Caroline Barry, who stars as Nellie Bly in the upcoming historical drama 10 Days In A Madhouse, is steadily gaining attention in the media for her powerful performance. Industry professionals are already predicting that her uncanny portrayal of Bly will garner both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress. The movie opened to a wildly successful premiere at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year with executives praising Barry’s ability to deliver an emotionally layered performance. Audiences patiently await the biopic’s release on November 20th, the same weekend as Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, another film featuring strong women.
10 Days In A Madhouse, which accurately follows Nellie Bly’s 1887 book of the same title, depicts her journey into a New York City lunatic asylum. In order to report from within, Bly must make everyone believe she is insane. No journalist was doing what she was doing at the time, and the results of her fearless investigative reporting were triumphant. Through her writing, Bly was able to take down a system that was abusive towards women and mentally ill patients, changing the field of journalism forever.
Caroline Barry was chosen to play the fascinating and demanding role of Bly out of 8,000 hopefuls from around the world. Her unique ability to simultaneously convey both darkness and lightness was what ultimately won her the once-in-a-lifetime role. Barry says that she was drawn to the character because of Bly’s “inherent goodness and courage. She’s an inspiration. If it wasn’t for her, I may not have the same opportunities as I do today.”
Director Timothy Hines loved every minute of working with Barry, calling her one of the most gracious women he’s ever met. The feeling was very mutual. “I just feel so lucky that my very first movie experience was with such a great director,” Barry says. “Working with Timothy was so eye-opening. You learn so much just being in his presence because he lays it all out on the table. He was always honest with us. He knew what he wanted but he let us explore our characters for ourselves, which is exactly the perfect balance that we as actors hope for.”
Before she was bit by the acting bug, she taught martial arts to kids, and continues to do so in her spare time. Her martial arts mentor’s saying, “how you fight is how you live” has stayed with her for many years. She explains that a timid fighter is timid in real life, and an aggressive fighter is aggressive in real life. Barry has learned to be assertive and confident when it comes to what she wants. Her natural tendency to not take no for an answer served her well when shooting the movie. After all, Nellie Bly was one of the most audacious women in our country’s history.
“It was a challenge for me to be on set and to think that I have to live up to the legacy that Nellie Bly left behind,” Barry says, “but it was so rewarding. The cast made everything easier too. I know it sounds so cliche but we really did became a family during shooting. Our passion for this story and for Nellie really brought us together. We all had this feeling off just wanting to do right by her. I think a lot of people will walk away feeling inspired.”
Like Bly, Barry also has an activist spirit inside of her. She suggests it may have something to do with her close connection to the American Revolution and the American identity. She is a descendant of those who aided in our country’s fight for independence. Her family has been around long enough to qualify to be part of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Barry says that her connection with the revolution is a reminder that she should always be willing to fight for two things: what is right, and what she wants.
With her role in 10 Days In A Madhouse, she is thrilled to be portraying an important historical figure that changed the course of American history. Barry has given back to her own community through art. For three years, she was involved with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival which also had a bullying program. Not only did Barry perform for thousands of children across the state, but she also dedicated many hours to participate in workshops surrounding the topic of bullying and how to deal with it.
10 Days In A Madhouse – The Nellie Bly Story co-stars Christopher Lambert (who played the titular character in Highlander and can next be seen in the upcoming Coen Brothers film Hail Caesar!), Julia Chantrey (Mama, Mean Girls), Kelly Le Brock (Weird Science) and Russian celebrity actress Alexandra Callas.
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