Abigail Breslin may only be twelve, but she’s already a veteran movie actress, with an ever-growing resume, lead roles in several features, and an Academy Award nomination for “Little Miss Sunshine.” (During a recent Dallas interview, she recalled, “When I found out I was nominated, I was still in bed. My mom woke me up and told me. I was so excited. And then I said, I think I’ll go back to bed. I was so tired.”)
Breslin’s latest is “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl,” based on one of the dolls of that line—a Depression-era girl from Cincinnati who plays detective to save her young hobo friends from false accusations of theft while saving the family home by becoming a reporter for the local paper.
During the Dallas stopover, the young actress explained how excited she’d been to get the part: “I’ve always really liked the American Girl dolls, so when I found out I was going to get to do the movie, I went, ‘Oh my God, I can’t wait!’ I have all of them—every single one, except for Ruthie. I don’t have the Ruthie doll yet, and I want to get it now. And [Kit] was one of my favorites even before I started making the movie. I liked how soft her hair was. I also read all the Kit books while I was doing the movie [although] I never got to finish the last one.”
Making the movie, Breslin said, was fun. “All [the other actors] were very nice,” she said. “And I learned to ride the roller skates, which was fun—but I didn’t actually do it in the movie. I learned how to and everything, but [the stunt girl] was a better skater. The hardest scenes were the crying scenes, because I don’t like crying that much. That was kind of hard.”
So was the weather. The movie was shot in Toronto between May and June, but, as Breslin said, “It was supposed to be October and November. So I was in this cold weather stuff—sweater, skirt and really thick socks and shoes and a hat in this really warm tree house with four other girls and a monkey. And I’m like, this isn’t working out. And then putting our hands in a bowl of hot water!” The water was part of a club initiation ceremony.
The shoot was educational, though. “My grandma grew up in the Great Depression,” Breslin said. “So she told me a little bit about how everybody was in the same situation. I had heard about it, but I didn’t really know exactly what it was. I really learned about it on the movie. Just doing the movie, I was learning so much about it. They would explain it to me.”
But Breslin doubted that she could have really lived during the 1930s. Speaking like a real child of the twenty-first century, she said, “I don’t know, because I couldn’t, like, deal without texting.
“I don’t know what I’d do with my thumbs.”