In Unpregnant, Haley Lu Richardson stars as a pregnant teenager from Missouri who embarks on a road trip to the nearest abortion clinic in Albuquerque with the help of a former friend. As the film streams on HBO Max, Richardson chatted with Rolling Stone for The First Time.
Richardson kicks off things by remembering the first time she saw herself on TV. She was in eighth grade and appeared in a Sylvan Learning Center commercial in her home state of Arizona. “It was a very proud moment for me,” she says, noting that her entire family saw it and passed it around on email chains. “I think my role was a kid that was struggling with homework at the breakfast table with my parents, and you see me struggling. And then flash forward to me — I had to smile and nod to the instructor tutor lady like I was a changed woman or something.”
She explains how she got involved with Unpregnant. “I got sent the script and loved so many things about it,” she says, “but also recognized how ambitious and new of an endeavor it was to try to make a movie with this tone talking about the real important things we explore in the movie.”
Elsewhere in the clip, Richardson recalls starring in the Lifetime movie Escape from Polygamy, meeting Cole Sprouse on Five Feet Apart, and crying to a song on Nashville. She also cites the first time she met a personal idol: Viola Davis, following the actress’ 2017 Golden Globe win for Fences. “I can’t keep my cool around these types of people,” she says. “So I fangirl at every given moment…I literally sobbed in front of her, which was very embarrassing.”