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Forever Starlet
Celebrating young actresses of yesterday and today
Abigail Breslin: Too Young to Smoke and Drive? 
30th-Nov-2010 09:05 pm
drew barrymore

We haven't blogged much about our Abbie lately, so here's a good article we found about her latest film, Janie Jones, in USA Today. In the movie, she not only tries her hand at singing and playing the guitar, but also smokes (fake cigarettes) and drives!

Abigail Breslin looks more grown up these days, with her long hair dyed dark auburn, as she faces that tough transition from child star to serious young actress. The 14-year-old with the effervescent smile was in Toronto promoting Janie Jones, in which she plays a lonely girl who, at 13, first meets the musician father (Alessandro Nivola) who passed on to her his singing abilities.

Her last movie in theaters was Zombieland, and upcoming projects include Vengeance: A Love Story, a thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson and Dianne Wiest. But she's still kid enough to lend her voice to a couple of animated films: Rango, about a chameleon who longs to be a pirate, featuring Johnny Depp and Bill Nighy, about genetically modified crops battling wildflowers.

For Janie, Abigail smoked (herbal cigarettes) and recklessly drove a car. Who says acting doesn't serve as wish fulfillment? Ever the actress, she acts out the fearful instructions given to her by a production assistant. She knows an unlicensed teen behind the wheel can fill an entire film set with dread. She imagines the assistant wondering, "Why would they put me in the car with this lunatic?" She hilariously recounts how he tried to give her basic driving instruction.

"He would sit in the back seat, and I could tell he was so afraid," she says. "He was like (she drops her voice to a calm whisper), 'OK, put on the gas.' Then he yells, 'Too fast, too fast,' then he starts screaming, 'Brake, brake, brake!' He got out of the car shaking. I was really stressing people out that day," she says with a laugh. "I was like, 'I'm really, really sorry.' But it was fun."

Equal parts exuberant teen and blasé veteran of more than 20 movies, she ranked eighth in Forbes' list of Young Hollywood's Top-Earning Stars, with a salary of $1.5 million in 2006, the year Little Miss Sunshine came out and she was up for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, all at age of 10. Abigail made her film debut at age 5 as Mel Gibson's daughter in 2002's Signs.

Though she gushes about favorite singers (Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Regina Spektor) and the kind of music she likes — "anything on Glee" — there's something of the old soul about her as well. That maturity might explain her choice of favorite movie, the 1944 Judy Garland musical Meet Me in St. Louis. Having learned to play the guitar and sing for Janie Jones, performing songs written by Gemma Hayes, Abigail pronounced her musical debut at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern "nerve-racking but fun."

Then she launches into comic detail explaining how a key scene, while seemingly sweet, was a feat of contortion: "Falling asleep on someone's shoulder? That's hard to do! Its not just like a casual thing," she says. "You have a camera guy there, and he's going, 'Move over here, then sort of tilt your head this way and move your arm sort of over there.' It was uncomfortable! It was awful! But it looked good. So whatever."

When their final day of shooting was marred by driving rain, she pluckily assumed the role of Little Miss Sunshine. "We were just sitting around waiting for the rain to stop, so I said, as a joke, 'Well, at least it's a nice day out.' I just got glared at."

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As soon as a photo surfaces of Abigail's smoking scene, we plan to add her to our list of young actress who've smoked in films — where, among the likes of Natalie Portman, her contemporary AnnaSophia Robb, and little Kiernan Shipka, she'll find herself in some very talented company.

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