Casting Emma Roberts: A Shrewd Choice
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Sometimes it takes a mom to put things into perspective.
Emma Roberts, the young star of the Nancy Drew film that opens Friday, is apparently so likable, so professional, so wholesome that even a makeup artist she works with throughout an entire day can't help raving about her. Her directors use terms like "one of a kind" and talk about how she knows the names of all the crew members on her various sets -- plus the names of their kids.
By the time the creator of the Nickelodeon tween series "Unfabulous" -- Emma's breakout vehicle -- mentions that Roberts sang the goody-good "Hopelessly Devoted to You" from "Grease" at her audition, a reporter's sweet-o-meter is headed off the charts.
"She just twinkled," says Nickelodeon's Sue Rose.
Sure enough, when 16-year-old Emma rolls into town to promote her turn in "Nancy Drew" -- in which she's all Peter Pan collars and penny loafers and healthy lunches packed in a metal lunch pail, even though the film is set in modern-day Los Angeles -- it's hard not to fall for her. She settles in for an interview at the Four Seasons in worn ballet flats, black jeans, a T-shirt and a tiny cardigan sweater. Her eyes are huge, her smile natural, her demeanor unfailingly polite.
All anyone seems to hear about these days are the bad girls of Hollywood: Lohan and Spears and Hilton, rehab and jail, DUIs and drugs and unfortunately revealing wardrobe choices. The age-old image of the Hollywood princess -- think Emma's aunt Julia Roberts -- has been dwarfed by the drumbeat of girls gone wild.
Heck, even Emma's next project is tentatively titled "Wild Child," which she describes: Spoiled Malibu teenager is so out of control that she gets packed off to boarding school in England.
Any vestiges of yourself in that character?
"There are certain aspects I can relate myself to in that character," she says.
Really? Like what?
"She's really sassy and has an attitude and stuff."