Most actors can work years before landing a part on a hit show, but at just 17 years old, Emily Robinson has had two roles on Amazon’s Golden Globes-winning series “Transparent” (she played the younger version of Gaby Hoffmann’s Ali in Season One and Jeffrey Tambor’s mother Rose in flashbacks on Season Two). With encouragement from showrunner Jill Soloway, Robinson wrote, directed and starred in her first short film and has three movies due out this year alongside major stars Bruce Willis, John Goodman and Marisa Tomei. She tells WWD that she’s just getting started; there may even be a book in her future.
WWD: What does it mean to you to be a working member within Hollywood’s teenage set?
Emily Robinson: To me, being a part of young Hollywood is such a privilege because you get to create content that hopefully represents semi-accurately or accurately the experience that teenagers and young adults go through. It’s such a unique time in life where people are really going through so much and learning so much about themselves. To be able to help represent a portion of that experience is exciting.
WWD: In what way did “Transparent” open doors for you?
E.R.: “Transparent” has been so influential. Jill Soloway has been such an incredible mentor and inspiration to me. She actually helped inspire me to make my own short film, which I wrote and directed and starred in. Through that, we now actually have the same literary agent. It’s a small world.
WWD: A lit agent? Does that mean a book may be in your future?
E.R.: I would love that. When I was younger, I was a big reader and I became an actor. Writing, directing and acting are my passions. I would love to do that. Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey — those girls are my inspirations.
WWD: Tell us more about your short, “Virgin Territory.” What inspired it?
E.R.: I made the film in a little bubble. I actually decorated my room out here for the set. It was very personal and I kind of didn’t let anyone see it until afterwards. It’s about a teenage girl’s sexual awakening. I call it a “queer, questioning, coming-of-age story from the female’s perspective.” It’s very much about understanding the female gaze and showing a very honest, nuanced, ambiguous experience of teenage girls — or one of them.
WWD: What other projects do you have in the pipeline?
E.R.: I have three movies that are coming out this year. “Behold My Heart” is a coming-of-age story in which I play Charlie Plummer’s love interest. We actually went to middle school together, so it’s really odd. It’s him and Marisa Tomei and Timothy Olyphant. I also have “Going Under” which is a buddy comedy. I play Bruce Willis’ niece, but he’s like my semi-dad. John Goodman is in it too. Jason Momoa plays a bad guy. It’s a really fun, weird film. And then “Broken Vows” is this movie that I did with Jaimie Alexander and Wes Bentley. It’s really dark and very different from the comedy to realism stuff that I’ve been doing.
WWD: How would you describe your sense of style?
E.R.: I like to call it “sporty, fem, chic.” Just give me a baseball bomber and sneakers and I’m happy. But at the same time if I see beautiful detail and frills, that is also amazing. It’s whatever strikes my fancy at a given time.