FIRMLY IN THE SAD­DLE

Although horse rid­ing wasn’t among her ‘spe­cial skills’ Britt Robert­son man­ages to nail her role for new movie The Long­est Ride

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES - NEALA JOHN­SON

Britt Robert­son, days away from turn­ing 25, has news for those of us still living in the last cen­tury: ac­tors don’t do re­sumes any­more.

“Re­sumes ... those don’t even re­ally ex­ist,” she says. “I mean, now peo­ple just look you up on imdb.com and that’s all you re­ally need to know.”

She does at least “re­mem­ber the days of the re­sume” so can drag her mind back to the ‘spe­cial skills’ sec­tion in which ev­ery wannabe ac­tor would list things they could do that might im­press a cast­ing direc­tor.

“I had re­ally weird stuff on there,” re­calls Robert­son, who moved from South Carolina to Los An­ge­les when she was 14 to pur­sue act­ing. (In or­der to not dis­rupt her sib­lings, it was Robert­son’s grand­mother who moved with her to LA.)

“I had a go-kart when I was a kid, so one of my spe­cial skills was ‘go-kart­ing’ – like that’s even a spe­cial skill! I’m pretty sure I should have put ‘driv­ing’, be­cause that’s all it is.

“What else was on there? ‘Rollerblad­ing’. I put ‘mim­ing’ once, ’cos I took a mim­ing class. Just bizarre stuff, try­ing to get a job.”

One that never made Robert­son’s list was horse rid­ing, a non-skill that came in handy for her new film, The Long­est Ride.

In the lat­est ro­man­tic weepie from the pen of Ni­cholas ‘The Note­book’ Sparks, Robert­son plays stu­dious New Jer­sey girl Sophia, who is study­ing down south in North Carolina be­fore tak­ing an in­tern­ship at a New York art gallery. Dragged away from her books for one night, her friends take her to a rodeo, where she hap­pens to lock eyes with the hottest bull-buck­ing cow­boy in the ring, Luke (played by Scott East­wood). A star-crossed, hur­dle-strewn love af­fair is born.

As is the norm when court­ing a cow­boy, Sophia is en­cour­aged to ride a horse. She does so, badly.

“There was no fak­ing it,” laughs Robert­son. “I’m pretty bad at horse­back rid­ing, I’m not gonna lie. It is way more dif­fi­cult than I an­tic­i­pated it be­ing.” Scene nailed. Robert­son, who has also had roles in De­liv­ery Man along­side Vince Vaughn and Dan in Real Life with Steve Carell, also found it easy to, as she says, “fall in love, pro­fes­sion­ally” with East­wood.

“We’re very much bud­dies and we pal around with each other and give each other a hard time. I think that’s where our chem­istry was born out of, our play­ful­ness,” she says.

While East­wood is hon­est enough to ad­mit he doesn’t have the old school man­ners of his char­ac­ter, Luke, South­ern na­tive Robert­son is adamant such po­lite young men do ex­ist.

“You just gotta look in the right places.”

Just as gen­tle­manly was her vet­eran Alan Alda, who en­ters the frame in The Long­est Ride when Sophia and Luke come across a car ac­ci­dent on the way home from their first date.

“Any minute I could spend with him was a plea­sure. He’s such a love in ev­ery mean­ing of the word – he loves peo­ple, he loves shar­ing his ex­pe­ri­ences,” Robert­son says.

On the other hand, the bull rid­ing isn’t some­thing she’d par­take of in her own spare time – even just as a spec­ta­tor.

“It’s a re­ally scary sport and I had no idea just how life threat­en­ing it is un­til I was right there,” she says.

This s is shap­ing as a big year in Robert­son’s act­ing ca­reer. Af­ter The Long­est Ride comes To­mor­row­land – Dis­ney’s mys­te­ri­ous, big­bud­get adventure which she co-leads with Ge­orge Clooney.

She’s a way­ward tomboy who stum­bles upon a se­cret world; Clooney is her ini­tially gruff guide.

Then, pos­si­bly early next year, will come Cook, the tale of a girl who in­her­its a live-in chef. She stars in that with Ed­die Mur­phy. It was di­rected by Aus­tralian Bruce Beres­ford.

“It was an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence for me. It’s based on true friend­ship that the writer had with this man who came into her life,” Robert­son ex­plains.

All this big-time movie stuff comes as some­thing of a re­lief to Robert­son, now she has lost her se­cu­rity blan­ket: her char­ac­ter in TV se­ries Un­der the Dome, Angie, was killed off while she was shoot­ing To­mor­row­land.

“I knew it was com­ing in the sec­ond sea­son ... I def­i­nitely didn’t think it would be per­ma­nent,” she laughs. “But it was, sure enough. I was very happy, though, to see Stephen King wrote the episode that I died in; that was a priv­i­lege.”

Pic­ture: MICHAEL TACK­ETT

Britt Robert­son and Scott East­wood in a scene from film

The Long­est Ride.

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