Exclusive Interview: ‘The Finder’ Maddie Hasson Talks About Playing Willa, Upcoming Finds and Getting “A Pony” on Set


How hard is it to be honest?

Well, if you are Willa Monday, it’s not that easy. Played by very talented newcomer Maddie Hasson, Willa is the incorrigible, slightly misguided teenager on probation who is under the care of Leo, played by Michael Clark Duncan on The FOX series The Finder. Coming from a long line of Gypsy criminals, Willa is always fighting to balance her old life and the new one offered by the gang at the ‘Ends of the Earth’ bar.

TV Equals was lucky enough to chat with the delightfully charming Maddie Hasson and asked her some burning questions about the somewhat mysterious Willa, her most surprising moment on set and which series she would love to guest star on (Hint: it’s on FOX and it ends with “rl”).

Check out what Maddie had to say below and don’t forget to tune in to tonight’s episode of The Finder titled “Little Green Men” guest starring Eric Roberts as the mysterious uncle Shadrack.

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How did the opportunity come about for you to play Willa on ‘The Finder’?

Maddie Hasson: I came out here for an audition for the first time in March of last year. I came out here for pilot season because I live in North Carolina with my mother and father and my sisters. And it was sort of on a month to month basis. I would come out for a month and I did some auditions and I got a small part in a film called ‘God Bless America‘.

I saw the trailer. It looks brilliant.

Maddie Hasson: It’s hilarious. It’s so much fun, and then I came back and filmed that. Then I did an audition for ‘The Finder’ and it sort of went out from there.

So, this is your first foray into television?

Maddie Hasson: Yeah. It’s the first of many things.

Were you expectations of working in the TV world met or exceeded by reality?

Maddie Hasson: This is literally probably the best situation that I could’ve lucked into. I have enjoyed it immensely and everyone on the crew and in the cast works incredibly hard. They love what they do and we’ve all just become a big family, so much so, that at the wrap party people are crying because we don’t want to stop working. We love it, and I’ve loved it so much. It’s been awesome.

This is a strong ensemble cast. How is it working day to day with them?

Maddie Hasson: It was incredible to work with them. It was my first day really having to be on a television set and having such a strong role and a serious part. I’m working with these experienced actors that have done so much and are incredibly talented and they know so much and are just the nicest people. They helped me more than anyone.

Willa is a complicated character. We’re never sure if she’s going to be good or bad. How do you see her?

Maddie Hasson: She’s definitely at a crossroads. She doesn’t really know what she wants at this point and I think that she’s never had the kind of father figure that Michael’s [Clarke Duncan] character, Leo, has become for her. She’s always had to lie and to cheat and to steal and she’s learned all of these skills, but she’s never had someone truly love her. I feel like she’s really finding that and she doesn’t know where she wants to be at this point.

This week we meet the famous Uncle Shadrak, right?

Maddie Hasson: I know. Eric Roberts.

What can you tease about that episode?

Maddie Hasson: First of all, Eric Roberts is a fantastic guy. He plays that character incredibly well. It was great working with him. He’s such a talented actor. I can’t say that enough. I can’t say that he’s going to be for Willa and Timo, ending their bethrothment, their engagement. He’s not the nicest man in the world, to say the least.

What can viewers expect in the remaining episodes this season? Will there be some interesting items coming up in the show, things to find?

Maddie Hasson: Yes. There’s a voodoo doll. They find a meal.

A meal, as in something you eat?

Maddie Hasson: Yeah, you’re going to have to find out, mister.

Do you know if there’s a possibility for a second season?

Maddie Hasson: I don’t know yet. Maybe the producers know. I’d have to ask them. I don’t think that we’ll know for a little bit, but I’m positive about it. Regardless of what happens I’m happy with the experience that I’ve had and what’s meant to happen will happen.

What was the funniest moment during the production?

Maddie Hasson: That’s really hard to pick. The boys like to prank each other a lot. They’re children. You have no idea how immature they can be.

Anything jump to mind?

Maddie Hasson: It’s not even really bad pranks, but just day to day ragging on each other mercilessly. They’re horrible to each other, but it’s completely out of love. Mercedes [Masohn] and I like to spontaneously burst into song which isn’t always accepted.

Any favorite songs?

Maddie Hasson: We have this one song where we only know…you know that song ‘All By Myself’? I don’t even know if that’s the title, but we only know the chorus. We only know a couple of versus, but that’s definitely the song.

What was the toughest moment during the production?

Maddie Hasson: Just any emotional scene, or any tough scene with lots of dialogue. I think that everyday is a learning experience for me, especially since I’m so new. I feel like I definitely had to focus a little extra because I didn’t want to let anyone down or anything like that, but it wasn’t a challenge that I wasn’t accepting of. I’m happy to have that challenge. Everyday was great and you still wanted something new.

What was the most surprising moment during production?

Maddie Hasson: I had my birthday in January. I turned seventeen. We were on set for my birthday and I had to do this really emotional scene with Mercedes where Willa starts crying. It’s in the last episode and they hug and have a girlie moment, and they kept me after. They said, ‘Maddie, you’re going to have to stay. We have a photo-shoot. Toby is going to come in,’ Toby Hemingway who plays Timo, ‘and you’re going to do a photo-shoot by the trailer.’ I said, ‘Okay. This is weird, but alright. I do whatever you tell me.’

I’m sitting there and I text Toby, like, ‘Are you coming down here?’ He said, ‘Wait. What are you talking about?’ I’m getting him all stressed out because I’m like, ‘You have to be down here for the photo-shoot, dude. Did the AD not call you?’ He was calling Brett, thinking that he had to be down where we were shooting. Apparently they had gotten me a cake, but it was late. So, they kept me there for like half the day on my birthday, but it was great because they had made this fantastic made out of cupcakes with an old picture of me on it. It was really cute. They all sang to me and I always joke to Geoff [Stults] that he needs to buy me a pony for a birthday. They got me this tiny, stuffed rocking horse that neighs and makes running sounds.

If the character of Walter was real and you could have anything in the world be found what would you want found?

Maddie Hasson: My mom probably knows this question better than I do because I always lose the things that she buys for me and she gets pissed. I lost this necklace one day on the beach that one of my really close friends gave to me. It was really beautiful. It was a silver heart. He got it for me when he came back from a trip. It was one of my favorite necklaces and I lost it on the beach because I took it off. I was like, ‘I’m going to take good care of this.’ I took it off and I put it in the bag and the pocket had a hole in it, of course. It’s in the sand now.

I’m sure if Walter was real, he could get that.

Maddie Hasson: It was lost a long time ago, but he probably could. I’m supposed to say that he could or die trying, yeah.

Do you have any other upcoming projects outside of ‘The Finder’, ‘God Bless America’ which is coming out soon?

Maddie Hasson: Coming out soon, yeah. I’m actually going to stay out here. We finished shooting and we’ve had the wrap party, and I’m going to stay out here and try to get a feature or something in between.

If you could guest star on any other show, which one would it be?

Maddie Hasson: If ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ were still on the air, I would definitely guest star on that, but otherwise I really like ‘New Girl.’ There’s a lot of fun actors on that and it’s just a fun, quirky show and I think it would be cool to guest star on.
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