Times change, but teens don’t.
Austin-raised actress Callie Haverda, the star of Netflix’s “That ‘90s Show,” learned this first hand while filming with original cast members from “That ‘70s Show.” (Yes, we’re talking about Topher Grace, Debra Jo Rupp, Kurtwood Smith… need we go on?)
Ahead of the show’s premiere this Thursday, Jan. 19, we spoke with 15-year-old Callie about her journey from Austin to California, how she found a home on set, and what fans can expect from the new series.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Where did you go to school in Austin?
I was homeschooled for pretty much all of middle school. I went back in eighth grade for public school, but it was all online because of COVID. Freshman year, I went to Westwood High School. I was there for the first semester, and then that’s when I booked “90s” and moved [to California].
What are some of your favorite places in the city? What do you miss the most?
There’s a lot I miss. Mainly the food … I really miss the food. They definitely don’t have queso like they do in Texas here.
One thing is the [Congress Avenue] bridge where the bats fly out. We did that one time, and that was pretty amazing. I also think just downtown in general, too, all the cool little spots that you can find. Big Top Candy Shop — I’m a huge candy lover, and I love that store so much.
How did you get into acting?
My siblings were actors before me for a little while — they don’t do it anymore. That’s kind of how I got into it, because their agent sent me out for an audition and I ended up booking it.
That was my first thing. Actually, because I was so young, my parents didn’t really want me to jump into it, because my siblings are both older than me. So they were kind of wary about it.
Would you say “That ‘90s Show” is the biggest role you’ve booked so far?
I would say so, yes. I’ve done a few films here and there, and I worked on a TV show, but this is definitely the biggest thing that I’ve done.
What was the casting process like, how did you first hear about the job?
I got the audition from my manager and agent at Paradigm Agency. … I had never seen “That ‘70s Show” myself, but all of my siblings had seen it and they were pretty big fans of it. So they were like, “Oh, yeah, you’re totally like Eric and Donna’s daughter, you’d be perfect for this.” And then when I read the role myself, I was like, “It feels like I’m just reading about myself.”
So I ended up watching a few clips on YouTube of “That ‘70s Show,” anything that I could find and watch. And then I sent in a self tape for it. It took a while to hear back, but then there were a lot of producer, director sessions, like a chemistry read with two actors and just a lot of online stuff. And then I booked it.
How did you feel after knowing you booked it?
Oh my gosh, it was a crazy experience. I was actually on the bus while my agent was trying to call me, coming back from school. I finally answered the phone while walking back to my house, and it was the first time I had ever gotten a call myself … I was walking alone, and I was like, “Where are my parents? I want them to hear this.”
My mom was driving home from work, and she pulled into the driveway right as I got home, and my dad opened the door, and I was bawling my eyes out. We all just kind of fell down on the ground in our front yard, and sat there for like, an hour.
So, we moved out here — we drove, actually, from Texas to California in January [of 2022] — and then we started actually working on the filming process and rehearsals and stuff in February. And then we were filming until July.
Can you tell me a little about your character?
Leia, she’s a lot of different things. She’s craving adventure at a time when she meets this new group of friends. She just falls in love with them and the life that they’re having, and she kind of realizes how much she’s been missing out on.
So, it’s kind of a pivotal moment for her, where she just realizes, “I need to take control of my life, and I need to start doing the things that I want to do.”
And I totally felt the same way, because, growing up in Texas, I had so many friends and family. But I was kind of [balancing], like, this is my life here that I need to focus on, but also acting is everything that I’ve always wanted to do. So, I was craving to come to California and really focus on my career. And this show brought up a really great opportunity for that.
So, I can totally resonate with her and how she felt when she met her people. And that’s what I felt like with my castmates. We’ve talked about how we all were in the exact same boat, and when I met them it was just like, “These are my people.”
Leia and I are just so alike … we’re both snarky and honest and, you know, kind of awkward at times, but she’s really lovable, and I hope I am too.
What was it like, filming with people like Deborah Jo Rupp and Topher Grace?
It was definitely intimidating. But they were all so warm and welcoming, and immediately made me feel like I really belonged there. Like I wasn’t just an imposter coming in and pretending to be like, “Oh, I’m this big actor.” It was just very, very welcoming and I got a very warm reaction from all of them. It really felt like we became a family over the course of filming.
Do you have any favorite memories from filming the show?
I have so many. I mean, the whole whole time filming was just a really great experience. My castmates, we would always go and eat lunch together … and that was just a really nice bonding experience. We’d play games like two truths and a lie, and stuff like that to get to know each other.
As for filming, I think really any scene that I had with any of the legacy cast [was a favorite]. It was a very surreal, insane experience being able to film with them. … Sometimes when I didn’t have school to do, I would just go and sit in the bleachers and watch Deborah Jo and Kurtwood work, and those were some of the best times, just being able to watch them.
What can fans of “That ‘70s Show” expect from “That ‘90s Show?”
We have all the same creators and writers. So, the very feeling of the show, I think, is very similar to “‘70s.” It’s kind of edgy, but you can really connect with all the characters.
And the story as a whole, you’ve got the family and all the friends, and the basement’s there. It’s very similar vibes, but I think we put our own little spin on it.
Our tagline is “Times change, but teens don’t.” and I think that’s very true. Even though it’s a whole new wave of kids, we’re all doing the same stuff and I think [people will] really enjoy it.
Do you have any plans for the premiere?
Yes, we were actually recently talking, all of my castmates and I, about going to eat dinner the night before to see each other. It’ll be the first time we see each other in like, six months, because some of us don’t live in California. I need to figure out my outfit. I’m so excited for that.
It’s my first premiere with an actual red carpet, and being able to see it with the whole cast … it’ll be a very new experience, but I’m super excited.