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Interview with Abigail Breslin

Interview with Abigail Breslin                                                                                                       By: Liz Newman

Abigail Breslin has had the career most actors’ envy, and she doesn’t even have her learner’s permit yet.  We caught up with the 14-year-old starlet – whose starred in hit movies like Little Miss Sunshine, Definitely, Maybe and Signs – to hear about her new animated flick, Rango, and what Johnny Depp is really like.

How was the voice over different work different in Rango, what was it like not just working in a sound booth – was there a difference?

I like how we did it on Rango, because you sort of get to play off of the other actors and get to experience if they say a line a certain way, and it makes you say it differently. That’s a lot of fun. Being in the booth is cool too, but I liked the way we filmed it – we sort of filmed it like a play, so it was fun.

Tell us about Priscilla, the character you play in the movie.

Priscilla is a very morbid, dry, sort of tough mouse – there’s a technical name for the type of animal she is, but it’s easier to just say mouse. She really isn’t so sure of Rango in the beginning and she sort of makes fun of him. She was a lot of fun to play.

How did you get involved with Rango?

Gore Verbinski, the director, sent me a sketch of Priscilla and a letter, and asked me to be in it.  I loved what I saw of Priscilla; I would have just done it based on just how cute she is.  But I really loved the story, and the character is hilarious – so I was really excited to be able to play her.

Were you given the whole script?

Yeah, I knew the whole story – and all the Priscilla themes.  I loved it.

If you were to play another character, other than Priscilla, who would you have chosen?

Oh, that’s really, really hard. I guess there’s one, but I wouldn’t want to say it because I think Priscilla would be awfully offended if I did.

How did you master the Western accent?

Gore had a very specific sort of sound that he wanted Priscilla to sound like; he didn’t want it to be a pretty southern accent, he wanted it to be very rough. I saw a dialect coach in New York and L.A.; we sort of just worked on that.

Was this your first time, when recording your voice, working with Johnny Depp?

Yes, we filmed all of our scenes actually together. That was really great to do. He was really nice, he acted really normal – he wasn’t like “I’m Johnny Depp” or anything, he was a very nice guy.

Did you audition for the part?

I didn’t audition; I was really lucky to be able to just play her.

What is the message you think kids will pick up in this movie?

I think that it is a kids movie, but it’s also something that everybody can enjoy because I think it has a really good story in there, and jokes that adults would understand more than there kids would. But also stuff that the kids could really like, because the characters are really crazy. If you look at everybody in the town, they’re all sort of crazy looking. One of my favorite scenes is when Priscilla and Rango are sort of picking out each other’s flaws, like “you’re hat’s funny looking.” Because, if you look around in the town, it’s not like they’re exclusively odd looking. Everybody is pretty strange looking. And so, you know, I think the message that people take away is that he’s sort of pretending to be this hero, and to just be who you are.

How did you know you wanted to be an actress – how’d you let your parents know you wanted to do this?

My brother started acting before I did, then I just did a commercial and auditioned for the movie Signs and I got it. After I made that, I just kept wanting to do it; I just had so much fun with it.

Did you take acting lessons?

Nope, not really – I just sort of did it.

How are you handling the transition of going from a child to a young adult both in your career and real life?

I don’t know — I turned 14, and people asked me if I feel different, and I think no. I just feel the same I did a day ago when I was 13. I don’t feel like I’ve changed too much.

This movie has a lot of adult humor in it. And other movies like “Alvin and the Chipmunks” tend to dumb-down material to kids — did the fact this movie didn’t appeal to you?f

I must say, I’m a huge Alvin an – I saw it the second day it opened It was very entertaining. I’m a huge animated movie fan. I really want to see Tangled, I saw Despicable Me and loved it and Toy Story 3 and loved it. I do love Alvin – the desktop on my computer for six months. Anyways, I think that’s what’s really great about Rango is that it doesn’t talk down to kids – it’s obviously something that kids can enjoy watching but it doest make it that they’re stupid or something. That’s something that I liked – it’s sort of an edgy animation.

What specifically did you like about “Rango?”

I really did love the character Priscilla, she’s really different than anyone I’ve played or any character that I’ve seen before. When you first see her, you think she’s going to be this cute sweet, little school girl and then she starts talking and she’s totally crazy. She’s out of her mind! So that’s something that really appealed to me about the story.

What was an average day of shooting like?

Basically, we would just go – I would put on my Priscilla wig that had braids and a hat. And we just did the scenes. It was really like any other film, they just didn’t use our faces, just animation.

How do you get into character for some of your emotional roles like in “My Sister’s Keeper?”

I try to put myself in my character’s position. For My Sister’s Keeper, my grandfather died of cancer so I could sort of connect to my character in that sense. I think that with every movie I do, I sort have a personal connection in some way with it. You just sort of have to think of that.

What’s going on with new projects like “Janie Jones” and “New Year’s Eve?”

