Here’s hoping we get to see more of her now!!

Madsen admits ‘Sideways’ a career booster
TORONTO (CP) – For two decades Virginia Madsen has been regarded as a Hollywood actress far better than the parts that came her way. Then last year, as she crossed over the big four-oh line, along came the role of Maya in Alexander Payne’s Academy Award-nominated indie film Sideways.
And that has made all the difference.
“Oh my God, everything’s changed,” exclaims Madsen in a telephone interview from Los Angeles to promote Tuesday’s home video release of Sideways.
“I’m making money now. And I also, for the first time, have three films lined up, and I’ve never had that luxury in my career, ever. You know, to be booked for a while, that’s every actor’s dream.”
The blond Chicago native with one green eye and one half-green, half-brown, broke into the movies in the mid-1980s in such promising titles as Dune, Electric Dreams and Candyman. But in the ’90s her rising star seemed to get eclipsed by her brother with the tough-guy image, Michael Madsen (the scary ear-slicer in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs).
Then along came Payne’s Oscar-winning script for Sideways, about the misadventures of Miles and Jack, two middle-aged buddies who embark on a last-chance wine-tasting tour through California vineyard country.
In her Oscar-nominated supporting role, Madsen plays a wine-savvy local waitress who has already been beaten up by life and who falls for divorced, failed writer Miles (American Splendor’s Paul Giamatti).
While many filmgoers were skeptical that the appealing Maya could like such a sad sack, Madsen finds it entirely plausible, insisting Maya was definitely not “settling.”
Her character, she notes, was drawn to Miles’s simple honesty, compared with her former professor husband who she found to be a “fraud.”
“A lot of the women pick up on that particular word, because it means he was a fake, none of the things she thought (Miles) was.
“Some of us like nice guys. You know, I’m not 25 anymore. I’m not looking for James Dean on a bike, you know. I’ve got a 10-year-old son, I don’t need another one.”
So the Sideways role, to Madsen, puts the lie to the Hollywood theory that there are no good parts for women over 40.
“I’ve had the best roles of my life at this age,” she maintains. “I don’t think there’s very good roles for women in their 20s. There’s an abundance, but not many realistic portrayals of 23-year-olds.”
She says while she can play a woman like Maya, she would have found it difficult at 25 or 30 trying to play, say, a mother and a lawyer, a character who had lived life.
As for moviegoers who found it difficult watching a film with two “heroes” who were so deeply flawed and outright obnoxious, Madsen says perhaps they should go see Scooby Doo and analyse it for its characters’ imperfections.
“If you really examine the character of Shaggy, you will find a sad little man whose best friend is a dog and who has a serious eating disorder!”
Sideways, she adds, is about flawed people because writer-director Payne has admitted he doesn’t know any likable heroes.
“We’re all sideways people, we’re all twisted and we all have our eccentricities and we’ve all done terrible things and good things. Martha Stewart, for God’s sake, just went to prison for lying.”
Frankly, she admits, she was braced for a different kind of debate about the film, convinced Mothers Against Drunk Driving, for example, would launch a vigorous campaign protesting the drinking and driving that went on during Miles and Jack’s pilgrimage though the grapes.
As for reports the film has singlehandedly raised public awareness of, and interest in, wine-making and wine-tasting, Madsen says it’s because wine has evolved from an elitist pastime to an approachable experience in American culture.
“Wine’s become so affordable. You can get a really nice bottle of wine for $20 and you can have wine-tasting parties at home, and it’s a real communal experience, a fun thing to share with friends.”
Madsen says she has been filming in Vancouver recently and is scheduled to visit B.C.’s Okanagan Valley for a wine-tasting.
“I haven’t found one (B.C. wine) that I like yet. Everyone of course in Canada really wants to turn me onto it, so I’m getting a new bottle practically every day in my hotel and I’m kinda like, ‘I don’t like that one, either’ but I’m willing to give it a try.”
When in Toronto recently, she says she was given a nice bottle of Ontario wine – she couldn’t recall the name – but California wines remain her favourite.