Kiana Madeira Opens Up About ‘Perfect Addiction’ and ‘Fear Street’s Future
From director Castille Landon and based on the Wattpad novel by Claudia Tan, the MMA drama Perfect Addiction follows Siena Lane (Kiana Madeira), a trainer so deeply betrayed by her fighter ex-boyfriend Jax Deneris (Matthew Noszka) that she becomes laser-focused on revenge. While getting his arch-nemesis Kayden Williams (Ross Butler) ready to win, the time they spend together blurs boundaries, and the more in sync they get in the ring, the closer they also get outside of it.
During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, Madeira (who plays Deena/Sarah Fier in the Fear Street trilogy) talked about what drew her to this project, working with such a heavy female presence both in front of and behind the camera, choreographing the sex scenes, all the eating her character does, shooting in Poland, the specific training she did for the role, the Sienna and Jax dynamic, and finding chemistry with co-star Butler. She also talked about her experience making the Fear Street trilogy and her reaction to learning that they wanted to make more movies.
Collider: When this came your way, what was the appeal for you? Were you interested in the MMA world? Did the romance side of it appeal to you? Was it the blend of both, which we don’t normally get to see?
KIANA MADEIRA: Yeah, it was definitely the blend of the two. I loved that I would be able to play a fighter, and be this girl who’s really tough and really strong and really driven, and at the same time, have a love story where there are times when she’s really gentle and softer. The blending of those two worlds was very intriguing to me. It’s not something that I often see, so I was really excited. I wasn’t too familiar with MMA coming into this, so I was also excited for the challenge to learn about that craft and step into that world.
I love that, for what is typically thought of as a very male-driven world, this movie has a female director, a female screenwriter, a female author, and you’re at the center of it. What sort of energy and environment did that create on set? What was it like to bring all of that female energy to a very typically male-driven world?
MADEIRA: You’re so right. That’s a great question. It felt very comfortable. Castille Landon, our director, runs a very, very smooth and efficient set. She’s very tiny, but she has a very powerful presence. Having her as the captain of our ship on set just paved the way for me as a woman to step up and play Sienna, as she goes head-to-head with these guys. The world was really created for us to thrive, in this specific circumstance. I agree, I think it’s really cool that, like you said, it’s a female director, a female character, a female author, and a female screenwriter. I actually had never really thought about it completely like that. That’s actually really cool. The energy on set definitely felt like it was created for us to thrive in that environment.
It feels like there are elements of this story and these characters that would not have been explored, had that not been the case, especially with the fact that your character is very aware of being in a toxic relationship and wanting to take her power back. It just seems like those are things that come from like a very female point of view.
MADEIRA: Yes, 100%. And even in the intimate scenes, it’s not often that we see a female climax on screen. That’s because of Castille. It definitely has a female lens, in so many different areas of it, and I’m very, very grateful for that.
Did it also make you feel like there was more of a sense of communication with the intimate scenes? Did the intimate scenes feel somewhat like doing the fight scenes, in how choreographed those moments are? Did they compare, in that way?
MADEIRA: There was very much an open dialogue. We had an intimacy coordinator who actually helped Ross and I choreograph our large intimate scene. We choreographed that weeks before we even started filming, and we filmed that scene closer to the end of our shooting schedule, so we had time to really feel comfortable in the choreography and to feel comfortable with one another, which was really important. And yeah, like you said, it does feel like fight scenes. We know that, at this moment, he’s gonna turn me here and we’re gonna do this. We had the choreography to surrender into, which made us feel very safe.
One of the things I noticed about this movie is that you do a lot of eating, from a big hamburger to a stack of pancakes to even being fed food. What’s it like to do so many eating scenes in one movie, take after take?
MADEIRA: Honestly, I didn’t realize it, until I got to set and we were doing it. It was the pancake scene for me. That was a lot, take after take. She’s stress eating and emotional eating, so I didn’t wanna just be nibbling. I wanted it to be and feel real. And so, I ended up eating a lot of pancakes that day. I was like, “Damn, thank God there’s so much physicality to this because I’m full and I need to get my metabolism going.” There definitely was a lot of eating in it, and when I was reading the script, I did not realize that until we actually got filming.
What was it like to shoot this in Poland and to spend time there? Did you get to see any of the area that you were in?
MADEIRA: I was filming every day. I didn’t have a day off, but we had weekends off, which was really nice. We were filming in Kraków, which is a beautiful part of Poland. It’s actually one of the only main cities in Poland that still has its original architecture. So, we would go into the old town most weekends and explore there. It was so beautiful. Playing a role like this, I didn’t really get to fully experience the food, aside from the food that I was eating in the scenes. I would love to go back to Poland. The people were really kind. I’d love to film there again. The crew was incredibly talented, very efficient, and made the film look amazing. I would definitely love to go back and try some of their food because it did look really good.
What sort of training did you do for this? Was there specific training that really helped you ground yourself in the mindset of someone like this character, beyond just the physicality?
