Role: Trixie Stone
Screen Time: 75%
Age: 17 years old
Role: Cara Burns
Screen Time: 35%
Age: 16 years old
Role: Ashley Grunwald
Screen Time: 15%
Age: 15 years old
Screen Time: 80%
Age: 12 years old
Brittany Robertson's Biography"I'm just kind of normal," Robertson says by phone from her house in Los Angeles. "There's not many things I really get to do besides work that I really enjoy. I love going to movies and hanging out with my friends and my acting class, but that's really about it. Actually, I really do love sports, but it's kind of a hazard when you're an actor." Robertson likes surfing and football. And even sufficiently immersed in her career and La-La Land, she keeps up with her teams back home. "My dad is a Carolina fan and my step-dad is a Clemson fan, so I kind of have to go for both," she says, laughing. "I really couldn't tell you who was my No. 1."
Robertson began her foray into acting in plays at theaters around the Upstate, including Greenville Little Theatre. She concedes that she's always sort of had the entertainer bug, though. As the oldest of six brothers and sisters, she says the skill may have come more from wanting to be the center of attention than wanting to be a professional actor. But Robertson found a niche for herself, and she liked the outlet the stage provided for "creative expression."
At the age of 12, Robertson began the steps that would eventually take her to Los Angeles permanently. She would spend three months at a time there, auditioning for various roles, and then fly back to Greenville. She began flying there regularly for pilot season and eventually landed some parts, although none of the pilots was picked up by a network. In 2004, at the age of 13, Robertson was cast as Michelle Seaver in the "Wonderful World of Disney: Growing Pains: The Return of the Seavers." Her mother Beverly recalls thinking at the time that "she could be this major star and not come back home to live."
A year later, Robertson moved to L.A. permanently with her grandmother, Shuler Robertson. She now flies back to Greenville about three times a year for two to three week stretches. "It was really hard to let her go," admits Beverly, but doing it in stages helped. "I think Brittany's always just been imaginative," Beverly says. "That's what she wanted to do and she enjoys it. "With acting, I don't think it's anything that's really inherited so much. I think it's all within the individual child, whether they can do it and withstand the pressure." Robertson landed the role in "Dan in Real Life," directed by Peter Hedges ("Pieces of April"), last year and it put her on the screen with some veteran actors.
In the film, Robertson plays Carrell's 15-year-old, very "teenage" daughter who causes her widower father no shortage of distress. In the film, Cara is in the throes of a new love, self-discovery and finding the balance between leaving childhood and entering adulthood. This conflict of emotions manifests itself in the form of a lot of teen angst. Robertson prefers the word "passionate." "We have similarities," she says of Cara and herself. "Like I don't necessarily agree with my parents on everything, so I kind of understood where she was coming from. But she's much more passionate than I am, so it was kind of fun to tackle a person like that." Plus, Robertson says, working with veteran actors wasn't too bad either. She says she particularly enjoyed watching Dianne Wiest and John Mahoney, who play her grandparents in the film, and from whom she says she learned a great deal.
"They've been doing this for a while," she says. "While we were working together I would always observe and learn as much as I could because I think that's one of the great things about being an actor is that you're always learning something new. ... So you just learn and grow from what other people have experienced through their careers." L.A. is a much smaller place for Robertson now, and she no longer "expects to see famous people walking around all the time."
The traffic doesn't bother her as much and when she speaks, her voice is infused with maturity. Each word seems carefully woven into her explanations of living in L.A., auditioning for parts and working with famous people. "Even Steve Carrell, who played my father in the film, he's just so great to work with and interact with because he just really captures you," Robertson says thoughtfully. "And it really makes the scene come to life." But she adds that Carrell, familiar to fans of "The Office," wasn't quite what she expected off-screen. "You would think that he would be a little more crazy and out there than he actually is," she says. "He's just this kind of down-to-earth, low key, family guy. And it's really refreshing because he's so great as the over-the-top comedian-type guy. He's so funny, but it's a different kind of funny than the way he is in most of his comedies."
Robertson's opportunities in Hollywood are growing. She is set to begin filming a new television show for CBS, "Swingtown," and next year she can be seen in the family film, "Frank." A recent story in OK! Magazine describes Robertson as "at the top of her game" right now. But the actress and recent high school grad is quick to refute. "I think I'm on top of my game in a sense that I have a great professional team, I have a great manager, I have a great agent and I've been really fortunate to work on some great projects recently,"
"A lot of great actors don't even get as far as doing a commercial, because it's about the right time and the right place and it doesn't necessarily happen for everyone, even if you're the best actor in the world. "I think I'm just really fortunate to have been able to do what I've done, but I have such high aspirations for what's to come."