Local girl cast in Netflix series, achieving her dreams through hard work and determination
There’s nothing unusual about a kid dreaming of becoming a star. For a Cape Coral kid with autism, acting helped her cope with daily life and prepare her for stardom.
Tal Anderson recently earned a recurring role in Season 3 of the 10-episode Netflix coming-of-age dramedy Atypical created by writer/producer Robia Rashid (How I Met Your Mother) and produced by Mary Rohlich (Gleason).
Anderson, now 22, formally began acting when she was 15, but she has been a storyteller since she was a young child. She didn’t speak until she was 3 years old and she struggled with a math and reading disability. She had no problem recording daily life and events around her with a video and audio recorder.
“I struggle with a high-functioning form of Autism called Asperger’s Syndrome, and I don’t interact verbally the way some people do. When younger, I couldn’t express myself very well, so early on I found tools to help me, and I clung onto them. Acting was one of those tools,” she said in a press release announcing her role.
Thanks to supportive parents, a network of teachers, therapists, and positive acting coaches Anderson began to express herself through drama. She realized that some of the characteristics heightened by her autism, like hyper-focus, attention to detail, aptitude for memorization and study skills, combined with her natural acting talent and ability to take direction were ideal for a career in acting.
As she worked her way through high school and strived to earn a Bachelor of Science in Film, it became evident that she loved acting, and she was good at it.
“I learned that to be an effective actor, you must be present in the moment. My Autism gives me an edge. When I am in a role, I AM that character, and when the director says it’s a wrap, I’m Tal again,” Anderson said.
After graduating from Full Sail University with honors and as the valedictorian of her class, Anderson left her family and friends in Florida and moved to southern California to build a career. She did not waste any time. In 2018, she took on a four-month video editing internship. Her short film was selected for screening into six international film festivals, and received two award nominations. Anderson also received a Best Director Award for an Experimental Short. It wasn’t long after that Anderson signed with a talent agent, Kazarian/Measures/Ruskin & Associates in North Hollywood. Soon Anderson earned lead and supporting roles in independent films, television, commercials, and web series.
Anderson’s role in the Season 3 Netflix Original Series, Atypical, was released publicly on Nov. 1. She is cast as a quirky college student, Sid, who is an honest, no-nonsense friend and college classmate to the lead character, Sam, played by Keir Gilchrist. The series follows Sam, who is on the autism spectrum, as he searches for love and independence. Jennifer Jason Leigh stars as his mother, and Michael Rapaport plays his father.
Like most actors in Hollywood, the ratio of auditions to bookings is lopsided. That doesn’t affect Anderson in a negative way. Her secret sauce is her love of the process, not the desire to be famous. She doesn’t mind rejection, and although she loves it when she books a role, she happily pushes forward with auditions, training, and living life fully in between.
“You have to keep telling yourself that you CAN, not listen to those in your life who tell you that you CAN’T,” she explained.
To Anderson, life is a series of acting roles. In college she was “College Tal” and was super social and talkative. At a party or event, she is “Acting Tal” and professional, determined, and brave. At home, she is “Just Tal” relaxing with family and friends. No matter the role, she wants others with Autism to know that it is possible to achieve dreams and reach goals with hard work and dedication.
More about Atypical: The series follows Sam (Keir Gilchrist), an 18-year-old on the autism spectrum, as he searches for love and independence. While Sam is on his funny and emotional journey of self-discovery, the rest of his family must grapple with change in their own lives as they all struggle with the central theme: What does it really mean to be normal?
Jennifer Jason Leigh stars as his mother, Elsa, who is on her own journey of self-discovery, Michael Rapaport plays his father, Doug, and Brigette Lundy-Paine plays Sam’s sister, Casey. In Season 2, Elsa and Doug faced the aftermath of their marriage crisis and Casey tried to adjust to her new school, while Sam prepared for life after graduation.