OITNB’s Madeline Brewer Is Making Huge Moves

You might know her as the good-hearted, yet tragically flawed Trisha from “Orange is the New Black,” but in her next role, Madeline Brewer loses the cornrows and runs away from a cult in “The Deleted.”

The show premiered last night on Fullscreen, and is written and directed by Bret Easton Ellis, who wrote the novels that inspired the films “Less Than Zero” and “American Psycho.”

“The Deleted” is about the members of a cult in Northern Washington who escape to Los Angeles and go off the grid. When escapees begin disappearing, they’re driven to find each other for protection as the cult leaders begin hunting them down.

Madeline plays Agatha, one of the escaped members of the cult and is joined by Vine star Nash Grier (yes, that Nash Grier…) who plays Agatha’s boyfriend Ryder.

But that’s not the only project this 24 year-old has been working on. She’s also currently starring alongside boss bitch Elisabeth Moss in Hulu’s series version of of Margaret Atwood’s classic “The Handmaid’s Tale” that will be released in April 2017. With roles like these, Madeline is already making huge strides in her career. You might even say she’s the next Meryl Streep or Julianne Moore.

That’s all I’m going to tell you though, so now you have to watch it. We talked with Madeline about the show, and what else she’s been up to since “Orange is the New Black.” 


As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I was always acting, I did my first play when I was 7. But when I was in high school and trying to figure out a career path, I said that if not an actress, then I would study french, move to France and become a french teacher. I went there on a trip once and I was so inspired by it. 

How did you get into acting?

I was so unfathomably blessed. I believe most of my success is just from being in the right place at the right time. I went to The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, and after graduation, I ended up getting in touch with and agency that was interested in me. Four months after I signed, they sent me on this audition. It was my first ever film or TV audition and I was holding my script up in front them up, and I was so nervous. 

The character description was a like a Taryn Manning, Slim-Shady type, and I literally thought this agent is insane, like that’s not someone who I would play at all! And Jennifer Euston, that amazing, magic woman saw something in me, and from there I was hooked.

You had no experience with TV acting before Orange is the New Black, how did you prepare yourself?

I had a lot of experience acting, but it was always on stage. It took me a while to realize, but the big difference between stage and film is with stage, you have to have a more readable reaction so the people in the back of the house can see. With TV and film, it matters even if you blink on screen or make the slightest move. It’s more in the minute details of your face. For me, it was having to take it down a notch. I’m Italian, I always talk with my hands.

What’s been your favorite part of acting so far?

I’ve worked with so many amazing people and I have met so many inspirational people. But the best is the acting itself. It’s getting to explore these different characters, and every time I explore someone new, I feel like I grow. I learn something new about myself. Also, the best has been meeting some people, especially the people from “Orange is the New Black”. I can’t picture my life without them, and I have so many friends for life in them. We’d be together all day, and our super small trailers were right next to one another. Jackie Cruz was right next to me and through those paper thin walls, I could hear her breathe in the next room. My managers are also the greatest people I have ever met. They’re like family. They’re people that I wouldn’t know if I I wasn’t acting, so I am thankful for that always.

Tell us about your character in “The Deleted.”

Agatha is a troubled young woman, but it’s because she’s been put in a shitty situation. There are a lot of unanswered questions up front with the show, and it leaves you wanting more. It’s a bit of a tease, and then you realize some tumultuous things begin to happen.

So if you learn something from every character, what did you learn from Agatha?

I learned that it’s more about coping mechanisms, and she copes with alcohol and sex as most of them do in “The Deleted.” I like being able to explore that part of myself without actually acting on it. Like I get to explore that, even though I’m not getting wasted. It’s like accessing that part of myself and realizing maybe I am that kind of person, or maybe I am not. I ask myself how I would deal with those kinds of things, putting your mind into certain situations and then comparing how you would react is how I learn.

Are you excited or anxious about the reactions from your fans about “The Deleted”?

I’m not anxious. “The Deleted” will have its audience in people who interested in that kind of thing. The show is totally my style, and what I’m interested in and exploring that suspenseful world. I think people are going to watch it because they’re curious, or fans of Nash [Grier’s], and they want to see them in their world and they’re just like let’s check it out. I like that about “The Deleted”. It’s such a mixture of different people and talent and it’s a different world. It’s cool to consider how we all kind of brought it together, and we did this thing, and it’s gorgeous. Something to be proud of for sure. 

What is your guilty pleasure television show?

I’ve been watching a lot of “Bob’s Burgers.” Also “Drop Dead Diva,” I’m watching that with my mom. But my boyfriend and I have been watching “West World” because it’s really awesome, and “High Maintenance” because one of my friends is in it.

Who’s the coolest person you can think of and why?

My best friend Jenna, she’s like the smartest, coolest person I know, we have been best friends since I was 14, and we hated each other because we had the same pair of designer shoes, but obviously we got over it. She’s opinionated and passionate about things, just the nicest and good-hearted person there is.

If you were a cult leader, what would your cult look like?

My cult would probably have something to do with food. Like a and mac and cheese cult.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on “The Handmaid’s Tale” right now. That will be on Hulu in April, and we have been shooting a ton, and it’s a incredibly brilliant. The writing is haunting. It’s scary, but the writers have managed to find the humor in it, and Elizabeth Moss is an incredible actress. 


Photography: Martina Tolot

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