Sometimes, when you’re conducting your third interview for the same movie – in this case, Tomorrowland — you just run out of things to ask about that particular movie, and director Brad Bird and co-writer Damon Lindelof were quite thorough about their explanations. So, by the time I spoke to Tomorrowland’s star, Britt Robertson, I have to admit, I already had all the answers I was looking for. So, I decided to play the honesty card about this situation, which resulted in Robertson telling me to ask her anything. I did, and I knew this was getting way off track by the time we were talking about her appearance as Mike Seaver’s daughter in a Growing Pains reunion.
In Tomorrowland, Robertson plays Casey, a young woman who is thrust into a quest (along with George Clooney’s Frank Walker and a robot played by Raffey Cassidy) to find this magical, hidden city of Tomorrowland in an effort to save the world.
Ahead, Robertson — who admits that, like a normal person, interviews aren’t her favorite thing — explains why she’s still quite proud that she once played a Pink Power Ranger.
I was supposed to speak to you before Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof, but since this got pushed back, they answered all my questions.
Oh, great! So you have nothing for me, is what you’re telling me.
We can talk about anything.
Well, hey, the door is open. Come in; ask me anything.
How many times have you been asked about George Clooney pranks? That seems like a popular question.
Hugely popular, yes. And what’s so sad is that I have no story for anyone about George Clooney.
So you’re the only person he’s never pranked.
I know. I almost wish that he did so I could tell people something. But I’m also happy to be the one that he didn’t. I have a feeling he didn’t want to prank the two young girls on set.
I’d be worried that meant he didn’t like me.
Oh, yeah. No, I think he just knows that I’m not a fun person to prank.
Do you know how many headlines you’ve ruined? “Oh, I can’t wait to learn about the prank, what a headline that will be.” Then they ask you and there’s no prank.
Yeah, I know. It’s like, “Sorry, sad story…” I’m looking forward to the press tour, I’m hoping he’ll get me at some point.
This isn’t the press tour?
This is the press tour, but we haven’t started the world tour.
There’s a lot of secrecy around Tomorrowland. Could you even tell your friends what it was about?
I couldn’t give the story away and I couldn’t really tell people who I played. My mom came to see me on set and she was able to get some of the scoop, but she had to sign an NDA. They were able to see stuff and kind of had a clue about it, but they had to sign an NDA.
This has to be your most effects-heavy film, right? It has more than, I don’t know, Dan in Real Life, I assume.
For sure. It’s a completely different experience in terms of effects. But, luckily we had a lot of time and we took it scene by scene. Everyone was very patient with me.
Why did they have to be patient with you? Meaning I’m sure you were just as good as anyone else in that situation?
I mean, maybe? [Laughs] It’s hard for me to say. It was very tricky… there would be many times it wasn’t just me being confused, it would be the group of us. They were creating things that had never been done before on the set, so it was new for everyone.
I’m still surprised I made a Dan in Real Life reference.
I am, too.
You were good in that.
That seems like a lovely cast.
Oh, everyone was super lovely. I was just too young to handle it. I really do think all of my experiences up until this point has really prepared me for this experience. Because when I was in Dan in Real Life, I couldn’t even talk. I couldn’t have conversations with Steve Carell, I was shaking and nervous all the time.
Do you ever run into him?
He was supposed to be in New York for Comic Con, or one of those things, but I really wanted to see him or run into him.
You can have a conversation now.
Exactly. I can be a real person now.
You played Mike Seaver’s daughter in a Growing Pains reunion movie.
I probably wouldn’t even know that was me if I saw that today. Now that’s an old reference, that one you should be proud of.
But, come on, that’s fun. You were a Seaver.
When you run into Leonardo DiCaprio, you’ll have something to talk about.
Me and Leo, yes. We’ll be reminiscing about the Growing Pains days.
All the cast knew each other and you’re a kid and you’re the new person, was that frightening?
No! The difference between being 14 and shooting the Seaver movie and being 16 and doing Dan in Real Life is that, at 14, I was more or less looking forward to doing all the fun things that New Orleans had to offer. I went on one of those boat tours through the swamp and you see the gators, so that was really cool. So, I really loved that experience. By the time I got to Dan in Real Life, I was massively insecure and scared and was thinking, “Why am I here? What would they want with me?”
Do you still ever feel like that, like with Tomorrowland? You’ve been in so much now.
Yeah, I’m just a workhorse [laughs]. No, I was still intimidated, but I was more capable of handling it.
Well, it says George Clooney’s name above the title, but you have the biggest part.
I try not to think about those things. Once the movie is made, my work is kind of done. All of this stuff is just a favor.
That’s an interesting word to use.
A favor? Because I don’t get paid for it, and I know it does good things for the movie, so I’m doing them a favor [laughing] because I’m an actor, and it’s the only part of the process that I am good at or that I care about. And I want the movie to be good, and I want people to go see it, so it’s really a favor to myself.
I think you’re good at this part of it.
Well, I’m getting better.
If I were you, I would dread this part of it. But you’re good at it.
Thanks. The enjoyable part of it is having conversations that are real, and that’s something to look forward to. Some of them are a little duddy and sometimes it can be hard to answer ridiculous questions over and over again.
Look, not everyone is going to ask about Growing Pains.
I mean, come one, you are killing it right now with the references.
I have another. Your first acting role was on an episode of Power Rangers.
That’s right! I was the Pink Power Ranger, to be exact.
That had to be exciting.
It was like the coolest thing that ever happened to me. I mean, Power Rangers were like my jam, that was right in my wheelhouse of television shows. And to play the Pink Power Ranger who gets saved by the Green Power Ranger? A dream come true. Tomorrowland Schomorrowmand.
So, it’s already your favorite show, then you learn you’re going to be on it.
It was mind blowing. It was pretty cool. And I got to ride a scooter! Like, there were just so many good things that came out of that opportunity. But now, looking back, people are like, “What’s the first thing that you did?” And I’m like, “Ehhh, Power Rangers?”
You should say that with pride.
Yeah, I know. I know. But people don’t get it as much as I get it. I get it, and it’s cool.
Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.