Ever since she was cast as a lead opposite George Clooney in the Disney tentpole Tomorrowland, Britt Roberston has been riding a swell of hype—one that will come crashing ashore on May 22, when the sci-fi odyssey hits theaters. At that point, she will likely land atop casting director wish-lists and in front of prying paparazzi lenses as Hollywood’s newest leading lady. But before Robertson explores a futuristic society in Tomorrowland, the 24-year-old actress will appear in a movie that’s pretty much the opposite. White Rabbit, a charcoal-black drama about a troubled high school student (Nick Krause) spiraling towards tragedy, can be seen this Friday in select theaters and on VOD after successfully funding a Kickstarter campaign. Robertson, who also stars in the upcoming Nicholas Spark weepie The Longest Ride, recently spoke to NYLON about her impending fame, missing her Super Bowl commercial, and why she kinda feels bad for Jennifer Lawrence.
Is it weird talking about this tiny film that you did a few years ago when so much has happened in your career since then?
It’s not weird. It’s hard to talk about because I don’t really remember the experience as well as I remember the other experiences. It has been so long. That definitely is the weirder part, for sure.
What made you take on such a pitch-black film?
When the script first came to us I thought it was a really interesting story to tell. I thought it was a really important story to tell. I was grateful to be a part of it, and I thought that Julie would be a really fun character to explore. She goes through so many ups and downs and twists and turns, so I thought that was challenging.
Do you ever think that because of Tomorrowland, you’ll never be in a film this small again? It’s a very specific type of filmmaking that you might have to say goodbye to.
Yeah, that would be so sad if I didn’t get to experience it ever again. But I hadn’t really thought about it, actually. It’s such a good point. With low-budget movies like that it’s such a different experience than studio filmmaking. But since then I’ve done a small indie over the holidays. We shot in 23 days and we were shooting like 16 scenes a day. So it isn’t lost on me and I do appreciate that world, and I think it makes me a better actor in some ways, so I’ll always return to it if I get a chance.
What were some of the bigger adjustments you had to make while shooting something like Tomorrowland? You just mentioned shooting 16 scenes a day, but for something like Tomorrowland it might take you several days just to shoot one scene.
Yeah, there’s more coverage and we have a lot more time to spend per page per day. But then again in certain scenes—I remember we had a couple of car scenes that we shot and we would shoot like eight pages a day for those car scenes. But then we would have one scene that we would spend three weeks on. I think the biggest adjustment would be staying fresh. When you’re used to shooting quickly and going, going, going, everything is fresh. You have so many chances to give it a shot. So I think the biggest adjustment is keeping fresh with the material for as long as we had to work on it.
I noticed that White Rabbit had a Kickstarter campaign to get money for distribution.
No way, is that true? I had no idea.
Yeah, and they raised the money. It was like $45,000. But I wanted to ask you how strange it must be to work on one film that is trying to raise $45,000 to get distribution, and this other film, Tomorrowland, spends that much on catering in a week. What is that disparity like?
I think it just makes you appreciate different aspects of filmmaking. The focus would be on just getting the material when working on a movie like that since you don’t have a lot of time or money. It’s a bit like guerrilla filmmaking. That’s almost what brings out the heart and the emotion in these kinds of films. You pour your life into it, it takes so much more. For a movie like Tomorrowland, it costs so much to make that movie and because of how huge it is, the scope is just more than I can even describe. But little movies like White Rabbit, they don’t need a lot of money. You can do it for a million dollars.
And that’s kind of the beauty of it.
Yeah, I think you just have to embrace what you’re given because every chance is going to be different and every film is going to be different depending on the budget or just depending on the script.
Did you get to watch the Tomorrowland Super Bowl teaser live on TV?
No—I was house-hunting and I got home twenty minutes late so I didn’t see it.
Were you trying to make it or did you just not care?
I mean, I knew that it was going to be airing, but I didn’t know what time so it was just my luck that of course the twenty minutes that it took to get back home it aired. I wanted to see it, but there were just other things happening. On the way back from house-hunting, I think the person in my car got a text message from someone that was like, “Britt on the Super Bowl, woo!”
A lot of publications are pegging you as a breakout star for 2015, someone who’s on the verge of a new level of fame. Is that something that’s on your mind at all?
Yeah, or the loss of your relative anonymity.
I think it’ll be fine. I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about it because I guess I’ve been working for so long—not that I’ve ever had anything like this happen to me, but I feel like I’ve done things and it’s never really been that big of a deal. I just work, I come home, it’s fine. So I’m hoping that it all stays the same. I’m sure it will.
I’m thinking of someone like Jennifer Lawrence, who a few years ago was starring in a tiny film like Winter’s Bone and now has to hide from paparazzi constantly, all because of the size of movies she started to do.
Which is a nightmare. Poor girl. She didn’t sign up for anything like this, just working as an actor and now she’s hiding from the world. It’s really unfortunate—super sad. I don’t think there’s anything you can do to avoid that.
As Tomorrowland gets closer to the release date, how do you feel about it? Is it nerve-wracking? Is it exciting? Are you worried that people are not going to like it?
Yeah, I mean that’s the scariest thing, just not having seen it and having worked on it so long. I just loved it so much and I hope that it’s good and people like it, and I hope that they go see it. But if they don’t, that’s okay too. Ideally, I like it. As long as I like it, then I can sleep at night.
White Rabbit is a rather dark film with a powerful message. What drew you to the script and to your character, Julie?
-When I first read the script, I thought it was such an interesting story. I was interested in exploring the character of Julie, especially in her arc. She starts off as this outrageous, outspoken girl who is going down the wrong path, then she makes the turn and decides that she wants something better for her life.
The film is set in the south, and you yourself are from the Carolinas. Did you bring any of your experiences growing up in the south to Julie?
