Although popular teen actress Callie Haverda lives in Los Angeles, California, now, this former Austinite will never forget her Texas upbringing and how she fell in love with acting. She already has a long list of TV/film acting credits to her name but none are more important to her as her most recent role as Leia Forman – the lead character in Netflix’s new comedy series, “That ‘90s Show.” Fans of “That ‘70s Show” may recognize that last name – she’s the daughter of Eric and Donna from the original series. Leia Forman is the most challenging character yet, for Callie, and the reason she and her family relocated.
As with many celebrities, Callie Haverda’s rise to fame began with TV commercials when she was young. From then on, she embraced everything to do with acting. But her wish to be in a full-length feature film wasn’t fulfilled until she reached her teens – when she co-starred in Netflix’s 2020 TV movie, The Lost Husband, starring Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb. Now, at 16, she’s tackling TV in a big way by being the lead character in Netflix’s reboot of a famous TV comedy series known as That ‘70s Show. She explains, “That ‘90s Show is a continuation of its parent show That ‘70s Show. It’s a really wonderful, kind of coming-of-age story about a teen girl, Leia Forman (me), going to visit her grandparents, Red and Kitty, for the summer. Leia meets a whole group of new friends and experiences a lot of new things. I auditioned for the show over a year ago in October. I hadn’t really known anything about That ‘70s show but my siblings were big fans, and they were really excited about the new show as a whole, not just my audition. After sending in my original self-tape, my dad bought me the box set of the original show, and I just fell in love with it. It took many zoom calls, chemistry reads, and self-tapes but eventually I found out I booked it!”
Leia vs. Callie
In some ways, Callie’s character Leia is the same as her and in other ways, she is not. “My character Leia is such a whirlwind. She’s awkward and adorable with all the emotions and phases we go through as teenagers trying to find our place in the world. We are a lot alike. I remember when I first read her character description it was so much like me it felt like I was just reading about myself. We have our differences too, of course, I hope I don’t embarrass myself quite as much as she does. But I like to tell people that we kind of grew together during my time playing her. I was experiencing a lot of the things she experiences on the show, and trying to, I suppose, find myself, so portraying her felt very real and honest.”
“My hope for the show isn’t about how many seasons it gets or how popular it is really. I just hope that this show is able to touch and affect people in the same way That ‘70s Show did. I really hope that people are able to connect to the characters. As for advice, I was able to work with so many legendary actors on ‘90s and really everything they said I was like, ‘Oh I’ve gotta write this down.’ One thing Mila Kunis, who played Jakie Burkhart, and Ashton Kutcher, who played Michael Kelso, on the parent ‘70s show told me: ‘Continue treating the cast like they are your family, be honest with them and really trust them because the show wouldn’t be possible if you weren’t working your hardest together to make it happen.’ What they said has stuck with me throughout the whole process of filming.”
TV vs. Movies
Although Callie loves starring in a TV show, she also has extensive experience with movies. At 13, she co-starred in Netflix’s 2020 movie, The Lost Husband, and has this to say, “It’s really difficult to choose which I like better. Movies and TV are so different and even TV shows are different in and of themselves. Sitcoms, like That ‘90s Show, are very different from the show I worked on in 2017, Shut Eye. This is my first multi-cam show, and I’m really enjoying it. But I also do love the intimacy of a single-cam indie film. I’m at the age where I’m finally able to play serious characters with their own real storylines, so I definitely want to explore that through films because I’m currently experiencing it through a TV show.”
“Because That ‘90s Show films in Los Angeles, I have now moved to California. I miss living in Texas, but California has always been like a second home to me. One thing I really miss about Texas, though, is the food. I’m always craving good queso!”
“It’s hard to say where I see myself in the future. It’s even hard for me to see myself six months from now because since booking That ‘90s Show, I’ve seen just how much my life can change in a matter of months. I am a writer, at heart, and I have a screenplay written, so maybe, in the not too distant future, I’ll be directing or acting in that. I also want to go to college, so maybe I’ll study archaeology, since I love that. I like to take it one day at a time, and I’ll see where life takes me.”
Cover photo Emily Sandifer
Bob Valleau is a freelance writer living in McKinney, Texas.