At only 25 years old, Britt Robertson has already worked with some of today’s best actors. From Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston and now starring with George Clooney in Disney’s Tomorrowland, I first took notice of her as Kristen, one of the 533 kids of Vince in Disney’s 2013 Delivery Man, but her career started way before then. Acting since the age of 10, she isn’t quite a newbie, but she certainly is one to watch as a huge up and comer to the who’s who in Hollywood.
Tiny, adorable and not tainted by the fame that comes hand in hand with the world of acting, she sat down to talk about her latest role as Casey Newton, the unassuming hero to a future world.
Talks George Clooney, Being a Hero, and the Future
Could you tell us a little bit about your audition process?
Yes. Um, it was very lengthy. I started auditioning for the movie the November before we started shooting, so November of like two thousand thirteen, and then I had like multiple auditions from November to July. I first sent in a (audition)tape from New York in November and then I went in for Brad Bird a few times and for the casting people and then right around May they brought me in to do like a full read with Brad and then at that point they, they flew me to Vancouver to actually do a screen test with Raffey Cassidy who plays Athena. And then from that point, like a week later they told me that I got the part.
That must have been a pretty amazing feeling. Tell us about what it was like for you being told you got the role.
When they told me that I was Casey? It was, I mean, to be honest with you, it was kind of an overwhelming moment. It’s something that I still remember in my mind as being like the most euphoric feeling that I’ve ever had. Because I was happy and I was like elated and I was crying and I was just so excited. It was such a cool movie to be a part of and I loved the story so much and also just the people attached to it. I just knew that it was going to be a changing point for me in terms of career. But also as an opportunity to be part of this movie was like, it’s just a deal.
What was it about the movie that made you want this role so much?
It was something about when you read the script and the story itself is a really sweet, it’s an original idea and it’s something that I had never thought about because the themes of the movie, it really covers future and how we look at our future and how as a society, we can actually influence our future and make it the world that we want to live in and I thought that that was a really powerful message and especially for a young woman to be the lead in a movie like this was, was really cool for me.
So you play the hero in the movie, how did you feel?
(Laughing) Well, you know, it’s a really great thing to be like the hero of a movie like this. A Disney film and to be a young woman and carry a movie like that, I found it really intimidating but luckily Brad Bird is such a wonderful human being. He’s a family man, you know. He understands people on a very real level, so I think he gave me the encouragement to be brave and just take it one day at a time. So that was I wasn’t too overwhelmed by being the hero, you know.
Are there any similarities between you and Casey?
I think her mindset is very different from mine. (But) not so much anymore because I’ve adopted a lot of her her traits and characteristics because I like her (laughing) and I think she’s a cool chick, but before, prior to this movie, I always looked at the future and being this ominous thing, and it was kind of daunting in this day and age to be so young in this world knowing what it could bring, and the circumstances with everything that’s going on, it’s pretty intense (laughing) so then once I read the script and I realized so many things that I hadn’t before. I just totally went off topic. The experience because of Brad and that group. Everyone was supporting me so much, it was just a fantastic experience. I can’t say enough about it. I feel like I’m constantly like, word vomiting great things. (laughing)
(looking surprised) Oh really? Oh great.
But so what was it like for you to work with George?
Working with George….going into it, you have all the expectations of a person like that. A movie star and what that means and for me, if I was George Clooney, I don’t know that I would be able to handle it as well as he has and that was what was so surprising to me, being able to be around him and see how he’s just completely himself. Like, he hasn’t been lost in the process of becoming George Clooney. He’s still the person that he wants to be. And working with him made me realize you can still be who you want to be in this industry. You don’t have to be tainted by the process or the people. He’s so professional and I just learned a lot from him.
The term retro-futuristic has been coined for this film. Did that impact how you prepared for the role?
I didn’t think about that. With a lot of films, there’s genres that sort of pigeon hole an idea or a film and in my experience of working for a short period of time. But (with) most of my life (in this industry), I’ve realized that if you start getting caught up in ideas or genres then it can actually affect a film in a negative way because you’re thinking too much about the end goal, like the result and not enough about the story and the moment.
Do you have a favorite scene that you shot in the film?
I loved all the pin experience scenes. There’s one in particular where I end up out in a lake, well not even a lake. It it was like a swamp really, and in Florida, what, but what was so cool about it is, you know, in Florida in swamps there’s like crocodiles or alligators. That’s’ what it is. Crocodiles. That would be even scarier. But I was like on the hunt for an alligator the entire time I was there and we were actually out in the water and they had spotted some, but then something about just like being in the water and having to also create these little pin experiences, it was just a lot of fun.
That baseball bat scene. How did that feel?
