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Britt Robertson Discusses Nice Guys, Combat Boots and Her Starring Role in the Sundance Film, The First Time

You may recognize Britt Robertson from her role as Lux in the CW’s Life Unexpected or more recently, as the teen witch Cassie in The Secret Circle. Now, the 22-year-old is going indie.

In The First Time, a teen romantic comedy written and directed by Jon Kasdan (In the Land of Woman and Freaks and Geeks) which opens Friday, October 19, Robertson plays Aubrey, a high school junior whose confidence in a casual t-shirt, jeans and Converse at a party pretty much deems her the perfect “guy’s girl” type. When Aubrey meets a shy senior named Dave (Dylan O’Brien from Teen Wolf), at a party, the two hardly learn of each other’s love interests—Britt’s older rocker boyfriend Ronny (James Frecheville) and Dave’s popular crush Jane (Victoria Justice)—before falling for each other.

In just one weekend, Aubrey and Dave experience love, sex (not a spoiler, the title kind of gives it away, after all) and the realization that you never know how life is going to turn out.

Read on to hear more from Robertson, in her own words.

Lucky: Was being a lead in an indie film something you were nervous about?
BR: Yes, because it was a little different than anything I’d done before. I’ve done a few independent films prior to this but this just felt really different. And Jon [Kasdan] had such a specific idea in his mind of what he wanted to do with this film. So that I think provided some pressure on my part. But other than that, it’s exciting. You’re constantly challenging yourself to work past the pressure of it all and to try and do your best.

The First Time pretty much centers in on a whirlwind romance and your character losing her virginity. Was it challenging having to develop such authentic onscreen chemistry?
Yes, he’s a real tough cookie to have chemistry with. No, Dylan is kind of awesome, and we got along really well, so it was pretty easy to have on-screen chemistry because we had a lot of rehearsal time to get to know one another. That was not one of the challenging parts of the film.

A lot of teen movies sugarcoat sex. What message do you think teens will take away from this movie?
Well, I think it’s important when watching the film to really understand the gravity of these kind of decisions, and what it really means to a young person, and the kind of emotional tolll it can take on a young woman and a young man. It’s important to know how big decisions these are and not to be pressured by high school or these false ideas of what you think love should be and what you think sex should be. I think when people watch the film they will have have a good understanding of a real experience and what that does to two people and how it can turn into a good or a bad thing.

In the movie, your boyfriend is a rocker guy, but your character ultimately falls for the more sensitive, inexperienced type. Who would you be more drawn to in real life?
I’m always going for the sensitive type. I love a good boy. Every guy I’ve ever dated has been amazing and so sweet. They’ve never been a Ronny ever, ever, ever! I definitely agree with Aubrey in that Dave was the right choice.

Did you get to hang out with Victoria Justice at all? Any fun on-set moments you can share?
I didn’t have a lot of scenes with her, but we did a couple of rehearsal days, and I actually have a couple friends who are on Nickelodeon. So we had some mutual friends, which was fun because we could laugh about silly boys and boy bands. She was awesome, and it was fun to get to know her a little more.

In the movie your first party outfit is pretty casual: jeans, button-down, messenger bag and Converse sneakers. Is that similar to your style in real life?
Very, very similar, yeah and it’s actually something that I’ve embraced more as I’ve gotten older. When I was younger I used to think it was important to show your best self and get your assets out there for all the boys to see. Now that I’m getting older, I’ll keep it to myself. I like a t-shirt, jeans and a nice jacket to keep warm. So that’s pretty much my style.

What are your favorite items to wear?
I’ve definitely been known to rock a combat boot at a party before, and my favorite thing is that I always like being comfortable. I have awesome jeans that fit me very well, like I love J Brand. Right now I’m actually wearing these Tommy jeans that I got that are pretty amazing. They’re a good fit and thick, so they keep me really warm. I’m cold a lot, so I always like to stay warm. I like Obey shirts. I’m pretty simple.

What about at events and on the red carpet? Any favorite designers?
Oh yeah, when I actually need to look nice. Luckily, I have an amazing team that helps me wherever I go. I did this really cool thing this past year where I was working with Tommy Hilfiger for the Tommy Girl line, which is a younger girl division line, and it was really fun because they incorporated a different look than what I had normally been used to wearing. I got to go kind of all-American classic preppy with an edge, and embracing that style the last couple months has been really fun.

In the film, your character says she's happiest when she's on her own, doing her own thing. Would you say that’s true of your personality in real life? When are you happiest?
I have a few people in my life who I love nothing more than to just be around. I don’t even need to be talking to them or doing anything specific. I just enjoy their company, but that’s very few and far between. That’s like two people, my mom and one other person. But yeah, typically, I enjoy being by myself most of the time. And I love my dogs. My dogs make me the happiest.

What kind of dogs?
I don’t know. I think one of them may be a sheltie mix. They’re rescues, so I don’t really know their breeds.

You grew up in South Carolina with a big family. How has pursuing your career at such a young age affected you?
Starting out in the industry at a younger age, it was definitely a little tough making it back to South Caroline and still being a big part of my family. I have a lot of young brothers and sisters, so it was really important to go home when I could. And so it’s always been important to me to have a good balance of work and play, especially while I‘m young. I want to try to have as much fun as I can while I can. But at the same time, work is what I most enjoy. Those times that I don’t necessarily get to go home and be with my family or my friends, I’m always making family and friends at work. It’s the best of both worlds in a way.

Which of your characters do you identify with most?
Emotionally I probably identify with Lux from Life Unexpected. She’s a 16-year-old girl, and I think it’s the innocence and the naiveté, not knowing how to handle yourself, being able to relate to adults who are actually your parents and just growing up. I think growing up in the industry put me in a weird place where I was constantly trying to figure out how to relate to adults, but also feel respected by them. So I think I related to Lux more closely than anyone else I’ve played.

You’ve played a foster child, a teenage witch, a virgin, to name a few. What type of character would you like to play next?
Teenage witch, I’m going to do that again. No. I don’t know. It’s not necessarily characters that I love that I want to play again. It’s stories that I want to tell and that mean something to me.

Anything specific?
No, not at this point in time. It’s really about that moment when I’m reading a script, and by the end of it, am I excited or not? Do I want to do this? Do I feel some connection? Is there something I can bring to this role that will be interesting? You know that’s what means something to me, not necessarily the title of a character, not like teenage witch or foster child Lux.

Can you tell us more about any future projects you’re working on?
I’m working on as film in New York right now with Vince Vaughn called Delivery Man, which used to be called Starbuck, a remake of the French-Canadian film called Starbuck. And I did a film this past summer called White Rabbit, so that’s what I’m working on.

Can you tell us anything more about the characters you play in them?
Yes, one of them. The character in Delivery Man is young girl who is sort of lost and is trying to find her way. She overdoses one evening when her father, unbeknownst to her, comes over and ends up taking her to the hospital. After she ODs, she, along with 150 other kids, go on a journey of finding out who their real father is, as he’s donated sperm to their mothers. It’s a very interesting role.