Breslin Brings Normalcy to Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
- Wednesday, June 18, 2008
In light of the film's perilous time frame, Breslin also had to step up to the challenge of crying on cue. "With any role, I really don't like crying scenes," Breslin shares. "But when you think about the situation the character is in, that sort of helps you tear up."
While trying to convince the editor of the Cincinnati Register to publish the story that'll give her future career in journalism a serious kick start, Kit is also dealing with very adult realities as she's seeing her family and friends' families struggle economically—even losing their houses when they can't pay the mortgage. And by learning about the Great Depression, Breslin has even drawn a few parallels to today's struggling economy. "I don't like to hear about anyone struggling," Breslin says. "So I hope the movie will encourage people that even through hard times, you can pull through."
Behind the Scenes
Joining Breslin in Kit is a well-known ensemble cast that includes Julia Ormond (Sabrina, The First Knight) as Kit's mom, Chris O'Donnell (School Ties, Batman and Robin) as Kit's dad, Joan Cusack (Friends with Money, Raising Helen) as the spirited traveling librarian (and the film's chief comic relief) and Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada, TV's ER) as a mischievous magician.
As a husband and father of five kids, O'Donnell says he accepted the role immediately after being offered it because he's an advocate of making family movies that aren't "nauseating."
"My kids love going to the movies, and aside from what Pixar is doing or the Narnia flicks there's not a whole lot out there that's entertaining for the whole family," O'Donnell adds. "So it was a pleasure to be a part of something family-oriented with a message."
Ormond, a wife and mother to a daughter says Kit's story was not only inspiring, but replete with modern-day takeaway value. "It's really a story of discovery about what people in America went through—how people as a population faced hardship and social stigma," Ormond shares. "This is a family that starts off pretty sound economically. And as a child who has no real awareness of social issues, she's eventually introduced to people from a social class that she wouldn't normally have encountered. And instead of coming at it with prejudice, she comes at it with a lot of heart."
At the center of the story is the aforementioned hobo community, particularly two young orphans who Kit meets: Will Shepherd and Countee, played by Max Thieriot (The Astronaut Farmer, Jumper) and actor Will Smith's (I Am Legend, Independence Day) daughter Willow. With a will-work-for-food mantra and strong survival instincts, Kit finds the perfect inspiration for one of her research pieces and two great friends in the process. And when her friends are falsely accused of stealing valuables later on, Kit gets to put her natural curiosity and sleuthing skills to good use—which inevitably teaches the townspeople a few things about stereotypes.
"Kids will instantly love the mystery of it," Tucci says. "It's a wonderful story to be told through a child's eyes. The story is always pertinent because there's always poverty no matter how wealthy a country we are. The moral is that everybody pitches in together and does what they have to help each other as a community to get through the tough times."
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