Abigail Breslin Interview, Kit Kittredge An American Girl

Posted by: Sheila Roberts

MoviesOnline sat down recently with Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine,” “Nim’s Island”) at the Los Angeles press day for her new film, “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” directed by Patricia Rozema (“Mansfield Park”) from a screenplay by Ann Peacock (“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”).

In the first feature film based on the hugely popular American Girl book series, Abigail Breslin stars as a resourceful young girl whose bravery, compassion and determination help her solve a mystery that saves her family’s home during the Great Depression. The film’s all-star ensemble cast includes Joan Cusack, Glenne Headly, Jane Krakowski, Chris O’Donnell, Julia Ormond, Wallace Shawn and Stanley Tucci.

We really appreciated Abigail’s time. Here’s what she had to tell us about her new movie:

Q: What was the best part of making this movie?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: The best part of making this movie was, I was so excited to get to do it because one of my favorite dolls was Kit and I collected them all since I was like 8. My grandma grew up in the Great Depression and she told me a bit about that, she said all the clothes were authentic and everyone was pretty much in the same situation back then. She told me they would put sugar lumps on their tongues and drink the tea over it. I learned a lot about the Great Depression making this movie.

Q: How was the costume and hairstyle for you? It was a wig, right?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: Yes it was a wig. It was pretty cool, you know, to get to…I looked really different with it all. It sort of made you feel like you were really in 1934.

Q: How was working with a dog and a monkey?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: They were funny! I loved the basset hound. The monkey had a memo. He was a really funny monkey. He was cute.

Q: What did the memo say?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: Just the stuff that you can’t do around the monkey.

Q: Did you do anything to freak it out?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: No, no, thank goodness.

Q: How do you choose your roles?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I guess I see if it’s somebody I would like to know. My mom will read it and everything and we’ll see if we all like it and if I want to do it, we’ll say yes.

Q: Do you choose roles that will be a challenge for you? Or do you prefer to do something where you recognize this character as similar to you?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I just want to see if it’s a character that I would like to know. That’s basically it.

Q: Would you like to know Kit?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: Yes.

Q: Why?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: Because she’s a lot more brave than I would be and…I don’t know, she’s a lot braver than I am. I could never go up to somebody and be like, “Yes I’m going to do this!” I couldn’t do that.

Q: How is it using a manual typewriter when you’re used to computer keyboards?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I know. I was like, “Where’s the screen?” There is no screen!

Q: Was it hard to learn?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: Yeah, it’s hard. You have to hit them hard, rather than like a computer where you can lightly tap them.

Q: So it took a while to get used to?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: Yeah.

Q: Did playing the role make you have any instincts towards journalism?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I don’t know, Kit takes a lot of notes and I think that I would lose track of mine.

Q: How’d you get bitten by the acting bug?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: My brother started acting before I did so I went into it too and I really liked it so I kept doing it.

Q: What effect did the Academy Award experience have?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: It was really fun.

Q: Have your friends treated you differently?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: No, they don’t really care that much. They’re like, okay, that’s cool, whatever.

Q: They’d rather talk about lipstick?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: Yeah, lip gloss.

Q: When you have to do the red carpet, does that ever feel weird?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: It’s really fun to do all that stuff and I’m just having fun with it.

Q: What do you want to do next? Do you have anything booked?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I just finished “My Sister’s Keeper” with Cameron Diaz, Jason Patric, Sofia Vassilieva, and Alec Baldwin, and Joan Cusack is in it too. I just finished that.

Q: Are you hanging out with family for the summer?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I’m going to Prince Edward Island for a couple days, so that will be fun. I’m excited about that. And I’m having sleepovers too.

Q: With school friends?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: No. I’m home schooled so just my friends and my cousins.

Q: And a few actors?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: No.

Q: How do you balance your work and studies?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I’m home schooled and when I’m on set I have to do three hours of school a day.

Q: Was that the case during this movie?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: No, we filmed during the summer so I got off.

Q: Were there any special challenges with this role?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: With any role, I don’t really like crying scenes. They’re really kind of hard but other than that…

Q: How did you make yourself cry?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I guess you think about the situation that the character is in and it sort of helps you.

Q: What did you do on set between takes?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: We all just sort of hung out, hung around. Me, Madison and Zach, when we were done working for the day we’d go and hang out, go to dinner, go to the mall and stuff like that, so it was fun.

Q: Did you get recognized at the mall?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: Sometimes. I guess so. Everyone has been really nice so it’s been good.

Q: Did you have the American Girl dolls and was there a favorite?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: Kit was always my favorite but I also like Felicity, Samantha. I like all of them really.

Q: Which one should be a movie next?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I think all of them. I would like to see all of them.

Q: Julia Roberts produced the movie—did she visit the set?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I actually haven’t met her yet but I’m looking forward to it.

Q: Will she be at the premiere?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I don’t know.

Q: Is there a favorite subject you like to study?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: My favorite subject is probably art and reading—those are my two favorites—and lunch.

Q: Do you think you would have liked to have lived during the 1930s?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: Maybe, but I would not be used to not having my phone and my computer and my iPod.

Q: Did learning about the Great Depression change your opinion about homelessness in America today?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: Yeah, I don’t like to see anybody struggling so I just hope that this movie shows that if you go through hard times you can still pull through it.

Q: What hard times have you pulled through?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I don’t know. Losing my iPod!

Q: What music is on it?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I had Hannah Montana, the Jonas Brothers, Rihanna.

Q: Do you have David Cook? You were excited he was on the Tonight show with you.

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I actually don’t have him on my iPod but David Cook is really good. I have—had—David Archuleta on my iPod.

Q: What do you do with all the money you earn?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I get $12 allowance a week.

Q: What do you spend it on?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: CDs. Lip gloss.

Q: Is there something big you’d like to have?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I want another puppy. I have two dogs. But I want a pug.

Q: Of all the movies you’ve done, what’s your favorite performance?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I don’t know. I know that I had fun on all of them. They’re all sort of my favorite.

Q: Is there anyone you’d love to work with?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I would definitely like to work with everyone that I’ve worked with again. And I really like Meryl Streep.

Q: What message does this movie have for kids?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I know from Kit that she loves to help others and also that if she doesn’t want to do stuff, she’ll do it and do it happily too. She just has fun with it. That’s something that I learned.

Q: What do you think of all the kid actors who are having problems when they become teenagers?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: We have a rule in our family that we can’t gossip about other people.

Q: How do you avoid getting into trouble later on?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I don’t know. I don’t really think about that stuff.

Q: Does living in New York away from Hollywood make a difference?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: Maybe! I love New York.

Q: Do you plan to stay there?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: Yeah!

“Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” opens in theaters on June 20th.

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