Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Abigail Breslin

The star of this week's Janie Jones drops by for a chat about movies, music, and her career.

by | October 28, 2011 | Comments

Since her acting debut in Signs (at age six) and Oscar nomination for Little Miss Sunshine (at age 10), Abigail Breslin has taken an unpredictable path in her film roles, appearing in everything from family movies to heartstring-heavy dramas to unabashed horror-comedy — as Zombieland‘s gun-toting scamp Little Rock, she got to indulge in what few of her young peers are allowed; namely, blowing away hordes of the undead. This year, Breslin’s already lent her voice to probably the best, and certainly the most original American animated feature, Rango, and she’ll soon appear (alongside practically everyone else in Hollywood) in the romantic comedy New Year’s Eve; while next year brings a transition to teenage roles — including a high school murderess in the very Heavenly Creatures-sounding Innocence. In this week’s Janie Jones, Breslin plays the title character, a 13-year-old girl set adrift from her single mother to reconnects with her boozy rock-n-roll dad, played by Alessandro Nivola. We sat down with the young actress to talk about the movie and her music, where she sees her career headed, and her Five Favorite Films (with a little assist from her mom).

Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944; 100% Tomatometer)

One would probably be Meet Me in St. Louis, which I love. Meet Me in St. Louis I love because I love Margaret O’Brien, and I actually got to meet her in person — she was so sweet and so cool. She was my favorite. So I love that movie.

Insidious (James Wan, 2011; 67% Tomatometer)

I guess I’ll have to do one horror movie because it’s my thing; I love horror movies. So my favorite horror movie would be… [pauses] I guess I’ll just go with a recent one that I really like right now, which was Insidious. I actually really liked that. It was kind of like, in some ways kind of campy, but it was so fun the way it was done. I loved the storyline of it all, and the ending was really cool.

The Help (Tate Taylor, 2011; 74% Tomatometer)

A recent movie that I really liked was The Help. I thought The Help was really, really good. And I love all the actors in it, who I thought were just amazing. I love Jessica Chastain, and Viola Davis and, you know, Emma Stone too, ’cause I worked with her. And Octavia Spencer. I thought they were all amazing.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Robert Aldrich, 1962; 89% Tomatometer)

Oh, the Bette Davis one — What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? I really like… I really love that movie. She’s kind of like really crazy and creepy. It’s one of the most — it’s not really a horror movie, but it’s so eerie and creepy.

Prancer (John D. Hancock, 1989; 69% Tomatometer)

And then finally I love… [long pause] Can I think about the last one? [Breslin’s mother intervenes: “For sentimental reasons the one you always loved was Prancer,” she suggests, laughing.] Oh yeah, I loved Prancer. Oh my god. [Laughs] I actually, really— okay, yeah, I’ll put that. So that movie, for sentimental reasons, and just because I still love it. It still has to be watched every Christmas. [Mom laughs in the background. ]

How many times have you seen it?

Oh, probably over a hundred. Especially when I was younger, I watched it like every day.

Do you know I’ve never seen it?

Oh my gosh, shame on you! Now you must.

Next, Breslin talks about Janie Jones, starting her music career, and her mini-obsession with Little Rock.


So, Janie Jones. I was impressed that you did all your own singing and playing in the movie. Was that something that attracted you to the part, or were you already performing music?

Abigail Breslin: Well I’d never really done music before, except for, you know, church Christmas parties and stuff like that. I’d never sung that much before, so it was definitely nerve-racking to come in — especially with Alessandro, who was such a good guitar player and singer. So that was definitely nerve-racking, but at the same time it was a lot of fun and it kind of inspired me to learn more. I taught myself guitar and took more vocal lessons, and now I actually have my own band; so that’s kind of cool.

How’s that going?

It’s going well. The band’s going good. It’s called CABB, with two “b”s, and actually our first song is coming out today and it’s called “Well Wishes.”

What kind of music do you play? “Who are your influences?”

[Laughs] Who are my influences! I kind of like… I love Adele, I love Foster the People, Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson, The Vaccines. And then my best friend, who’s also in the band, she kind of likes different stuff, like Lady Gaga; so it’s kind of like a merger of the two.

Is music something you might consider pursuing as well as acting?

Yeah, I mean definitely. We’re working on an album right now. It’s definitely something that I love doing and can hopefully, you know, do both.

You and Alessandro kind of have a bond on screen — did you become close off-screen to get that dynamic?

Well, I mean, the first time we met was on set — except, actually my brother Spencer did a movie with Alessandro’s wife, Emily, so we met when I was three. [Laughs] I don’t think we “met.” So when we first met on set, one of the first scenes we did was a very awkward and uncomfortable “first meeting” scene, and it kind of worked out well — as we got to know each other, as the characters got to know each other, we got to know each other in real life. So that was kind of cool.

You first meet him in Little Rock. Was that a coincidence, or did you have that written into the script?

[Laughs] No! Because of my character in Zombieland?


