Callie Haverda to Play Leia Forman

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese talks to That ’90s Show star Callie Haverda about the sequel series on Netflix. The actress talks about working with Debra Jo Rupp and learning about the ’90s.

“Hello, Wisconsin! It’s 1995 and Leia Forman, daughter of Eric and Donna, visits her grandparents for the summer where she joins a new generation of children at Point Place under the watchful eye of Kitty and Red’s fierce glare,” reads the official synopsis. “Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll don’t die, they just change clothes.”

Tyler Treese: It’s a fun show because it works on so many levels. It’s a strength for those with nostalgia for That ’70s Show, but it has its own thing. Since the show ended a year before you were born, do you know That ’70s Show?

Callie Haverda: I never have. My brothers are huge fans, so I was a bit clueless about it. I remember my brother was watching it one day and I went into his room and I was like, “Oh, interesting.” But I never sat down and watched it. When I started watching it though, when I got the audition, I absolutely fell in love with it.

Knowing that you’re going to play Leia, who, personality-wise, is this combination of Eric and Donna but in her own person, while you’re watching That ’70s Show, are you trying to get the little ones aspect from Topher [Grace]and Laura [Helene Prepon]performances? How do you handle that?

Yeah, I mean I really want Leia to be her own character. So while watching, I really felt the vibes. I feel that we all pick up habits from our parents and learn things from them. So I knew for sure that he was going to be like his parents. To be honest, I’m a bit of a natural at both of them. A lot of things you can see in the show is how I play Leia without ever thinking like, “Oh, I’m trying to be Topher, I’m trying to be Laura.” So that part really helped. But yeah, I took some mannerisms but I really don’t want him to be a carbon copy of them.

In the show, you dress in ’90s fashion, there’s a lot of ’90s culture, and you use disposable cameras. How about going back in time and experiencing this decade without you?

It’s really amazing. I don’t know anything about the ’90s. Things I saw online and heard from my oldest brother, who grew up in the ’90s. But obviously I didn’t live in the time, so I don’t really know it. We’ve got these amazing big video cameras that you have to put on your shoulder that we want to film behind the scenes-stuff, so it’s really amazing. It’s really fun, to see all the trinkets in the basement that have to do with the ’90s and play with the available cameras, like you said. Yes, it was wonderful – kind of going back in time.

One thing I like about the show is that it’s 10 episodes. It’s quick, but it’s almost like one big giant storyline and we see Leia being herself the whole time. How fun is that, knowing that you have that line for the character and have this story to tell?

It was amazing to be able to show this little girl growing up through these 10 episodes, like you said. I think it’s really important, to be able to show people’s stories that you know people can relate to. I know that while I’m performing it, I relate to it because I, well, kind of grew up with Leia and we’re going through the same things throughout the show. Looking back after watching all 10 episodes, I really like what we did and I hope people can relate to his story and everything he’s been through.

One of the fun elements of this show is the “are they, aren’t they” relationship drama. How much fun did the whole show have? Because in the original series, there were too many different pairings between them. They break up, they meet again. So how fun is it to know that whatever happens in these pairings and relationships can start somewhere and go a different way in the future?

It’s honestly a little scary. I mean, every week before we get the next script, my cast mates and I always talk about, “Ooh, I wonder what drama is going to happen in the next episode. What will happen to the relationships between the characters?” And when we read them we’re totally shocked and I feel like every week we’re together like, “Ooh, what’s going to happen?” We are very happy with it. Being able to do that is really fun too because I think we all have a ton of fun on set and being able to go through different relationships and the different dynamics of all of those. character is really terrible.

What was it like working with Debra Jo Rupp? She plays such a fun character as Kitty and it’s clear that you guys have a lot of fun behind the scenes during the scene transitions where you all dance. Looks like a fun set to be on.

Yes, it used to be. I mean, Kurtwood [Smith] and Debra Jo have both been very, very supportive and I think we’re all very excited for this show and very excited for new and old fans to see it. So on set, that kind of kid excitement is there every day and it’s this big reunion for all of us and they get to relive what they experienced on ’70s which is like this new group of kids … so epic. And like you said, the dancing with the interstitial parts… I wore a beanie to set one day and someone saw it and really liked it, so they made me wear it in one of the scenes at the dance and Debra Jo saw it in me and her. like, “I want a beanie!” So we also put a beanie on him and then we just dance around in our beanies and yeah, it’s always new things that you wouldn’t think of every day from Debra Jo and Kurtwood.

What does it mean to you to get the stamp of approval from all the previous stars? Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Wilmer Valderrama, and then obviously your parents on the show, they all came back and gave the okay and supported it going forward.

Yes, they are and we are super, very thankful for that. I mean, having them there and actually actually working on it and being able to talk to them about what they think about the show is just … it’s an amazing experience. They’ve been very supportive and, like I said, we’re just grateful for it. Bringing them back firmly is like, “Oh, this is exactly what we’re doing.” I think a lot of people in situations like that feel imposter syndrome, like “I shouldn’t be here. This is their thing.” But they’re just really… I think they’re almost very thankful that we’re there and we’re thankful for them. So it’s a nice dynamic to work together and create this beautiful thing, combining the new and the old.

Hopefully, we have a second season because there is so much more to explore for Leia. How exciting the the hope of seeing Leia continue to grow? There are some seeds planted that can be followed in some fun ways.

Yeah, I’m praying for a Season 2 because I think there’s a lot of different things we’re going to see Leia do. All the characters, I think there’s so much we can do with all their storylines and continue to see them grow. I’m excited to see the different relationships, like what Leia will do and what will happen. Yeah, I hope we can continue that because I think there’s a lot of good material out there.

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