Breslin Brings Normalcy to Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
- Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Like most 12-year-old girls, actress Abigail Breslin is admittedly crazy about Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers, loves her two dogs (and desperately wants a new pug puppy to join the brood) and can't wait for a summer va-cay filled with sleepovers with her cousins and best girlfriends.
In fact, if you didn't know that she's already been in 10 movies, including the little indie movie with big box office legs, 2006's Little Miss Sunshine, it wouldn't be difficult to mistake Breslin for that precocious neighbor kid who lives just down the street from you. Breslin is just that normal.
One might assume that she would be a little more rehearsed—even coached—in her press interviews. But thankfully those around her, including her Mom who is sitting a few feet away in the background, (but unlike the typical stage mom never chimes in when Breslin gets stuck on a question) just let her be a kid. She speaks off the cuff and a mile a minute, all the while twisting and fidgeting with a gold necklace she's wearing. Breslin has no idea that she's any sort of celebrity and admits her friends could care less about what she happens to do for a living. "They're like ‘Yeah, that's cool, whatever,'" she says. "We'd rather just talk about lip gloss."
Even when she's spotted at the mall from time to time, spending her $12 per week allowance, the native New Yorker takes it all in stride. "I don't really mind," she offers. "Everyone is really nice."
And that everykid quality has definitely come in handy, now that Dakota Fanning is a teenager. After Breslin's debut in the much-praised M. Night Shyamalan flick Signs with Mel Gibson in 2002, she's gone on to play strong supporting roles in everything from 2004's Raising Helen with Kate Hudson and her older brother Spencer to 2006's The Ultimate Gift with James Garner to last year's No Reservations with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart. With Sunshine, Oscar came calling when the then 10-year-old actress received a "Best Supporting Actress" nod. But when pressed about what the red-carpet experience and the career-defining nomination was like, Breslin offers nothing more than a breezy "It was really fun."
Not slowing down for anything, save for her three hours of required school work each day, this year has been no less busy for the ingénue with two movies adapted from popular books. First came Nim's Island with Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler, which released earlier this year. And now she's front and center, starring in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, the first big-screen adaptation of the American Girl books.
As a fan of the wildly popular books and collector of the equally popular dolls, playing Kit, a 10-year-old aspiring reporter during the Great Depression, was a role that Breslin relished. "I think she'd be a lot more brave than I would be," she says. "I could never walk up to someone and say ‘Yes, I'm going to do this [become a reporter]' … I just could never do that."
When choosing what roles she'll pursue, Breslin says she considers if the character is someone "I'd like to know." And Kit definitely fit the bill, even if there was a considerable learning curve with accepting the part. Not only did she have to study up on the history of The Great Depression—since being true to the time period was so important to producer Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas (who regularly works with Julia Roberts, also a producer on Kit)—but she also had to learn to type on an old-fashioned typewriter. "When I first saw it, I was like ‘Where's the screen?'" Breslin quips. "And you have to hit the keys so hard."
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