Morgan Davis>Senior>Journalism>George Washington University
Madeline Martin is no Becca Moody. The poised 16-year-old actress has the vocabulary of a GRE tutor and a down-to-earth attitude. But teamed up with the ever raunchy David Duchovny in the Showtime series Californication, Martin has to be wise beyond her years. Playing Duchovny’s daughter onscreen and acting like his much younger sister off, Martin has established herself as the more mature of the two. “David is sort of like a brother on set. He’s kind of goofy,” laughed Martin in her identifiable, high-pitched giggle.
But it’s not just Duchovny that makes Martin seem much older than she is. After beginning her role as Becca at age 14, Martin has grown up with her character over the past three seasons. From her first episode when she walks into Hank’s (Duchovny) bedroom to find a naked woman, to her frank conversations with Hank about his relationships and sex life, both Martin and Becca seem to know more than the other girls their age. But don’t let her acting fool you—the show has seen a lot of firsts for Martin. In one episode, a 14-year-old Martin has her first kiss with cameras rolling. “It was pretty nerve racking. But Natasha (Karen Moody) . . . was sitting in the rose bushes to support me,” she remembered. “I never saw the boy again,” she added laughing.
And Becca’s drunken night with her best friend’s mom? The never-been-drunk Martin based the whole thing on the inebriated escapades of Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist. “That was really fun,” she giggled. “There’s this scene when her (Nora) best friend’s drunk . . . the scene with the man with the turkey sandwich, and I watched that and it gave me a lot of ideas for my scene.”
While one would assume that Martin has now been exposed to, well, everything, she’s managed to not become corrupted by the often taboo and always sexual themes of Californication. “When I started the show, I was younger and I listened to my iPod at table readings and I didn’t watch the show,” Martin said. “Now I don’t watch the show just because I don’t like to see myself on screen. It makes me self conscious.” She’s also usually able to avoid many of the risqué scenes her costars find themselves in as she keeps busy with her academics. “I read a lot. I’m usually doing school on set.” Besides, now that she’s 16, she and her friends can actually watch the show if they want to, or at least know what’s going on. “Sometimes I think it’s a little gratuitous, the sex, but I watch Skins . . . that has nudity, it’s just not as gratuitous.”
The daughter of two professors and younger sister to two musicians, Martin has already built an impressive resume, as well as a name for herself in the world of teen actors. While other actors her age bounce around in High School Musical-esque ways, Martin is remaining an individual. “Growing up our parents told us that conformity was overrated,” she said, adding that coming from an artistic family helps. With jet black hair, dark eye makeup and a knowing smile, Martin is a New York girl at heart. New York, she says, seems smaller than Los Angeles, and is home to many of the things she loves, including her favorite indulgence—chocolate tea. Even her family perfers to stay out East. “They don’t like LA,” she said. “They come out to visit, but they prefer New York.”
In between seasons of Californication, Martin has started filming a new movie, Brother’s Keeper, turning from her usual dysfunctional role of Becca to a more serious role of a less privileged girl in a wrestling world. But, she has high hopes for upcoming seasons of Californication, including (fingers crossed for Martin) Becca pursuing her music or running away to New York. Until that happens, she’s content to split her time between life in the Big Apple and filming in LA. “The show has kind of evolved in season three into a counter-cultural comedy,” she said. “There’s something refreshing about Hank being politically incorrect.”