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PopEntertainment.com > Feature Interviews A to E > Feature Interviews - Actresses > Abigail Breslin

Abigail Breslin

The Perfect American Girl

by Brad Balfour

After seeing 12-year-old Abigail Breslin in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl one comes away asking, "who else could play this part – a natural blend of innocence and raw intelligence, a wide-eyed yet prenaturally wise young woman?" Well, given Breslin's track record playing surprisingly normal kids coping with often difficult situations in films such as Definitely Maybe and No Reservations, she seems like the perfect candidate.

In the eccentrically joyous Little Miss Sunshine, Breslin played sweet Olive Hoover, a normal kid, who by a fluke, gets into the finals of a child beauty pageant, and has to compete against the prematurely sexualized, frighteningly plastic seven year-old contestants. Despite the increasingly absurd circumstances of the plot, Breslin handled her role with a remarkable ease and that garnered her an Oscar nomination.

With Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, Breslin fulfills a dream; playing a character from the American Girl doll company that she loves and collects.  In the film – as in the books that accompany the doll – Kit is a 10-year-old girl in 1934, who struggles with life during the Great Depression. Her home has become a boarding house after her father loses his job, so she copes with strangers living in her home, humiliating poverty and the struggle to survive. While still targeted to kids, The film actually copes with these realities.

Kit has a passion for writing and dreams of being published in the local paper of her hometown, Cincinnati, Ohio. Determined to do her family proud, she plans on becoming a newspaper reporter; not unlike Breslin herself who like her older brother has now become a successful and in-demand actor.

From her first film, M Night Shamalyan's high-profile feature, Signs (also starring Mel Gibson), Breslin has been touching hearts and winning fans with her intuitive acting skills. Breslin embodies these qualities of both innocence and confidence not only on-screen but off screen as well. Now, being a veteran of several roundtables, Breslin speaks simply but with clarity about starring in her latest film.

What surprised you the most about working on this film?

Probably what surprised me the most was the typewriter. I've never used one before and I said, "Where's the screen?" And they told me there is no screen. Then I said, "How do you back space?" They told me, "You don't. You have to start over." I was like, "Ohhh."

I guess there was no white-out back then?

I guess not, nooo.

Did you talk to anyone who was actually lived during The Depression?

My grandma grew up during The Depression and I asked her about it and she said they used to put sugar lumps on their tongues and drink tea over it. I didn't know that.

What was it like wearing dresses from that time period?

It was cool because I had never done a period movie before and once you got done with hair and make-up, and got on set, you sort of felt like you were back in that time.

Is there going to be a doll with your look?

No, no. It's just Kit!

Did you agree to be a part of the film because you're a fan of the American Girl franchise or was it more the script – or both?

I was just so excited to get to play Kit. When I read the script I really liked it and so we did it and I loved it!

How many American Girl dolls do you have?

All of them!

Did you get your dolls before or after making the movie?

Before!

What do you like about the dolls?

I like bringing them to the hair salon and bringing them to eat and all that stuff. It's fun!

With so many other kids around on set, what'd you do during your down-time?

Yeah, well, me, Max, Zach, and Madison… when we were finished for the day we would go to the mall, or go to dinner, and stuff like that. Me, Madison and Zach made nick-names for each other. I was "Kitty" because I was Kit. Madison was "Rue" because she was Ruthy. Zach was "Sterster" because he was Stirling. It was really funny though.

What's the coolest perk of being in this movie?

I got to keep the overalls which was really cool because I loved those overalls!

You played the game Concentration to pass time? Who was the best one at it?

Yeah, we played Concentration ALL the time when we were on set. Willow [Smith] was the best! She would do it over and over and over again. They would call cut and she'd be like, "Abigail!!!" [Abigail poses with her hands in the air acting out Willow wanting to play Concentration.] Sooo…we'd do it over and over again.

You've probably rollerbladed… but what was it like roller skating; was it weird having the four wheels?

I practiced roller skating a lot. I practiced in NYC and on set…  but I never got to do it.

Wait, you didn't roller skate? You just carried them?

Nooo. It was a stunt double.

You've done so many different types of movies. What did you take away from this movie?

On Kit, I learned about families pulling together and everything. The thing that I think is the most cool is that even if you don't have a lot you can still share what you do have. That's really what I learned from this movie.

You've now done action films, comedies, period films. Do you have any preferences?

Yeah, I like do all different types. I just have fun on every movie that I do!

Do you have a dream role that you would like to do?

Umm, yes. I would like to play Helen Keller and Lady Jane Grey.

Who would you like to work with?

I'd probably like to work with everybody I've already worked with again because everyone was really nice.

Your character wants to be a journalist. Did you practice working as a journalist?

Kit takes a lot of notes and I think I'd be really bad at keeping track of notes!

How would you be at interviewing? You can practice on us!

Yeah sure, if you'd like to practice let me know.

Kit's tree house looked like a lot of fun.

Yes, I've never had a tree house. I don't think it'd fit in my [New York City] apartment!

Do you have any aspirations to be a writer?

Actually… me and my friend Joyce are writing a script. This is what we did… She slept over and we wrote it when she slept over… Then, we'd write some more and email each other and she'd put it in her text edit and then send it back and then I'd put in my text edit. It's confusing…but yeah!

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Photo Credits:
#1 © 2008. Courtesy of Picturehouse Films. All rights reserved.
#2 © 2008. Courtesy of Picturehouse Films. All rights reserved.
#3 © 2008. Courtesy of Picturehouse Films. All rights reserved.
#4 © 2008. Courtesy of Picturehouse Films. All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.comAll rights reserved.  Posted: July 30, 2008.

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Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.comAll rights reserved.  Posted: July 30, 2008.