Former local actor up for Leo Awards

Madison Smith, who was raised in Prince George and now lives in Vancouver, has been nominated for two Leo Awards that recognize outstanding achievement within the B.C. film and television industry.

Smith is up for best supporting performance by a male in a television movie. He was also nominated for best screenwriting for a motion picture.

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The acting nod for an experienced actor like Smith is no big surprise but the writing nod comes with a kinda-fell-into-it story.

Smith was first contacted by Courtney Page, The Color Rose screenwriter, to see if he'd be interested in taking on a role in the movie.

Once Smith agreed to look at the script, Paige asked him to put a critical eye on it and make some notes to offer a fresh perspective on the story line. When word came that a backer wanted the villain to be a different character, Paige once again reached out to Smith, who pulled an all-nighter to flesh out a plausible option.

Paige loved it and soon Smith, along with Paige and co-writer Erin Hazlehurst, were writing a refreshed version of the screenplay for the movie.

Smith didn't know the movie was being considered for a Leo nomination so when the call from Paige started with "congratulations," he was a bit confused.

"Congratulations on what?" Smith asked. "The answer from Courtney Paige was we were nominated for a Leo and it was mind blowing. It still doesn't feel real. I remember the nights I was up until 3 or 4 a.m. writing and to think that turned into a little bit of recognition is fantastic."

Paige, Hazlehurst and Smith fine-tuned the script in just six weeks.

"It was a lot of fun to do and I was really happy how it turned out," Madison said. "The film we were able to make from our script - it correlated great. I'm really excited."

Another part of the story is that because of conflicts in his acting schedule, Smith was not able to appear in The Color Rose. One of the conflicting roles was in Write Before Christmas, which earned Smith his Leo nomination for best supporting male in a television movie.

Smith, who is best known for his roles as the snarky little brother in various Hallmark TV movies, as well as Narcoleap, Aftermath, Riverdale, and Supergirl, was nominated for his role in Hallmark's Write Before Christmas where the lead character sends five people who have made an impact in her life a card at Christmas time. 

Smith plays the lead character's younger brother Carter, a private in the military, who is currently posted overseas and is away from home for Christmas for the first time. Smith said the movie is very special because it sees the main story line with four other story lines intertwined.

"This was the first time I felt like I was doing a lead role, even though it was supporting," Smith said. "My character has his own story line and it was a lot of fun doing one of the five stories."

Lanie McAauley plays his love interest, Angie.

"I remember when I was there I thought this was really cool because it's mine and Lanie's story," Smith said. "This is ours, we're the leads - even if we're not the leads in the movie, we're the leads of our story line so that was always cool to think about. It was the thing that felt different than other roles."

To be acknowledged is awesome, he said.

"As an actor you go through all this and you see little improvements from year to year," Smith said. "Looking back further you can see bigger improvements but at times you feel like you're not at a standstill but not moving forward as much as you'd like and you can feel a little down. Getting a boost from a nomination like this is fantastic. The greatest thing about these awards is they shine a light on sometimes struggling actors who are just trying to make ends meet and who are doing their best waiting for their big break and this nomination is there to say 'hey, you're on the right track'."

The Leo Awards presentation is usually held at a gala in June but since the pandemic has put a hold on large gatherings the program is in a holding pattern until later this year and could be a virtual event instead on an in-person event.

Up next for Smith is his role of Orbin in The Order, a series on Netflix, about a college student who pledges to a secret order to avenge his mother's death. As a result, he is thrown into a war between werewolves and practitioners of dark magic. In season 2 that comes out June 18, Smith's character comes up against a special guest star that Smith said he's very excited about. Unfortunately he can't talk about it until after it airs. 

The Citizen will be sure to catch up with him then to hear all about his latest acting adventures.

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