NFHS twins to star in upcoming film

Farmington Press | Published June 16, 2015


FARMINGTON — Farmington Hills twins Jacqueline Leonard Labadie and Elizabeth Leonard Labadie, 17, have come a long way from dancing in the aisles of North Farmington High School’s auditorium during plays and musicals as children.

They are now dancing on the streets of Hollywood and back after landing lead roles in the upcoming independent film “Crowning Jules,” produced by Miles Media.

“That is where everything started,” Elizabeth, an NFHS junior, said in her home near her twin sister and mother, Michele Labadie, June 11.

Although the duo is not new to the bright lights of stardom — from starring in commercials to an upcoming cable TV pilot — they can’t help but reminisce on how community and high school theater helped bring them this far.

Former NFHS directors Sue Cobb and her husband, Dean Cobb, have directed numerous musicals and plays, with Jacqueline and Elizabeth starring in several, including “Grease” and “Carrie.”

“They are the first that have been with us since they were babies,” Sue Cobb said recently. “Their grandma and grandpa helped us with plays and musicals starting in the ’90s. Jackie and Lizzie were always at our productions so they could dance during musical numbers. They are wonderful ladies.”

Elizabeth said that growing up, they had their “Cobb seats.”

“That is what my grandma and grandpa both call them,” she said. “We sit on the first row in the back so we could dance along with the music, and they (Sue Cobb and Dean Cobb) always made us feel like we were important.”

The auditorium and shows were a safe place to have fun and be ourselves. ... It is such great character we have that we learned from them (that) made us who we are today.”

“They built the foundation,” Jacqueline added.

“Crowning Jules” revolves around Jules, played by Jacqueline, a bright 17-year-old who wants to leave her Midwestern family’s traditions behind, but to obtain a Harvard admissions interview, she has to take a ride with her twin sister and nemesis, Madison, played by Elizabeth, who is headed to a beauty pageant.

Their road trip takes a turn for the worse when the sisters come into the possession of a stolen jewel and are pursued by thieves.

“When I first read the script,  I absolutely loved it and couldn’t wait to bring the character to life,” Jacqueline said in an emailed statement. “The plot of the story and the trip to Boston the Kelly twins take is adventurous, funny and exciting.”

The twins met the producer,  Lucas Miles, on the movie set of “Rodeo Girl.”

“We ended up really clicking,” Jacqueline said. “He sent us an audition for ‘Crowing Jules.’”

The girls initially auditioned in November for the opposite roles. They later received a call from their manager, who told them they were selected for the roles of Madison and Jules, and had to decide on which part to play.

“We would have been happy with either (part),” Elizabeth said.

She added that they selected the parts they currently have, which Miles agreed with.

The twins said their roles are somewhat similar to their personalities because Elizabeth is a bit dramatic at times, while Jacqueline looks after her sister and “makes sure she does her homework.”

“Also, I feel that she is more dramatic, and I look at things more comedically,” Jacqueline said of the difference between her and Elizabeth. “I am similar to Jules because I am very focused on my academics and work very hard in school.”

Elizabeth said what she loves about Madison is how confident and outgoing she is.

“I really like her personality because she is never trying to be better than anyone; she just wants to be her best self,” she said.

The pair found out in November that they were starring leads; an official announcement was made in February.

At the end of June, they start filming in Indiana.

The Keisha MacDonald Dare 2 Dream Foundation provided scholarships for the girls’ acting career.

The girls also told their friend and Miss Farmington 2014 winner Emma Feehley about the movie, which she now has a role in as Miss Texas.

Elizabeth also borrowed Feehley’s crown and sash when auditioning.

Jacqueline said show business is a lot of hard work but “incredible fun.”

“We’re doing what we love,” she said. “Instead of playing sports after school, we leave for two months and go on set.”

The girls have also maintained their grades and social life at school by being in the National Honor Society and singing in the school choir.

“(We have) great teachers and great friends,” Elizabeth said. “Everyone is asking how the movie is going.”

They even fit it in their schedule to fly home in time for their ACT exam, a graduation requirement.

Labadie said, naturally, that she is very proud of her daughters and their ability to balance everyday life.

“There is a lot of pressure out there for child actors and parents, and I think it could get hard for kids. … We always say, ‘Let’s just enjoy it,’” Labadie said.

She added that acting opportunities in the Farmington area are unlimited.

Although the twin’s futures are undoubtedly bright, Elizabeth said she is not sure where her path is taking her.

“We love acting; we love musical theater, I’ve been looking to a bunch of things. At one point in my life, I must work at a bridal store. I need to be a consultant,” she said, adding that the reality show “My Fair Wedding with David Tutera” is “our favorite thing ever.” She would also like to dabble in becoming an assistant director in television or film.

Jacqueline said she wants to eventually get into casting services.

“I’m really interested in that aspect of film and TV,” she said. “I think that is such a fun job (and) makes a film come together.”

Going forward, Elizabeth said her mainstay is family and faith, which keeps her grounded.

Everyone can also agree that NFHS, which cranked out the likes of “American Idol” runner-up Jena Asciutto last year, is a place of support.

“We celebrate each other,” Jacqueline said.

“Everyone calls it ‘the Raider way,’” Elizabeth said. “We all support each other. It’s such a great learning environment and safe place to be.”

“Crowning Jules” is scheduled to come out in January.

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