That was so much fun. What was so funny about it is they actually gave me like baseball bat training lessons beforehand. They were like “practice with the bat. Get used to hitting someone”. They gave me like a dummy to practice on and I was like, ‘guys, I don’t need to practice for this. All I gotta do is just attack this man like he’s about to kill me and attack him with as much power as I have’, and I remember after that scene just like really in it and going for it and the whole time George’s reaction is very real because he’s just (shocked), they actually let me hit a stuntman for a lot of it.
So what was the first scene you shot?
The very first scene I shot was me out in the wheat field doing a lot of the pin experiences, and that was a really big day because it’s kind of a very technical process with the pins and they just stuck me out in the wheat and they had a crane come in and we were also trying to be very careful of like not ruining the wheat. It was a very challenging task because my hands had to be in very specific positions. And it was funny. I think they were like testing me. That’s why they put those scenes first, like okay, we want to make sure she can handle these pin experiences because it’s a huge part of the movie.
What was it working with Tim McGraw?
So cool. I mean, I love Tim McGraw like nobody’s business. I’m a huge country fan. In fact, when I first met him, I attacked him. I was like you have no idea how much I love you. I love your music, I love your wife, I think you’re the coolest. He was such a sweet man. He’s a family man. He has three daughters and just hearing his stories about his daughters was really sweet and I got to pretend I was his daughter for a second, so that was nice.
Talk a little about the scene where you down the Coke.
I was so excited for that scene because Coca Cola’s like my favorite thing. I’m still drinking it which is astonishing to myself. I think I went through maybe ten or eleven full Coca Colas. When we’re shooting, I mean, we’re doing so many different angles and I just thought that I’d be able to handle it because I drink a lot of Coca Cola in my life, but then after like ten or eleven, it started to hit and my belly was like full from all the liquid, so it was not, it wasn’t going down anymore. It was coming up, so we had to like take little breaks (laughing) and then they sort of fixed it so that I would only have to do a few more takes after that, but it was a lot of Coca Cola.
Raffey shared with us during her interview that she considered you a role model. Did you learn anything from her?
What? She gives me chills.
So, I’ll tell you the main thing that I learned from Raffey. I remember early on in the process working with Brad because he’s so involved and he has so much direction and as an actor you’re used to taking the direction and kind of making it your own and I remember trying to do that a lot of times and he’d be asking very specific things and I would sort of have a conversation with him about it and then I would watch him give Raffey direction and all she would say is “okay. Okay. Okay”. After every single time and I was like, you know, that’s how you take direction. You just say okay and you do it and you’re professional and you just say okay. I made a pact with myself from that point forward. I was like, I’m going to do what Raffey does and I’m just going to say okay and I’m going to give it my best shot. Whatever he asks me to do, I’m just going to do it, and it actually really worked out for me by the end of it because I just completely trusted Brad and I knew that his vision is the vision that we’re going to bring to life. And her professionalism and her spirit throughout the entire film no matter how long the day was, no matter what they were asking of her, physically, emotionally, she just did it. She did it to the best of her ability and I think that’s a huge lesson for me.
We heard that George did some practical jokes on the set. Were you one of his victims?
Well, yeah. What I loved about his practical jokes on our set is, it wasn’t like full on prank where there’s like a pig in my trailer one day. Um, because that would not go over well. (laughing) I don’t think. I don’t know. I mean, I like pigs, but it would be complicated with my wardrobe and whatnot. I don’t recall like a lot of the practical jokes, but I do remember there was so many times where he would try and convince Raffey to like you know, be a diva, you know, like fake smoking a cigarette or something. Just like teaching her really naughty things. I was like, bring it down a notch. He was always very silly like that.
Talk a little about what it was like working with Hugh Laurie?
Oh, Hugh Laurie is just such a gem. I remember being in the makeup trailer with him because I was often there when he was going through hair and makeup and wardrobe and he would be there and every day it was just like a new fun fact about life, but not even a fun fact. He would give you like stories and theories on life. Like he’s really informed of everything that’s going on, so I sort of looked at him like a book of knowledge, and he’s also really talented. I would love playing music in the trailer and just like hearing him you know, appreciating it so much. And he played the piano at a bar when we were in Vancouver at one point because he plays the piano. He’s very talented, musically, and I remember asking him, ‘can I go? I want to see you perform,’ and the one day that I could’ve have gone because we were shooting, I ended up having to stay for like stunt training or something, but I will get to him one day. I’ve got to go to one of his shows. And I would encourage you all to go to one of his shows if you can. He’s incredible.
*I was invited by Disney to cover the Tomorrowland Event. All opinions are my own.