On Sunday, she'll appear in the Lifetime film, "Anna Nicole," playing Anna Nicole Smith's mother. Actress Agnes Bruckner will portray Smith in the new original movie.
Madsen will also hit the big screen in the new comedy "The Hot Flashes," opening July 12, co-starring Brooke Shields, Eric Roberts, Daryl Hannah and Wanda Sykes. The movie follows a group of middle-aged Texas women (and former high school basketball champs) who take on the current women's high school state champions in a series of games -- and hilarity ensues.
Comedic roles are new for Madsen, who received a supporting actress Oscar nomination for her role in the 2004 award-winning film "Sideways." She's not only embracing her comic side, but actively searching for roles in the genre. "I've been specifically looking more for comedy because it's something that I was never able to be a part of as a younger actress," Madsen said during a recent visit to CBSNews.com. "I really wanted to learn about comedy. I don't think I'd do a big broad comedy. But I like doing comedy like 'The Hot Flashes' where I'm not just the straight woman as in 'Sideways.' I've had a lot of good advice. I have a wonderful acting coach. So I've really been working on that specific thing. And luckily there it was in the scripts that I've found."
And although she's dabbling in comedy lately, Madsen, 51, has a few dramas on the docket, too.
"I really love to do small, independent films because it's always the best material. And certainly for actresses there's just better content for us there," she said, hinting that the small screen may be in her future. "I certainly would like to do a television series. I think it would be great to have some sort of consistency. But in the meantime, you see so many movies because an independent movie might be only a couple of weeks long. So you can do a lot of them in a year. Fortunately these last two years I've found some beautiful scripts that I couldn't say 'no' to."
Since 2008, Madsen has also spent time behind the camera, heading up her own production company, Title IX Prods. One of her two latest projects, starring Channing Tatum, is about addiction, recovery and redemption. "We have our third draft of the script and it's just an incredible story. I don't give too much away until we finish our script. It's an extraordinary autobiography by Richie Farrell," she said.
And as of late, Madsen has also been getting the word out about the importance of women's health, including a topic that's rarely talked about: painful intercourse due to menopause. As part of the campaign Finding the Words, Madsen is trying to empower women to break their silence about the medical condition.
For more on Madsen's career, the "Sideways" effect and Finding the Words, check out the video above.