Denver’s AnnaSophia Robb may be only 13, but the fine young actress already has seven movies under her belt and an eighth under way. Robb has kept some pretty strong company: Johnny Depp, Charlize Theron, Hilary Swank and Samuel L. Jackson. Friday, Robb will be seen in Bridge to Terabithia, an adaptation of a popular novel by Katherine Paterson. Rocky Mountain News film critic Robert Denerstein recently caught up with Robb.
1 When’s the last time you were in Denver?
About a week ago. I was home for about a week and a half. I was going to school and taking a bit of a break. I’ve been working pretty much nonstop.
2 You’ve worked with two Oscar winners, Charlize Theron in the upcoming Ferris Wheel and Hilary Swank in The Reaping (a supernatural thriller). What were those experiences like?
Hilary was amazing. I really enjoyed working with her. It was such a great opportunity so early in my career, working with such an accomplished actress. I learned a lot about focusing and how to work off other actors. Charlize also was amazing. She was like an acting coach; she was there for me every day. The hardest acting experience was probably Ferris Wheel. (The movie is about an 11-year-old girl abandoned by her mother.) That was also the most satisfying role I’ve done. It was really difficult, but I learned something every day and grew as an actress.
3 How do you keep up with school and friends when you’re working?
I have a tutor who travels with me. It’s hard. I’m looking forward to high school. (Robb has one more year before high school). I’m a little nervous about it. I have to go to a high school that will accommodate my situation. When you’re in school, you do group activities, but I learn a lot just from hanging around with everyone on set. People on movies usually know interesting things, and a lot of them are really smart. As for friends, I e-mail, I text-message and talk on the phone. I miss them a lot. I have been able to have friends and family come out to visit me sometimes. It’s a little weird to see them on set, because they enter a different lifestyle.
4 Bridge to Terabithia is a family film and a kids film, yet it deals with some heavy issues. How did you feel about that?
Kids should be exposed to that kind of stuff. It’s real life, the real world. It’s what happens. It doesn’t mean they have to grow up. I also think boys will get into Bridge because of the action and special effects. (Robb plays a spunky girl who creates a fantasy kingdom she occupies with her best friend, a boy played by Josh Hutcherson). Girls will like it because of the imaginary kingdom, and I think people in general will like it because of the points it hits on – like friendship and family and school bullies. It’s one of the only movies where a girl is a bully. I think it’s good because a lot of girls are bullies. The movie also shows the bully’s softer side. No one’s really all bad. Bullies try to push others down to make themselves feel taller. Even if you’re going through a hard time, it doesn’t mean you should treat people in a bad way. But the movie teaches us not to judge too soon.
5 You’re 13, a teenager. Given your schedule, are you able to have any fun, are you dating and do you plan to continue with acting?
I’m totally able to do stuff that’s fun. I still get to hang out with my friends. I just don’t get to stay home as much. I have a job. I call it “a big hobby.” I kind of am dating. I’m not uncomfortable to be around guys. But, no, I don’t have a boyfriend. Not right now. I only want to do movies if they’re worthwhile, if they can teach lessons and help people. I want to go to college. I want to see what other options are out there. If it’s not acting, I want to do a lot of nonprofit work, to help people who are less fortunate than I am. I also want to learn a lot of languages. I don’t really know any yet. . . . It’s important for people to learn languages and not be so homogenized. It’s good for kids to experience the world. After all, they’re the next generation.