Thanks to the hit show, Lab Rats, Kelli Berglund is a household name among the kid-friendly crowd. On the Disney XD series, the cute-as-a-button actress stars as “Bree,” a teenage girl boasting super speed, super dexterity and the ability to mimic any sound.
So, basically, she’s living the dream.
“Everyone wants to be a superhero when they’re 5 years old, so growing up to actually play a superhero is kind of awesome,” Berglund admitted during a recent chat with us. “I love playing a superhero that’s so relatable and still a normal teenage girl, so I kind of have both ends of the spectrum.”
Plus, Berglund counts herself pretty lucky to be a part of a show that enables her to further her acting skills every day. “I’ve been able to experience what it’s like to work with a lot of special effects and pretending that things are there when they’re really not, so it’s actually helped me a lot in terms of using my imagination and really using my acting skills,” she shared.
And, who knows, maybe in the near future, honing those skills will lead to a choice role in one of the Marvel or DC Comics movies popping up left and right these days. I mean, she’s obviously laying the groundwork for super-heroine stardom by playing Bree.
Berglund likes to think so, too. She spills that she’s a big fan of Scarlett Johansson’s character in The Avengers — Black Widow — in part because of how many similarities her character has in common with Johansson’s.
“She’s the only girl, just like Bree’s the only girl, so I definitely use her as a source of inspiration,” revealed Berglund. “Maybe if they want to make a Black Widow movie in a couple of years and they need someone new to play her, I guess I will volunteer!”
But Berglund doesn’t have to wait around for a movie role — tonight marks the premiere of the Disney Channel Original Movie, How to Build a Better Boy, starring none other than Berglund and fellow Disney darling, China Anne McClain (of A.N.T. Farm fame).
In the movie, Berglund plays the part of Mae Hartley, a tech-savvy, but socially awkward, student who — along with her best friend, natch — decides to hijack a computer program from her dad to create the perfect boy.
The switch from episodic television to filming a movie took some adapting to, though.
Unlike the multi-camera format she was used to with Lab Rats, Berglund had to get used to shooting with only two cameras. “We could be filming one scene the entire day. So the process was definitely grueling, and it took a lot more hard work and endurance… and staying awake throughout the day,” she laughed.
Still, there were also ways in which filming the movie kind of afforded Berglund an experience not too far from, well, being in high school — starting with her surroundings.
“Being able to actually be out on a football field or actually in a classroom, it helped just getting in touch with the character and in touch with what was happening in that scene,” she elaborated, pointing out that this was her first time shooting on location.
And, naturally, you can’t have the high school experience without BFFs. That’s where Berglund’s co-stars came into play, particularly McClain.
“Oh, I love her,” she gushed. “Me and China and also some of the other girls too, like Ashley Argota, we all, like, became best friends instantly, I swear. There were no issues on set, especially between China and I. She is the sweetest girl, and her family is the sweetest.”
The two had so much fun on the set, they often took their girly shenanigans off the set. Berglund vows she’d work with McClain again in a heartbeat, which is good — they’ll probably need to do it a lot more once people hear the song, “Something Real,” which they recorded together for the movie.
The song marked Berglund’s first time in a recording studio, a fact made all the more intimidating by McClain’s experience in that arena, she says.
“It was nerve-racking! You have China over here who’s a seasoned performer and singer and who’s just so talented and has worked in a recording studio so many times,” she confessed, “and then I’m stepping in, like, this is all very new to me and I’m very nervous.”
Once her nerves eased up, however, Berglund was able to really get into the process and, ultimately, turn out a super-cute song.
Of course, “super cute” is kind of a motif in the movie, considering the girls go through all the trouble of creating a guy with extraordinary good looks. Since that kind of fantasy-bending technology isn’t available outside of this movie and the 1985 cult classic, Weird Science, though, we’re curious if Berglund thinks any celebrity guy already in existence comes close to fitting the bill of the “better boy.”
“Oh gosh… well, if I’m gonna pick someone, I most likely don’t know them on a personal level, but let’s just say they have the best personality in the world,” she laughed. “Then I guess I would say either Liam Hemsworth or Zac Efron. They are both so cute. If you could, like, combine the two, then there’s the perfect guy right there.”