In terms of Janie Jones – yes, that will be coming out, I don’t have specific date, and I’m excited for that because I get to sing in that movie. And in term of New Year’s Eve I can’t give you any sort of hint there. It’s very hush hush.

Would you say “Little Miss Sunshine,” and your subsequent your Oscar nomination, was the big push in you career?

I loved making Little Miss Sunshine, I was really lucky to be able to do it and it gave me a lot of opportunities. It was a very exciting time to be nominating. I know how exciting it is, so I wish everyone that is nominated the absolute best.

Singer / Songwriter V.V. Brown talks touring with Maroon 5, her upcoming album, and why she misses London

Singer / Songwriter V.V. Brown talks touring with Maroon 5, her upcoming album, and why she misses London
By Liz Newman

So things have really been taking off for you lately, and there was a time you were considering just chucking it all and head back to London – what has made you stick with it and adjust to the hurtles?

I think the success of how things were going in Europe gave me the confidence to believe in myself again – so coming to America was a lot different the second time around. I was a lot older too, so I knew who I was. Also, this time around I had a different record company who I think was a better fit. And generally, it just worked out.

This is your biggest tour to date, correct?

Yes, this is the biggest tour I have done in America; I’ve done tours like this in the UK. But America is definitely different because America is massive. And it is really hot because we are touring in the summer. A lot of the places we go to it is 100 degrees – it is definitely, whoa.

How has it been touring with Maroon 5 – were you nervous at all?

No, I’m not nervous – I am quite relaxed, actually. They’ve treated us really well, and they’re lovely guys. I think it is more a small apprehension because we are still a new band here; I am still a new artist, so not everyone knows the songs so we always have our fingers crossed hoping that there will be some sort of connection with the crowd. But we are here to spread the word, get it out there – so I am grateful to just be on this tour.

I know your music has been featured on popular T.V. shows like “The City” and “Cougar Town” – but is there anything else you have done up to this point that has been a big turning point for you career-wise?

For me, David Letterman was massively big thing; I have always wanted o go on that show. And I think the Degrassi connection – where the songs played on the show – that has been a massive help to people finding out about the songs, so I am really grateful to Nickelodeon for that.

Now that you are getting more and more recognition, have you had any issues adjusting to limelight?

No, I don’t really go to all the clubs and bars where there this paparazzi…I am a quite private person. I don’t think we are big enough yet to have them swarm us. Life has obviously changed because I am traveling a lot and sometimes it is a bit weird when people treat you like they know who you are – even though they haven’t even met me. But I take everything with a pinch of salt, it doesn’t feel too drastic because everything I’m doing is very gradual, everything is a stepping stone.

You have also become known as a fashion icon. Does that show in your music or vice versa?

I think the two are married’ they are very much connected. Both bounce off each other – the music and fashion both come from the individual so it is all coming from me and my identity. I think am moving more into a simplistic sense of fashion, I have just bought loads and loads of black clothes and I think the next album I am going to where black all the time; I really like that simplicity. The next album is gong to be a bit more serious, this one is very fun, colorful and very pop – there is quite a youthful nature to it. The second album is going to reflect where I am at now, I am a much more mature individual know and learned a lot more about life than I did before.

Any pop icons that influence you or you hope to collaborate with?

I love Daevid Allen, he is a fantastic producer and artist and think he’d be a really great collaboration. I am huge fan of Imogen Heap and I do love Lady Gaga as well. I think she is fantastic; she is a great songwriter. And Grace Jones – there’s lots of different people out there.

What about Lady Gaga’s outfit risks?

I am not a huge fan of her fashion sense, but I do respect her boldness and I love the fact she is herself completely and I think she is a true artist and she does what she wants. And she is very hands on with her projects and I think that is a very inspiring things she gives off; you have to respect her for that.

You’ve called yourself a control freak in the past – do you think that helps you maintain calmness on stage?

I am definitely a control freak, it is something that I am dealing with. I think I just really, really want to make sure everything we do is represented correctly. But we have really great team of managers, record company, my band is really fun and great too – so you don’t have to worry so much because everyone is so great at what they do and I just have to make sure that I do my bit as well and then the train moves smoothly. I think the more success we’ve had, the less I’ve felt the need to control everything because it makes me have trust in other people that they can do their job properly.

You’ve been a long way from home for a while now – what’s your favorite part about being on tour?

The traveling part is really fun because you get to see so much of America, but at the same time the traveling is the worst part because you’re not traveling and actually seeing the towns you are waiting around in your tour bus to do your sound checks. So, on he flip side, it can get a bit boring. But I love meeting new people and I love playing the songs. But I am really looking forward to going home; I have been in the states for nearly a year now. I miss London. I miss my cat, my boyfriend and my family – I need a week of normality like cups of tea. But anytime you get homesick, you always kind of remember to be grateful for where you are and what you are doing because at the end of the day, despite it being difficult, you are doing what you love.

Also check out Liz’s blog on NBC-6.