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Zimbio's Rising Stars: Talitha Bateman Hopes 'Love, Simon' Teaches Bullied Kids They're Stronger Than They Think

We're highlighting remarkable young actresses who are set to become the leading ladies of tomorrow.

Christopher Patey/Rafael Hidalgo for Zimbio

The world is changing, and the team here at Zimbio is all about it. Now, more than ever, the concerns of women are being heard, respected, and valued through movements like Time's Up and Me Too. And, now more than ever, it's up to us to embrace and empower each other if we want these movements to stay soaring. That's why the month of March — Women's History Month — feels extra important this year. To celebrate, we're calling out awesome young actresses you'll be seeing much more of in the future, the rising stars who excite and inspire us. Whether we were touched by their courageous onscreen performances, brought to tears by their relatable characters, or captivated by their thoughtful posts on social media, we think every one of these actresses is on the road to becoming a household name. 

Last week, we featured Emma Kenney, best known as the spirited Debbie Gallagher on Shameless. The next star on our list is 16-year-old Talitha Bateman, who you'll recognize from films like Annabelle: Creation and Geostorm. She also appears in the highly anticipated drama, Love, Simon, which hit theaters March 16.

In the past few years, you've worked on so many different kinds of projects — everything from post-apocalyptic films to rom-coms. What's been your favorite so far?

Talitha Bateman: That's a really good but hard question to answer! I don't have a favorite genre to work on, they've all been really incredible projects with different stories, and the characters I've gotten to play have been completely different from the next. So I can't choose one, but I did really love working on a horror film because I could show almost every single emotion in my character. I could show extreme horror or extreme sadness, or even humor. I've also been able to do that with some dramas, but not as much in comedy — although, I do love comedy because it's so light-hearted and fun.

Zimbio's Rising Stars: 'Geostorm' Actor Talitha Bateman On Family, Rejection, And What She Hopes 'Love, Simon' Teaches Bullied Kids

That makes sense! What big acting goal do you hope to accomplish in the future?

TB: It's so interesting because I used to think about what every actor does, like, oh, winning an Oscar or something like that. But now, for me, I love acting. I want to book another role and play another interesting character that I've never thought about playing. I want to open the world to a new kind of person.

That's a very cool goal. Can you tell me what the support of other women means to you?

TB: Well, my mom homeschooled my siblings and me as we grew up. She was our teacher. I'm sure that could not have been easy, but she pulled it off. Now that I'm getting older I realize how hard that must have been and I really applaud and respect her for that.

What does TV and film mean to you?

TB: I never had a TV growing up, we mostly read books — so it's funny that I'm now in the industry where it's all about films and TV shows. We have a TV now but we never use it. We don't even know how to work it... I haven't even watched some of my projects.

Wait, o you have some projects that you haven't watched yourself in?!

TB: Yes!

Oh my gosh! Aren't you curious?

TB: Sometimes! Other times, I'm afraid that I won't like the way I play a character, or that I won't like a take that they went with. In the editing room, they sometimes decide on takes that I'm not in love with, so it can be hard just to see what choices editing people went with.

I get that. What other actresses inspire you? Do you have any role models?

TB: Yeah, I actually was just watching a film with Dakota Fanning. She's one of the most incredible actresses out there. Even when she was young, she had such a depth to each of her characters that is just beyond any other actor I've seen. Also, Vera Farmiga. She's incredible. I've seen her in so many different projects but she never plays one the same way. It doesn't make you think of her as an actor, it makes you think of her as a character so you can pay attention to the story more.

And Dakota Fanning has a sister in the industry as well.

TB: My little brother is in the industry, too. I just went to his premiere a couple days ago for Benji for Netflix. He's 13.

That is very cool. So you can support each other.

TB: Yeah, we always support each other before an audition.

Zimbio's Rising Stars: 'Geostorm' Actor Talitha Bateman On Family, Rejection, And What She Hopes 'Love, Simon' Teaches Bullied Kids
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Have you run into any big obstacles in your career so far?

TB: Yeah, actually there's been a lot of them. The industry comes with a lot of complications, and rejection was a hard one for me in the beginning. Realizing that you can audition for a thousand roles and you could only book one out of those auditions. I started relatively young, at my little brother's age — I was 13 — and it's hard because you're not expecting it at all at first, but casting directors, their job is to judge you as an actor. It's hard to just allow someone to judge you, even when you're doing an emotional scene where you're crying, they'll just stare at you and reject you. It can be hard sometimes.

That is rough. How have you learned to cope with that?

TB: It helps that my older sister is also in the industry and she started before me.

Oh, wow! It's a family affair.

TB: Yep! So she was able to prepare me a bit for that, and my brother also. We all help each other out through different heartbreaks we have, like getting so close to a role and not being able to book it. But I think we've realized now that it's not even about you. Sometimes it's a certain look they need, and sometimes it's just a different actor who's better for the role. All they want to do is make a good film or a good TV show, so when they find someone perfect for that, they should offer it to them, obviously.

Right, and you never know what little factor could influence their decision.

TB: Exactly.

What is it about acting that you've fallen in love with?

TB: I really love the idea that I don't have to be Talitha Bateman every day. I can transform into another human being and try to understand another mindset, another world, another type of person. I love the idea of that. Because I could play a barista, I could play a host for a TV show, I could play anyone I wanted to and eventually I thought that was just a cool concept.

And you get to learn so much because for every role you play, you get to take on a different perspective.

TB: Exactly. Like, I'm homeschooled, so I've never been to prom. But if I play a high school student, I can maybe go.

So far, what's your best fan memory?

TB: I remember meeting a little girl when I went to [Comic-Con San Diego]. She was really young, and she asked me about Annabelle: Creation. It was really surprising. She was really intelligent and it looked like she was, like, five. I was shocked that her parents let her watch it, so it caught me off-guard, but she was super smart and asked me all these questions. I love kids, they're adorable. She was probably one of my favorites.

Zimbio's Rising Stars: 'Geostorm' Actor Talitha Bateman On Family, Rejection, And What She Hopes 'Love, Simon' Teaches Bullied Kids
Courtesy of New Line Cinema

Aww, that's sweet. What were you at Comic-Con for?

TB: For Annabelle: Creation.

Just last year?

TB: Yeah.

I was there, too!

TB: Really? That would've been cool if we ran into each other.

Yeah, I wonder if we passed each other in the hall. Your newest project is Love, Simon. Tell us a little about it?

TB: I'm really excited about the opening for that because it touches on a really important topic. I'm really against bullying because I have siblings that have been bullied before, and it breaks my heart to think about other kids who are going through something like that and don't feel like they can tell their parents. So I hope this film can help them.

Follow Talitha Bateman on Instagram hereand follow the author on Twitter here.

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