At age 15, life was a mystery to Emma Roberts. At 17, her life has gone to the dogs.
Don’t worry about the young actress, though. In her life and career, everything is moving ahead exactly right.
Roberts played teen sleuth Nancy Drew in the 2007 film of the same name. Now she’s starring in “Hotel for Dogs,” which opened Friday. She plays a foster child who helps set up a sanctuary for stray canines.
A week before the opening, Roberts is at the W Hotel. She’s spending the day chatting about everything from her aunt, Julia Roberts, to her Chihuahua Twiggy. Work keeps her from seeing both as much as she would like.
Roberts has been able to pack a lot of acting into only a few years, having started at age 10. Over the next few months, along with “Hotel for Dogs,” she has two independent movies – “Lymelife” and “The Wining Season” – scheduled to be shown at the Sundance Film Festival.
And “Wild Child,” which she filmed last year in England, is supposed to hit theaters in May.
None of the other roles came with the same demands of working with so many four-legged “Hotel” co-stars. All of the humans in “Hotel for Dogs” had to be 100 percent ready each time the cameras rolled. A scene would be reshot if the dogs did not perform the way planned.
“If the dogs mess up we do it again. But if the dog does it right, and you mess up, you feel so bad. What if it doesn’t do it again? So we had to be on our toes,” Roberts says.
Roberts knew as soon as she started reading the script for “Hotel for Dogs” she wanted to be part of the movie no matter how demanding it can be to work with animals. She’s been working long enough to know that if a script is boring to her by page 20, she doesn’t want to be part of the project.
The scripts she has selected have been more of a career outline than a plan. Roberts is trying to fashion her professional life after the likes of Shia LaBeouf, Anne Hathaway or Natalie Portman. Each was able to make the transition from being a young actor into more mature roles almost without notice.
“I don’t want to do anything outrageous. I have seen some actresses who turn 18, and they do these provocative photo shoots and terrible movies to show something that is not there,” Roberts says.
Roberts knows this isn’t the first dog movie to hit theaters in the last six months. There’ve been “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” the animated “Bolt” and the heart-tugging “Marley & Me.”
Roberts’ film is equally as family friendly. She thinks her dog show has one thing that will draw moviegoers back to theaters.
“I thought this film was special,” Roberts says. “While it is about dogs, it is also a movie about family. It has a great message about how family just doesn’t have to be those you are related to. It can be those you feel comfortable with.”
The birthday bunch
Actress Betty White is 87. Actor James Earl Jones is 78. Talk-show host Maury Povich is 70. Former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor is 61. Singer Steve Earle is 54. Singer Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles is 50. Actor Jim Carrey is 47. Actor Joshua Malina is 43. Actor Naveen Andrews is 40. Musician Kid Rock is 38. Actor Freddy Rodriguez is 34. Actress Zooey Deschanel is 29.
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