Next Big Thing: 'The Longest Ride,' 'Tomorrowland' Star Britt Robertson

Clooney's 'Tomorrowland' co-star graduates from TV to blockbusters and takes on a Nicholas Sparks romance.

This story first appeared in the March 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Britt Robertson isn't a totally fresh face in Hollywood, having played meaty roles on The CW's Life Unexpected and The Secret Circle and CBS' Under the Dome. But none of those shows starred George Clooney, nor did they cost $180 million to make, as Disney's feature film Tomorrowland did. Before that Brad Bird-directed adventure hits theaters May 22, the actress — the eldest of seven brothers and sisters who came to Los Angeles from South Carolina at age 14 — will be seen opposite Scott Eastwood in the Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Longest Ride on April 10.

How did you land the lead in Tomorrowland? That casting was very competitive.

I auditioned over the course of eight months. I was shooting a film in New York and I put myself on tape. Then I flew back to L.A. a few times, and then finally they asked me to do a final test with [co-star] Raffey Cassidy and Brad [Bird]. I found out about a week later that I got it.

The movie has been shrouded in secrecy. What was that like for you shooting it?

I didn't get to read the whole script until the very end of the audition process. And then once I got the part, they didn't release the script to me until I got to Vancouver. It's a really cool, innovative movie, and I think they just wanted to keep it all on lockdown.

Were you a fan of Nicholas Sparks books or movies growing up in the South?

They're a huge deal there. A Walk to Remember was a huge movie for me. I thought Mandy Moore was the coolest thing that ever happened. And Shane West — man, did I have a crush on him.

What was your favorite movie when you were growing up?I think the one that stands out in my mind would be Pretty Woman, which is kind of a messed up movie to love as a child but it was the first movie my mom ever took me to — I was really young. I didn’t really understand any of the ideas or concepts in the film but I loved Julia Roberts and Richard Gere and I just loved that whole story. It’s so nostalgic now when I rewatch it at this point in my life.

Do you have a hidden talent?

Rapping. I just obsess over learning these raps. Right now, there's this awesome song by Nicki Minaj and Skylar Grey called "Bed of Lies."

If you weren’t acting what would you be doing?

Housekeeping. I was going to start a housekeeping business at one point because I’m really good at cleaning houses.

Vital Stats
Born Charleston, S.C.
Big break CBS' Swingtown (2008)
Reps Innovative Artists

Styling by Elizabeth Stewart, Photographed by Eric Ogden