LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - She’s been nominated for an Oscar, is busier than many actresses twice her age and has been named “Female Star of Tomorrow.”
But for Abigail Breslin, the “Little Miss Sunshine” star who turns 12 next month, making movies is still all about having fun and just being a kid.
So her latest film, the adventure comedy “Nim’s Island” in which she plays a girl living on a deserted island with exotic animals for friends and zip lines as transport, was about as good as it gets for Breslin.
“It was so much fun. I got to work with sea lions and bearded dragon lizards and the pelican. I trained them and had to feed them and learned how to make them do tricks,” Breslin told Reuters in an interview.
“I got to do a lot of climbing and running and flying on the zip line, which was really fun. I learned how to do duck dives, how to hold my breath under water and even how to scream under water,” she said.
Breslin’s character Nim uses a zip line cable as a means of whizzing through the rainforest to the beach in her tropical island home.
“Nim’s Island,” based on the children’s book of the same name by Australian author Wendy Orr, has Breslin teamed up with actress Jodie Foster in a rare comic turn. The family-friendly action movie with an underlying message about courage and the meaning of heroism opens in the United States on April 4.
Getting bitten by a spider during the shoot and cooking with live meal worms wasn’t so nice, even for a girl who says she’d like to be a vet when she grows up.
But Breslin, who started acting in commercials at the age of 3 and who has made 14 movies since 2002, shows no desire right now to change her life as a young actress.
“I like it. I’ve been really lucky. I like getting to be somebody else all the time and being able to travel,” she said.
Breslin’s role as an unlikely beauty pageant queen in the 2006 movie “Little Miss Sunshine” made her one of the youngest actresses ever to be nominated for an Oscar.
She was named “Female Star of Tomorrow” in March at the ShoWest movie theater trade convention and was ranked 18 on Entertainment Weekly’s “30 Under 30” list of upcoming young actresses, ahead of Disney favorite Miley “Hannah Montana” Cyrus and Harry Potter series actress Emma Watson.
Despite all the accolades, Breslin is like a breath of fresh air in the often precocious world of child stars.
She is entirely home-schooled, doesn’t read media stories about her and appears to have little concept of the grown up perils that can accompany fame gained at an early age.
She is passionate about her collection of American Girl dolls, so she jumped at the chance to play Depression-era character doll Kit Kittredge in the upcoming summer release “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.”
Her mother, Kim, vets potential scripts. “My mum will tell me if I can read it or not. If I can, I’ll see if I like the character and if it is something I want to do,” she said.
And the only offers Breslin is sure she would turn down right now are those involving creepy crawlies.
“I would not work with spiders,” she said. “I never really liked bugs.”