NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former “Little Miss Sunshine” star Abigail Breslin, currently bringing tears to the eyes of Broadway theater audiences as the blind and deaf Helen Keller, has a grown-up message for movie scouts. She’s ready for much darker roles.
Serious horror films, to be precise. Or, suggests Breslin, perhaps a meaty role such as Lady Jane Grey, who as a teenager ruled England for a brief period before being beheaded.
“I am obsessed with horror movies,” Breslin, now aged 13, said in an interview near the theater where she has garnered critical praise for a convincing Broadway debut as a distressed 6-year-old Keller in “The Miracle Worker.”
“I would love to do a ‘Scream’-type movie.”
This may come as a surprise to audiences who warmed to Breslin as bespectacled and adorable aspiring beauty pageant queen Olive Hoover in the 2006 film, “Little Miss Sunshine”.
Fans also know her for “Zombieland” (2009) and sci-fi thriller “Signs,” her first movie at the age of five.
For “Little Miss Sunshine,” she became one of the youngest Oscar nominees for best supporting actress. Breslin is still level-headed beyond her years about the pressure of playing Keller in the revival of the 1959 play.
“I was nervous to play her but I think that it is best to try and not think about that and just try to do your best, whatever it is,” she said.
Even though it has not been a box office smash, Breslin won praise from critics for her performance, in which she utters grunts not words for most of the play and expresses her frustration through physical actions.
“In her Broadway debut as Helen, adorable Little Miss Sunshine star Abigail Breslin manages to make her mute, tortured character moving, without turning her into a creature of pity,” said USA Today.
Breslin rehearsed six hours a day, six days a week for the show, in between home schooling.
“It’s definitely the most physical role that I have ever done,” said Breslin. “It’s really a more frustrated physicality. It’s tantrums, it’s fights, it’s slaps and it’s falls and it’s pretty tense.”
The New York-born actress, who conducts her interviews with her mother, Kim, by her side, said she is far sunnier in real life.
“I am not an angry person so it was always kind of hard for me to have that rage or be mad or anything,” she said.
Nor is she prone to adolescent rants or dramatics often displayed in precocious child actors. And even though she is scoring older roles, she has yet to kiss anyone on screen.
“Not yet. No, that has not come up,” she said quickly.
She isn’t focusing too much on cliched teen roles, she said, but chooses her parts based on the story.
“I don’t think you have to be smart. I just think if you like movies and if you have fun with it, then that’s why you should do it,” she said.
And she still watches movies enjoyed by any other teenager, which includes, of course, vampires and blood.
“I love ‘Twilight’. I saw the first movie 12 times,” she said. “And my cousin saw it 24 times. Yeah, she counted!”
editing by Jill Serjeant