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We Can Be Heroes' Taylor Dooley On Lavagirl's Surprise Reveal On Set - Exclusive

Taylor Dooley returns to the screen as Lavagirl in Robert Rodriguez's new movie, We Can Be Heroes. Dooley was 12 when Rodriguez first cast her in 2005's The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, opposite Taylor Lautner. Not ready to completely commit to a career show business, the young actor took just a few roles here and there while focusing on her education in the years that followed, eventually attending Cal State Northridge and starting a family.

When she got the call from Netflix about suiting up as Lavagirl again more than a decade later, she didn't hesitate. For Dooley, getting back on a Rodriguez-led set felt like a homecoming, as she told Looper during our exclusive interview. 

"It was, honestly, probably the most cool, indescribable thing in the entire world," Dooley says. Not only did she get to see the director again, but much of Sharkboy and Lavagirl's crew was reunited, too. "Robert usually works with the same people, so on set, I was surrounded by so many people I haven't seen in 15 years, including the costumer, who is so sweet. Plus, being able to work with Robert again was amazing. He's a generous director. We got to relive old memories and make new ones." 

As part of that homecoming, Rodriguez concocted a clever way to introduce Dooley to the kids playing the next generation of superheroes.

Taylor Dooley explains why she hid out in her trailer for a few days

Dooley says it was a blast working with the movie's kid stars. "It was so much fun, the first time me being the kid and now me being the adult helping shepherd in the kids. It was fun to watch them be going through what I went through the very first time, 15 years ago."

Though the kids knew Dooley was coming to reprise her Lavagirl role, Rodriguez didn't divulge any other information to them regarding her appearance. "Robert was keeping me a complete secret," Dooley says. "They knew I was coming but he didn't want them to see me at all until I was in my full new Lavagirl get-up — including my hair, which I dyed hot pink."

Her trailer became her secret lair. "I had to hide completely for a few days. I was eating in my trailer and the crew was sweet enough to bring me food because I'd be in there by myself all day waiting for the perfect moment for Robert to unveil me."

The wait, she says, was totally worth it. "Robert gathered all the kids together on set and he had me come and surprise them all." They were definitely shocked. "To watch their faces was so cool –- they freaked out. They really went nuts, the way kids their age do. It was so fun for me because it's been so many years since Sharkboy and Lavagirl and these kids might not have been born when the movie came out, but yet they're still so in love with it and with these characters. Their expressions were a totally cool thing to watch."

Catch Lavagirl's return when We Can Be Heroes hits Netflix on December 25.