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emma hearst

    From 'Little Miss Sunshine' to stilettos

    Abigail Breslin, who voices a character in the new animated film 'Rango,' straddles the line between life as a teenager and the adult demands of her movie career

    March 03, 2011|By Nina Metz, Tribune newspapers
    Forget the 10-year-old you remember from "Little Miss Sunshine" — Abigail Breslin has grown up.
    Breslin, who turns 15 in April, was in Chicago recently promoting the new animated film "Rango," looking every inch the teenager intent on shedding her little girl image in her stiletto heels and short, black leather skirt.
    The adult wardrobe is something of a feint, though. There's still a kid inside that sophisticated image, one who puts "cute" high on her list of reasons she signed up for "Rango," a spoof of spaghetti Westerns with Johnny Depp as a lizard who sets out to right a few wrongs. Breslin provides the voice of Priscilla, a mouse he befriends.
    "I got a sketch of Priscilla in the mail with a letter from the director, Gore Verbinski, and basically as soon as I saw the sketch I fell in love with her," she said. Verbinski, it would seem, has a keen understanding of how the teenage mind works.
    Breslin was on the multi-city press tour — including stops in Miami, Boston, London, Berlin, Paris and Rome — suggesting that despite her age, she shoulders some pretty grown-up obligations. There's not much sightseeing involved on these trips. Just a lot of views from hotel rooms. And work — in this case, talking up a movie in which her character has few lines.
    But by now this is old hat for Breslin, who appeared in a Toys R Us commercial at age 3. By the time she was 5 she had landed her first movie role, in 2002's "Signs." So how does one get launched into a career at such early age?
    "Well, my brother started acting before I did," she said of 18-year-old Spencer Breslin, whose credits include "The Happening." "And then I just started to fall into it. I really liked doing it, so I kept doing it and I've been really lucky to be able to make movies."
    It's a sensitive thing, talking to Breslin about her life as a child actor. But how can you not? There are just too many former child actors who saw their lives implode in early adulthood to not consider the potential drawbacks.
    And she certainly is aware of the problems that have plagued some of her contemporaries. The Miley Cyruses, the Demi Lovatos. But: "I don't really like to talk about other people. I think people who have things going on in their lives, I think they have enough to deal with, they don't need, you know, Abigail Breslin weighing in on their lives. I feel really lucky that I get to do what I really like to do, so I'm really grateful that I get to do it."

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