Callie Johnson is starring in Apple TV+’s new film The Beanie Bubble.
Callie is well known as a guest star in the popular TV series Chicago Med, and recurs in Chicago P.D.
We caught up with Callie Johnson to talk about her new role.
What can audiences expect from The Beanie Bubble?
CALLIE JOHNSON: It’s inspired by stories in a book by Zac Bissonette following Ty Warner and the meteoric rise of Beanie Babies (if you were alive anywhere near the 90s, you’ll probably remember those signature red, heart-shaped “Ty” tags). The film, however, actually centers around the female characters who helped make these toys such a phenomenon but didn’t make billions or get their names on the tags.
For me, this film really explores the female relationship to the American Dream and how it’s often undermined. People can expect a very beardless Zach Galifianakis, bright colors, lots of shoulder pads, and a totally killer soundtrack!
What do you think is your character’s ultimate goal?
My character, Linda, is a suburban Chicago mom whose cul-de-sac becomes ground zero for the Beanie Baby craze – with Linda at the center. She may seem like just a soccer mom, but below the surface she’s a fierce entrepreneur with a knack for finding ways to creatively capitalize on the “Ty” brand. She really admires Ty Warner as a businessman, and I think Linda’s ultimate goal is to be recognized for her creative gusto and to be treated as a peer by Ty.
Can you recall any funny moments from on-set filming?
The infamous Oscars slap happened the night before filming my scene with Zach – so, as you can imagine, we had a lot to talk about the next day on set. I wouldn’t necessarily say anything we talked about was “funny,” but it was more of a “jeez, how wild is that?!” conversation. As far as funny moments go, I mean, I got to work with one of the best-known funny men in Hollywood. Zach has such natural comedic timing, and he is also so grounded off-screen. On-screen, though? He’s wonderfully unpredictable and playful, and it was such a unique challenge for me as an actor to keep up. I can’t wait to see what they ended up using for footage.
As an actor, what are you still trying to learn?
That perfection is unattainable and actually harmful to my process. Self-compassion gives me freedom to do my best work.
How can you tell when you’re reading a great script?
I have a trick when I’m trying to get things done on my to-do list where I set my timer for 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break; I can always tell when a script “has me” when the timer goes off and I skip my break. Great scripts are also the easiest to memorize; the lines have unwritten (yet, written) connecting thoughts between them, allowing you as the actor to sense what comes next.
When did you begin to see acting as a potential career avenue?
I’d wanted to be an actor from a very young age, but I don’t think I really grasped that I could make acting my career until I graduated from theater school and started working and auditioning. Once I started putting myself out there and getting results, I remember a sense of excitement, thinking, “Wow – this might actually be possible!”
How important is social media to you right now?
I tend to be a pretty private person, but I am enjoying sharing all of the fun things I’ve been doing lately. I’m definitely still exploring the vast landscape of social media; I finally downloaded TikTok (I’d been avoiding it)!
What’s the biggest realization you’ve had this past year?
How much I’ve relied on my acting career to check off the “I’ve got hobbies” box in my life; I’m finally starting to delve into and realize all of the non-acting related parts of me and celebrate them! I’m a nature lover, a traveler, an exercise-er, a reader, a great host, and I’m learning the art of relaxation and rest.
Everyone seems to have an app idea at the moment, what’s yours?
Great question! I’d say an app that has the ability to scan the barcode of any product, and then it provides instructions on how to properly recycle the packaging. That’s an app I would use daily.
What makes you feel nostalgic?
Hand-drawn animated Disney movies, Hilary Duff’s Metamorphosis album, Christmas music, Raisenettes, The Labyrinth, friendship bracelets, and of course…Beanie Babies.