MADEIRA: I was training in Muay Thai and Jujitsu, and then also training with my trainer, Jerry Joseph. We were lifting weights, doing cardio, and doing high intensity interval training. It was the discipline aspect of it all that really helped me step into her mindset. Athletes have a different level of requirement for them. Just having to go to the gym and train for hours, every single day, that definitely changes your mindset on its own. Also, even though I was learning Muay Thai and Jujitsu, I would come home and practice what I learned to make sure that I was remembering everything and was being held accountable. Knowing that I was gonna show up on set and however much work that I put in was gonna result in my performance on screen, really made me wanna work really hard. It even extended into being at home and practicing what I was learning there too. So, being disciplined in the training really helped me understand Sienna and where she’s coming from and why she’s so driven.
How does the physicality of doing a film like this compare to doing something like Fear Street? The Fear Street movies seemed like they were also very physical, but how different was the physicality? How did that feel, in comparison?
MADEIRA: I agree with you that they were both physical, the difference being that Deena in Fear Street got into situations where she had to be physical and fight, but she didn’t have any training. That’s a different type of exhaustion, when you’re fighting from an emotional place, as opposed to a calculated, more crafted way of fighting. They were each challenging in their own way ways. Deena was really scrappy, which was actually a perfect role to do before stepping into Perfect Addiction because I got to experience what it was like to do my own stunt stunts and be physical, playing with Ashley Zuckerman, a man, and having to be physical with him, only to, a couple of years later, do Perfect Addiction, where I was fighting against other men. They mirror each other, for sure. I think Perfect Addiction is the physical elevation of what I had to do in Fear Street.
What was it like to have the experience that you did with Fear Street, as far as making them in a bubble, and then having them come out and get so much attention and a huge fan reaction? What was it like to experience that, as their popularity just kept growing and people kept discovering them? Was that a crazy thing to experience?
MADEIRA: Yeah, it was and still is very mind-blowing. When you’re creating something, you never really know who’s gonna end up seeing it, so we tried not to think too much about that, at the time. And we shot those films before the pandemic, so we experienced a whole switch in the release plan. Netflix ended up picking them up, but it wasn’t always intended to be for Netflix. When I got word that it was gonna be on Netflix, I was really excited because I had done a Netflix series called Trinkets, so I know the impact that platform has. I’m glad that they released it the way that they did, and I’m honestly still blown away and really grateful for all the response and all the fans that we got from that.
Were you surprised to hear talk of more movies because it became so popular? Was that something you had ever even imagined?
MADEIRA: I thought doing three was great. I was happy to have a trilogy. When I heard that they wanted to do more, and the fans just keep asking, “When’s the next one?,” I was like, “Wow, that’s really a testament to the whole team and all the work that everyone put into it,” because three already is such a blessing. Anything more, I’m like, “Okay, this is crazy, but I’ll take it.”
It’s one thing to have fight scenes in a ring that are meticulously choreographed, but you also have a lot of training scenes in this. What’s it like to figure those scenes out, since they feel less structured?
MADEIRA: Yeah, they’re different. With the training scenes, we honestly didn’t focus too much on the choreography for those. It was more fluid and more in-the-moment, where the fight scenes were very choreographed. With the training scenes, on the day, they would be like, “Okay, you’re gonna train him. This is what you’re doing. We’re just gonna film you.” In my training process, prior to filming, I also had to learn to hold gloves and be a trainer, as well as a fighter. There was a scene with Matthew [Noszka] and I, where we had a whole combo that we had to do, and we had just learned that, 10 minutes before the camera started rolling. We kept making mistakes and they were like, “It’s okay. We can fix it in post.” And we were like, “No, we have to get this whole thing in one shot.” Now, you can see that we actually pulled it off, and that’s very rewarding.
What was it like to figure out the dynamic between Sienna and Jax? How was it to figure out that toxic relationship with your scene partner, Matthew Noszka?
MADEIRA: Honestly, for us, the writing is what was ultimately going to show that it was a toxic relationship. We just wanted to focus on our connection with one another, and the story just allowed it to be toxic. If we had leaned into hating each other and playing how toxic it was, it maybe wouldn’t have resulted in the way that it did. But because we were just really focusing on the connection that we had, that story was able to unravel the way that it did, and it was handled right, in that sense. Also, it allowed us to still be friends, off camera, because we didn’t feel like we had to be hating each other and have that energy. These characters are complicated and their story is gonna be toxic, so we just focused on the connection we had and saw how that played out.
In comparison, how different was the dynamic to find with Ross Butler? The movie really depends on audiences believing the chemistry between your characters, so how was that to find?
MADEIRA: With Ross, a lot of our scenes where our characters get close, we ended up filming towards the end, so it felt like a natural progression with us. We were just starting to get to know each other, as Kiana and Ross, and our characters were just starting to get to know each other. As we built our relationship off camera, it also was perfectly in alignment with our characters on camera. We were so blessed to have that timeline play out the way it did. There’s no doubt that we would have been able to do that regardless, but I’m so grateful for Ross. He’s so funny. Something that we really had in common was our sense of humor. We were always cracking jokes, in between scenes, and even a lot of what you see on screen was improvisation between the two of us. We had a nice chemistry, and I’m glad because I think it shows.
Perfect Addiction is available on VOD.