Taylor Dooley Discusses Her Iconic Lava Girl Role and Why She Took a Long Break From Acting

Taylor Dooley is an actor best known for playing Lava Girl in the 2005 movie The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl. The role allowed Dooley to gain many adoring fans, but she largely went off the radar for much of her teenage and young adult years.

However, Dooley recently reprised her role as Lava Girl in the new Netflix movie We Can Be Heroes, which is released on Dec. 25.

Dooley sat down with Showbiz Cheat Sheet over Zoom to talk about what went on in her life these past several years and why she chose to come back as Lava Girl.

Shark Boy and Lava Girl
Taylor Dooley as Lava Girl and JJ Dashnaw as Shark Boy in ‘We Can Be Heroes’ | Netflix

Showbiz Cheat Sheet: After The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl came out in 2005, you continued acting for a bit, but then you took a break from Hollywood for quite a long time. Can you give us a quick summary of what you did during those years?

Taylor Dooley: Living in Hollywood’s bubble as a kid and as a child actor is kind of limiting in life experiences, so I decided to take some time off to get some life experiences and go to college [to study] psychology. I graduated from college. I met my now-husband, got married, and had two kids before I decided to come back to the business.

Showbiz Cheat Sheet: Why did you decide to come back to showbiz and also reprise your role as Lava Girl for the new movie We Can Be Heroes?

Taylor Dooley: Acting has always been my endgame. It’s been my passion since I was a young girl and the thing that I love to do the most. When I took time away, I knew I wanted to come back once I was old enough to take on adult roles. I had my second kid—our daughter—and we got lucky enough to have a boy and a girl, so we don’t want any more kids. I was missing acting so much and finally ready to dive back in with my family really strong and taken care of. I felt like I could dive back in with full speed and get back into it now.

Showbiz Cheat Sheet: Have your kids seen any of the movies you acted in as a child?

Taylor Dooley: They have, and obviously their favorite is The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl. It was really funny because the very first time I showed my son [the movie]—he was around 2—I hadn’t told him anything about Shark Boy and Lava Girl or me being an actor, but he watched the TV and said to me, “That’s Mom.” He knew exactly that it was me when I was little, which was so crazy. And it’s been really fun reprising Lava Girl because I get to dye my hair pink again. I have the funniest reaction video of my son when I walked in the front door with pink hair. It was hilarious.

We Can Be Heroes
Taylor Dooley as Lava Girl and Vivien Lyra Blair as Guppy in ‘We Can Be Heroes’ | Netflix

Showbiz Cheat Sheet: Aside from the iconic pink hair, what sort of things can fans expect from 2020 Lava Girl?

Taylor Dooley: She is grown up now. It’s been 15 years, and Lava Girl is an adult. She’s kicking butt. She is married to Shark Boy and has a daughter named Guppy who is the cutest little girl. She’s so amazing, and I can’t wait for everyone to see how cool Guppy is.

Showbiz Cheat Sheet: You’ve also been involved with different nonprofit organizations. Can you tell us a little more about these projects?

Taylor Dooley: I have a passion for people, so I really have been blessed to be given a platform to help others. I’m really involved with Lollipop Theater Network, which is a fantastic charity that brings movies and TV shows to children in hospitals who can’t leave to go see them. They see commercials for wonderful films that they can’t get out to go see, so we bring [the films] to them and oftentimes surprise them with the actors afterwards. It’s really nice and really special. I got involved after Shark Boy and Lava Girl came out years ago, and it’s been something I’m passionate about and really love. It’s been near and dear to my heart for years and years. I’m also passionate about child and sex trafficking, and I work with the Tim Tebow Foundation and Operation Underground Railroad to bring awareness and try to help with [these issues].

Taylor Dooley
Taylor Dooley | Marisa Leigh

Showbiz Cheat Sheet: How do you find time to balance all these different obligations in your life?

Taylor Dooley: A lot of coffee [laughs]. I drink a lot of coffee and tea. I’m blessed to be able to work from home so that I can manage my time wisely between the things that I do, which has been really nice.

Showbiz Cheat Sheet: What else can fans expect from you in the near future?

Taylor Dooley: Well, I am coming back. I’m excited to finally be able to jump into the business with both feet. I’m excited to see what the next years have in store and to be able to work again and be able to do what I have the biggest passion for, which is acting. Stay tuned for everything that’s coming.