Film features Stockholm actress

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Actress Madeline Lupi, 13, of Stockholm has the lead role in the soon-to-be-released feature film “Messenger of Wrath,” a horror/thriller about a neglected 12-yearold girl, Charlotte “Three,” who faces masked invaders who break into her home late one night. While trying to escape, she learns of a far more dangerous threat lurking outside.

The independent film will be released Friday, Oct. 27, on Amazon Prime. It premiered Sept. 7 at Bow Tie Cinemas in Red Bank, N.J.

Lupi, an eighth-grader at Hardyston Middle School, said her character is a complex combination of a scared small child and a strong female with a fierce attitude. She is more independent than most girls her age because her mother works most of the time, she added.

“I really liked imagining and imitating how ‘Three’ would respond to certain situations,” Lupi said. “She has this constant struggle between standing up to her fears and being scared, so it was fun to pick and choose which persona would show through.”

Ryan Callaway, producer and director of the film, said that Lupi has appeared in his last four feature films. Her performance in “The Girl in the Cornfield” earned her two nominations, including Hollywood’s 2017 Young Artist Awards for Best Performance in a Digital TV Series or Film.

“In terms of pure acting ability and what she brings to her characters, Madeline is easily either one of the best, or the best actress I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” he said. “She’s ridiculously smart for her age, and her understanding of acting is light years ahead of what it should be.

“I think her portrayal of Three in this movie is the best I’ve seen out of her, and that’s saying something. Her ability and her having a great and, oftentimes, morbid sense of humor always makes her a consideration when casting—or even writing a film.”

Callaway has produced four movies in 3 years. This film came about because he wanted to remake his first short film, shot in 2009, and because he’s a big fan of home invasion movies.

“I thought it would be cool to have a kid home alone when the scary stuff goes down,” he said. “That’s not usually a perspective you see in these types of films.”

Lupi was drawn to acting, because her older sister is an actress, and she looks up to her sister.

“Being the younger sibling, I liked a lot of the things she liked,” she said. “Once I tried acting, I immediately fell in love with being different characters and letting my creativity run wild.”

Currently, Lupi is performing in community theatre. She plays the title character of Juliet in “Zombeo and Juliet” at Dover Little Theater, which premieres at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27. She also plays the lead character, Heather Chandler, in “Heathers” at the Rhino Theater, which premieres at 8 p.m. Nov. 30.

Lupi plans to act in more horror films, because it’s one of her favorite genres, she said. Besides, there’s a bonus to being in Callaway’s films. “The overall experience working with Ryan is a blast,” she said.

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