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"If I can live up to their success, I will be very happy with my career."
"Nancy is a timeless character and I think girls of all ages can relate to her."
"Follow your instincts and do what feels right for you."
"Reading is one of my favorite things to do."
Emma Roberts  

Interviewed by Mark Sells
March 2007

"I've always wanted to act since I could talk," says the sixteen year-old teen sensation, Emma Roberts. And it's blaringly obvious. Born in Rhinebeck, New York to actor Eric Roberts and Kelly Cunningham, and niece to Academy Award winning actress Julia Roberts, Emma has certainly been there, done that, and walked the red carpet.

At the tender age of 9, Emma made her feature film debut in a big way, playing the daughter of Johnny Depp's drug smuggling entrepreneur, George Jung, in Blow. Then she went on to roles in smaller films such as Grand Champion and Spymate. But her real break came in September 2004, when she was cast as Addie Singer in Nickelodeon's hit series "Unfabulous." For her leading role, Emma received a Teen Choice Award nomination and two Young Artist Award nominations. More importantly, the show provided a stage for her acting and musical talents. The latter of which, led to a hit single on Disney's Ice Princess called "If I Had It My Way" and spawned the Billboard heatseeking debut album, "Unfabulous and More: Emma Roberts."

Continuing in the same vane, Emma starred alongside Sara Paxton and JoJo in last year's splash, Aquamarine, and contributed "Island in the Sun" to the film's soundtrack. And this year, she will star as the popular young detective, Nancy Drew, in her very first leading role. Recently named ShoWest's Female Star of Tomorrow, an honor held by such greats as Nicole Kidman, Hilary Swank, and Naomi Watts, the multitalented Emma Roberts seems to be well on her way, building her own mystery.

Reel Questions, Reel Answers

First of all, I have to congratulate you on being named ShoWest's Female Star of Tomorrow. Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz, Hilary Swank, Naomi Watts, and many more, including last year's winner, Jennifer Hudson, have all earned that prestigious honor and gone on to do great things. What does the honor mean to you?

I am very excited to be included with such great talent. I personally admire all of these actresses and if I can live up to their success, I will be very happy with my career.

At 9 years of age, you made your film debut in Blow, opposite another ShoWest Star of Tomorrow named Johnny Depp. What do you remember most about that experience?

I remember being very excited that I booked my first acting job. I was young, so I didn't realize how important Johnny was at the time, and now I'm like, "Cool, I worked with Johnny Depp!" I get asked about Blow a lot. I'm very proud of my work in it. I also remember going to the premiere at Mann Chinese (where Nancy Drew will premiere) and I wasn't allowed to see the movie since it was rated R. I had dinner at Musso and Franks with my manager and then we went to the Hollywood Wax Museum (while my Mom watched the movie).

Initially, your mother opposed your involvement in film, wanting you to have a normal childhood. How did you persuade her otherwise and how has she influenced your career thus far?

I've always wanted to act since I could talk so I was constantly bugging her about letting me audition. Finally she just gave in. She's been very supportive and has helped me make good decisions.

As a child, you spent a lot of time on set with your Aunt. What was that experience like? And at what moment did you realize you wanted to give acting a shot?

Like I said, very early on I knew I wanted to act. Being on sets with my Aunt made the whole experience familiar, which made it much easier for me to do it. I always feel at home on sets. I like meeting new people and making new friends.

Out of all the movies your father and your Aunt have done, what are your favorites?

Well, I haven't really seen many of my dad's films since they are more adult, but I love him on "Heroes!" I love all of my Aunt's movies, but I think Mona Lisa Smile is one of my favorites.

Over 200 million Nancy Drew mystery books have been sold over the years. What do you think makes them so popular?

Nancy is a timeless character and I think girls of all ages can relate to her. She's been such a stable character, someone that we can turn to. It's nice to have that today, especially with how things have changed so much in the world. I hope everyone likes her as much in the movie! I really enjoyed playing her.

Nancy Drew has gone through several transformations since the 1940s. From blonde to strawberry blonde hair, an affluent to casual fashion style, and reckless to conservative behavior. For the film, what transformation or update was given to the character? Or how does this Nancy Drew differ from the ones portrayed in the books?

I'm not really sure how she is different or similar to the books, but in the movie she is dressed in a timeless way. Her clothes are very Jackie-O, kind of 50's looking, yet looks totally cool today. That's what I love about her. She marches to her own beat. All the kids (in the film) are modern day, Hollywood High kids, but Nancy has her own sense of style, which can work in any period.

Are there any similarities between Nancy Drew and Emma Roberts?

Yes, there are. And I've just learned them since everyone asks me this question. Nancy and I are both passionate, determined and ambitious. She will not give up until she gets the result she wants. I am very similar in that way.

Occasionally, Nancy has been known to carry a gun, trespass or break into buildings, crack safes and pick locks, and drive her blue roadster at dangerously high speeds. In the film, how much of the role was physical? What types of stunts or challenges did you face??

Well, she has fifteen more years of life. None of us go through life without pain and sorrow and joy and all of that registers in us as human beings. I'm sure she drew on that.

I'd like to say I did all of the stunts, but we did have a double for safety reasons. I promise you, there is lots of action, breaking into buildings and car chases. Some of it is really me, but the really dangerous stuff was my stunt double.

What was your favorite memory or moment from the making of Nancy Drew? Least favorite?

That's a tough one. I think my favorite memory was my first day on the set. It was so exciting to be filming this great movie and character. I can't think of a least favorite. It was all so much fun. I really enjoyed doing this film.

Your music ability helped land you the starring role in the fabulous Nickelodeon series "Unfabulous." And music continues to be a big part of your career. Who are your past and present influences? And will you contribute any songs to the Nancy Drew soundtrack?

I love doing music and did record a soundtrack for "Unfabulous." Music is on hold for me right now since I'm doing more films. I may do a song for ND, but I'm not sure yet. It needs to be the right song. I currently love the Veronikas, Michelle Branch, Gwen Stefani...

What's the best advice you've ever been given as an actress? And what advice would you have for young, aspiring actresses today?

Best advice is to follow your instincts and do what feels right for you. I would tell young actresses today to be passionate and believe in yourself. I think success in this business is 50% talent and 50% confidence. If you're confident then you're already half way there!

What can you tell me about some of your upcoming projects in film, television, and music?

The 3rd and final season of "Unfabulous" will premiere in June on Nickelodeon. Nancy Drew opens June 15th. And I'm planning on doing a great film this summer, but I'm not allowed to mention it yet.

Lastly, what's the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

That I like to read. I read about one to two books a week. Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I also LOVE to shop. Shoes and bags are my favorites.

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