S NAME HERE]. None of us know who will actually be aired on Friday and who made it on the cutting room floor. They filmed both babies. If they end up using the other one, I would tell you to boycott All My Children forever, but they’re doing that for you since Friday is the final episode after 40 years.

Production paged Baby Madelyn to go to the stage, but her genius mother decided it would be fine time to milk drunk her so she’d be quiet and calm. This required a diaper change and since there was no time to waste (so Hollywood), they asked for the other baby to come to set instead. Bryan and I panicked that we just became those difficult parents and worried our fate was sealed. That they’d give up on Madelyn and the other baby would be used instead and Madelyn would lose her chance to become the next “it” face of Disney and then end up a slutty Sunset Strip underage party-goer and Lohan’s BFF. Thankfully, those chances are still up for grabs because they did indeed call Baby Madelyn to the stage after the other one (future Nicky Hilton?).

We got to escort Madelyn as she was carried by the baby nurse (a real nurse is required to handle babies on the set because of liability and health concerns) and watch the scene as we stood ten feet from her and her scene partners. Bryan watched through the monitors and I watched the live action. They did two takes and wrapped! They said she did great and everyone gushed over her. I wonder if they gushed over baby Nicky Hilton the same way. Tiger Mom curiosity comes out!

And then we dressed Madelyn out of her poodle skirt wannabe swaddle and put her back into her normal baby clothes. Said goodbye to the staff and Sarah Michelle Gellar’s dressing room which was right across from ours. Drove home and got reacquainted with commoner life.

We really don’t know much about the episode, but I’ve been watching bits and pieces of this week’s shows to get an idea of how Madelyn’s character will play out. So don’t forget to record or tune in this Friday to All My Children or, as it always is in our house, All My Child.

  1. Mimi
    9/21/2011 6:14 PM

    Beautiful Sweet Madelyn! What an unexpected & exciting way to start off your recent arrival! You are already a super star to me & the bright light (on stage or off) of my life!
    I love you,

  2. 9/21/2011 4:59 AM

    ONLY YOU could have this story – because NOBODY could have written it any better! I don’t know that I’ll get to see the episode, but I am so roaring in hysterics from your story! You are the best! Good luck and don’t let fame and fortune go to M’s head!