What would it feel like to have your career breakthrough at the age of 11? That was the reality for actress Madeline Carroll, who co-stars in the new movie I Can Only Imagine.
She’s actually been in the entertainment industry since she was three years old, but the decision that this was really what she wanted for her career was much more recent.
“Really I didn’t decide this is what I want to do, and this is what I’m going to fight to do until I was fourteen, fifteen years old. And that’s actually when it got really hard.”
“The parts that were coming my way were just things I didn’t want to do – things that weren’t edifying. And they weren’t even good scripts. They were just silly and just wrong.”
Being in that place led her to a season of frustration, but ultimately of decision.
“I just went into this really big struggle with God for four years. ‘God – is this no longer where you want me? If it’s not what you have for me, what do you desire? God please help me. What is it that you want of me?'”
“I’m not kidding you, literally the next day, a door opened up to be in another movie. And then two months after that I was at a separate audition for a commercial and the woman who got paired up with me to be my mom in the audition, she just happened to know who I was. She was like, ‘You should try out for that new movie, I Can Only Imagine.’ And I was like, ‘Like the song?'”
A seemingly random comment became a rediscovery of purpose for Madeline.
“I knew it was going to be powerful, so I left my manager a message, ‘Please, please get me in for that part!’ And when she called over there, they just so happened to be trying to get a hold of me! Which is a total miracle.”
“So I go in there, and I talk to them for literally an hour all about God. All about my faith. All about everything I went through. I came out, and I said, ‘Mom. It’s OK if I don’t get this part, because I know that I’ll work with these people one day.”
But that timeline was not going to stretch out too far.
“Literally a few days later I found out I got the part, and I couldn’t believe it. So now when I see the film, I just keep crying. Because I think of a year ago when I was so broken, and now what He did with it. I just can’t get over it!.”
Madeline Carroll has starred on the small and big screen in movies like Swing Vote & Flipped. Her latest role comes in the just-released feature I Can Only Imagine, where she portrays Shannon Millard.