-Not necessarily with this project. The Southern lifestyle is really specific and elevated the story because the kind of people that live in this town and what that mindset does to people really drives my character to make a big change. But I don’t know that the Southern setting necessarily had anything to do with the choices that I made based around that.
Julie undergoes quite a transformation in the film, particularly in the way that she looks. Did you work with the designers and makeup artists on the film to transform Julie’s look, and if so, how did you come up with this particular transformation?
-I had some input on her transformation. I was given a very short window to do so. I was there for a week. It was a very limited time. I did know in the back of my head that I wanted it to be drastic and very obvious to the audience that she made this change. The biggest thing was she needed to be very simple by the end and she comes out a better person. She switched to solid, bright, really happy, cheerful, and simple clothing choices and hairstyle.
White Rabbit clearly addresses the problems of bullying and violence in our schools. What advice would you give to those who are currently being bullied?
-It’s a really serious issue. I have a lot of younger brothers and sisters. It is a huge issue, and it can really shape the way these kids learn and develop respect for each other. I think the main thing if you are being bullied is to talk about it. Talk to your parents, talk to teachers and your friends. Try to reach out to people because the more people you have surrounding you and protecting you, the better off you are. Just get people on your team.
You recently wrapped up Tomorrowland, which is based on the land at Disneyland. How much of the actual land makes its way into the film, and do you have a favorite attraction in the real Tomorrowland?
-It is loosely based on the idea of Tomororwland in the theme park. There is not a huge connection. I think when Brad [Bird] and Damon [Lindelof] came to Disney and pitched the idea around something in the theme parks, that’s what kickstarted the idea. We actually did shoot in both Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida. I love Space Mountain. It’s fantastic.
You also had the chance to work with Brad Bird and George Clooney in the film. As a director, what was he like to work with, and what was it like to work with George Clooney?
-It sort of felt like the first acting experience ever. With Brad, he’s so specific and knows exactly what he wants. He has this movie he’s already planned in his head. Working with him was very technical. I had to learn a new way of taking direction and approaching ideas. It was really a new version of learning how to act and have this relationship with the director. It was a little intimidating working with George, I’m not going to lie, to be the new girl on set. But he was so warm, kind, and normal, eventually I felt comfortable and was able to work with the best of them. He was so generous and helped me along the way with any bumps or any issues I may have had. It was a wonderful experience, and I came out of it learning so much about filmmaking. I’m really grateful for it.
Source: Young Hollywood
Britt Robertson made a name for herself in Hollywood with the small screen shows The Secret Circle and Life Unexpected. But with the upcoming flick White Rabbit and a role in the critically-acclaimed film Cake, 2015 will bring a new level of success for the actress!
OKMagazine.com exclusively chatted with Robertson about everything from White Rabbit to working alongside Jennifer Aniston and more!
OKMagazine.com: Tell us about White Rabbit, which hits theaters, VOD and iTunes on Feb. 13.
Britt Robertson: I play a bit of a troubled girl from a small town with not a lot of friends. She’s kind of gone down the wrong path and she kind of hits rock bottom. As soon as she does, she makes a different choice in life to turn to God and reconsider life as a better person. She meets a friend along the way and when she becomes reformed he gets a little upset. He already has some mental issues and it sets him off a bit.
OKMagazine.com: You had a role in Cake, which has been nominated for a bunch of awards this season. How was it working with Jennifer Aniston and being part of a film that has been receiving critical praise?
BR: It was awesome. She’s such a sweetheart and she really is very kind and generous, she was always really sweet to me. I know she’s phenomenal in the film. I think her performance in it should be praised. It deserves a lot of consideration and I’m happy for all of the success that the movie has brought her. I was happy to be a part of it even if it was just a little scene.
OKMagazine.com: With the Oscars right around the corner, what are your predictions for Best Movie, Best Actor and Best Actress?
BR: I think best film is going to be Boyhood just because of what it was. It’s a film that hasn’t existed in our world ever and it was so well done. The director’s incredible and the experience of watching these kids grow up, it makes sense to recognize such a beautiful idea and inspiration. Best Actor will probably be Eddie Redmayne. Best Actress Julianne Moore more obviously.
Breaking Glass Pictures will be releasing White Rabbit in select theaters and on VOD in February 13, 2015. Directed by Tim McCann, White Rabbit is a psychological thriller starring Sam Trammell (“True Blood,” The Fault in our Stars), Britt Robertson (“Under the Dome,” Tomorrowland), Nick Krause (The Descendants, Boyhood) and Ryan Lee (Super 8, Goosebumps). Following in the tradition of Gus Van Sant’s acclaimed Elephant, this intense drama follows a bullied HIGH SCHOOL student’s descent into madness.
White Rabbit will be playing in the following cities: Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, San Diego, Detroit, and Miami. (More to be announced).
Nick Krause, who starred opposite George Clooney and Shailene Woodley in The Descendants, plays a troubled teen that has been tormented by visions since his alcoholic father (Trammell) forced him to kill an innocent rabbit while hunting as a boy. Now that Harlon (Krause) is a bullied HIGH SCHOOL student, his undiagnosed mental illness is getting worse. He begins to hear voices and his imagination encourages him to carry out violent acts. Things begin to look up when Julie (Robertson), a rebellious young girl, moves to town and befriends Harlon. But when she betrays him, the rabbit along with other imaginary comic book characters taunt him into committing one final act of revenge.
White Rabbit made its world premiere at Zurich Film Festival and saw its North American premiere at the 2014 Catalina Film Festival where it won Best Feature Film. The film also won Best Cinematography at Chelsea Film Festival and Best Actor (Krause), Best Supporting Actor (Trammell), and Best Supporting Actress (Robertson) at the Boston Film Festival.