Check out our interview with AppleTV+’s new film “The Beanie Bubble” actress Callie Johnson who will be playing the character Linda alongside actor Zach Galifianakis and Elizabeth Banks, releasing on July 21st, 2023.

Callie is thrilled to be in this flash-to-the-past film (being a true Beanie Babies fan in her real-life childhood), in which the storyline uncovers Beanie Babies and its booming phenomena in America. The talented actress is also well known as a guest star in Dick Wolf’s popular TV series Chicago Med, and recurs in fan-favorite TV series Chicago P.D.

Follow Callie @callierachellejohnson

Callie Johnson

Hi Callie, please tell us a little about you?

Sure! Here’s a few quick facts: I’m an extroverted introvert. I love being anywhere with a beautiful natural view, and I’ve been known to swim in a waterfall or two. Dedicated cat mom, newly crowned dog mom. I consume a lot of true crime content, from podcasts, to documentaries, to books. I love horror movies. My favorite smell is my grandma’s kitchen during the holidays growing up. I’ll be the first and last person on the dance floor at your wedding. My small-town high school mascot was a Cog (like, a cog in a clock), and yes, I was a theater kid. I’m a big handwritten “thank you note” person. Hufflepuff, but self-proclaimed Ravenclaw. Meyers Briggs: INFJ. Enneagram: 2, wing 3. Lifelong Girl Scout.

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Compassionate, organized, introspective

How do you prepare for a role?

I don’t spend a lot of time “learning the lines” – instead, I focus on mapping out the emotional journey based on the clues in the text, and then the lines simply fall into place. Once I’ve done all that work – I try to let it go and let my instincts kick in. The real gold is when I finally get the chance to work with my scene partner – if we’ve both shown up and done our work prior, it’s amazing the cool things that can be mined together in the moment!

Tell us about your work as Linda in AppleTV+’s new film “The Beanie Bubble?”

When I got the audition, I was immediately drawn to Linda because I recognized her. A midwestern 90’s mom who’d do anything for her kids, including splurging on Beanie Babies? I grew up with that woman! So, I watched a quick Beanie documentary, threw on my mom’s *literal* 90’s Christmas sweater, and spent about fifteen minutes familiarizing myself with the script. To this day, it might be one of the quickest tapes I’ve turned in. What I love about Linda, is that she’s such an unsuspecting baddie; she’s got this sweet demeanor, a darling Midwestern accent, and once she’s lured you over for dinner, she’s filling you in on how she snagged a deal on her latest timeshare. But, like all of the women in the film, she’s got a twisted relationship to the American Dream – no matter how hard she tries, she’s undermined.

How was working alongside such a talented cast?

So dreamy. Everyone was such a pro (obviously), which made my job incredibly easy, but it also pushed me and challenged me to rise to their level; Zach just started improvising and playing with me, and there wasn’t any way I was going to leave him hanging. I’m incredibly grateful to have gotten the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with such seasoned performers.

What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?

Honestly, Beanie is onto something in that regard; I love watching women who are better at their jobs than the men, and throughout the course of the story getting to prove that they’re better at it. I’ve been doing an experiment lately to figure out what kind of work I’m interested in doing, and so far, I’m landing on genres that include period pieces and grounded Sci-Fi’s – both of which tend to showcase women in this exact light. Women in period pieces are often pretty stifled in their life choices, but characters like Catherine in The Great or Emily Blunt in The English give all the men in their lives a run for their money. On the flip side of that, grounded sci fi’s like Westworld, Station 11, or The Last of Us feature female characters who are forced to access a more primal version of themselves in order to survive incredibly heightened circumstances – all within a man’s world. I’m on a real Carrie Coon deep dive right now, and between The Leftovers and Boston Strangler (period piece + true crime!), I think I’m after whatever special sauce she’s got going on. Plus, she’s a Chicago girl, so she gets extra points in my book.

Callie Johnson

If you weren’t acting, what would you be up to right now?

Oh, so easy – working for the FBI as a forensic behavior analyst. Studying human behavior, identifying patterns, and solving puzzles sounds absolutely fascinating (Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs…another great example of a high achieving female in a male dominated career).

Which fictional character would be the most exciting to meet in real life?

I think meeting Gandalf would be pretty exciting. LOL.

Can you name 3 actors/actresses you would love to work with?

Toni Collette, Jessie Buckley, Catherine O’Hara

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

Knowing that, even in the smallest way, it might affect someone. I’ll never forget the feeling I had after watching Everything, Everywhere, All at Once – it made me want to call my mom. I want to do work that makes someone want to call their mom.

What’s your advice for the newer actors?

Be the CEO of your business
Trust your instincts
What’s meant for you is meant for you
Have a life outside of acting
Cultivate a gratitude practice

How would your best friend describe you?

Organized but scattered, talks a lot and then apologizes for talking a lot, always there to listen to a good cry.

What advice would you give to your younger self and why?

Honestly, she always did the best she could in the circumstances she was given, and she got me to where I am today; you go girl.

What’s next for Callie Johnson in 2023?

Celebrating the release of Beanie, attending several fall weddings for people I love, awaiting the arrival of some of my favorite people’s babies, expanding and adding to my team of reps, and traveling to Iceland with my mom!

What is your favorite healthy food?

PHO. It’s my go to when I’m feeling the least bit sick.

And your favorite cheat food?

Grilled cheese and tomato soup, or macaroni and cheese. Think “kid who’s home sick from school” food.

What is your own definition of happiness?

Peace and acceptance within yourself. It makes room for the joy to come in.

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?

I’d love to grab lunch with Florence Pugh; I respect her work so much, and I think she’s just a fiercely unique lady. I bet we’d have a ton to talk about.

What is your favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?

Currently, I’m on a real Legally Blonde soundtrack kick – Perfect Day by Hoku just automatically puts me in the best mood. To be clear, though, that soundtrack is chock full of bops.

Where can we follow you?

IG: @callierachellejohnson and www.calliejohnson.com. Be prepared for lots of cat content.

Book: Crying in H-Mart by Michelle Zauner, The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Movie: I’m going to cheat and say that the Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended edition) is all ONE MOVIE. Most watched movies, but not necessarily favorites, include The Wedding Singer, Never Been Kissed, and Ever After. Apparently Drew Barrymore = comfort for me!

Tv Series: Oh god, I mean, currently? Succession. Duh.

Favorite Dessert: maple glazed cake (not yeast!) donuts with sprinkles!

Quote: I heard this one yesterday from a manifestation coach named Haley Hoffman Smith: “Being a Dreamer means being acutely aware of what is inevitable in your life.” Like, woah.

Travel Destination: Door County, WI

Sports Team: I lived 5 blocks north of Wrigley Field for 6 years, so I’d consider myself a Cubs fan by proxy. Hahaa.