Well, what’s interesting is that while I was filming Zombieland I was reading this script, and my character was “Little Rock,” so… [laughs] I actually really like the city Little Rock in real life.

You need to find a way to work this into all of your films.

[Laughs] Exactly. I need to find a way. It’ll be like a thing. Every movie that you see of mine will have, like, “Little Rock Dry Cleaning” or something like that.

And then you’ll know it’s an “Abigail Breslin Film.”

Then you’ll know — you will know. [Laughs]

You can go back into your old films and have it digitally inserted.

Yeah, I know! [Laughs] I need to go back into all of them. You’ll see Little Miss Sunshine and instead of it being at, like, Redondo Beach, it’ll say “Welcome to Little Rock” in a really cheesy voiceover. It’ll sound really bad, but it’ll work!

Looking at your film choices since your Oscar nomination, you seem to be taking pretty varied roles — from Zombieland to character work in Rango and now this — is there a plan to it?

I don’t really have a set plan of what I feel like I should do, but I definitely like to play characters that I’ve never played before, and do different ones. I just feel like I’d get bored playing the same character over and over again. So I do try and do different roles, but there’s no set plan. I just go script-by-script, and if I like the character and the story, and if it’s a character that I’d want to know in real life, then that’s sort of why I do it.

Janie Jones is released in theaters and on VOD this week.

Tag Cloud

Awards Tour golden globes LGBTQ RT History crossover A&E The Walking Dead comics The CW movies vampires Captain marvel Music Valentine's Day Quiz cars Heroines Classic Film book children's TV Binge Guide casting Mary Tyler Moore mockumentary Awards Trailer Year in Review space dramedy Holiday series richard e. Grant WGN ESPN Adult Swim Holidays GoT HBO DirecTV FXX Countdown mutant First Reviews Comedy Central Musical transformers Song of Ice and Fire Schedule NBC Ellie Kemper HBO Max Comics on TV Super Bowl USA what to watch Tomatazos OWN revenge tv talk Character Guide Bravo romance festivals renewed TV shows ghosts Western Pixar docudrama Masterpiece anthology The Purge GLAAD spanish language Marvel Television Chilling Adventures of Sabrina BET animated YouTube First Look Dark Horse Comics 2016 Spike finale comic Grammys Action TNT nature dragons DC Universe Acorn TV technology spy thriller crime drama Watching Series Ghostbusters Apple latino Winter TV spinoff cats Calendar ratings A24 TV New York Comic Con Comedy Pride Month teaser Lionsgate IFC Lucasfilm Country Family Sundance Now sitcom MCU Box Office disaster TBS Walt Disney Pictures Shondaland Teen Emmy Nominations zero dark thirty natural history Reality Competition Disney+ Disney Plus Rom-Com miniseries jamie lee curtis discovery Disney Thanksgiving National Geographic doctor who FOX 24 frames cooking anime Logo Rock Emmys Rocky Sneak Peek zombies spain hist E! Winners Amazon Prime Video indie hispanic USA Network adventure composers facebook Mudbound Sony Pictures 2020 TruTV Trophy Talk Hulu Oscars TCA 2017 biography Podcast MTV unscripted Trivia 2017 cancelled TV series Star Trek Martial Arts Television Academy social media Marvel blockbuster south america Summer DGA boxoffice cancelled television Comic Book Turner APB 2015 Mary poppins President Fall TV Columbia Pictures aliens Sci-Fi harry potter Film Festival Apple TV+ medical drama political drama talk show Interview Mary Poppins Returns TCM diversity YouTube Premium Nickelodeon Crackle ABC Family Hallmark Tumblr Elton John cancelled quibi Lifetime Christmas movies Best and Worst IFC Films serial killer The Witch binge BBC America singing competition game of thrones Drama strong female leads SundanceTV witnail free movies supernatural Creative Arts Emmys CMT Apple TV Plus RT21 crime Writers Guild of America romantic comedy BBC History adaptation Marathons christmas movies cancelled TV shows 45 Crunchyroll Sundance Stephen King rotten movies we love ITV Certified Fresh Superheroes Extras YA crime thriller SDCC Arrowverse 21st Century Fox Photos Mystery breaking bad American Society of Cinematographers Warner Bros. Red Carpet sequel Election FX spider-man Nominations Kids & Family Marvel Studios theme song psychological thriller period drama zombie historical drama 71st Emmy Awards WarnerMedia halloween VH1 toy story independent canceled TV shows video Video Games The Arrangement Biopics cults Premiere Dates Fantasy blaxploitation 007 Ovation Disney streaming service Star Wars Amazon Prime VICE TV renewals MSNBC Showtime Pirates Epix batman Turner Classic Movies green book comiccon 2019 thriller Tarantino police drama Spectrum Originals Freeform YouTube Red TIFF dc ABC Opinion politics PBS cinemax Horror Fox News television SXSW elevated horror travel Christmas Mindy Kaling Brie Larson Hallmark Christmas movies Spring TV versus justice league robots kids stand-up comedy San Diego Comic-Con TCA X-Men psycho CBS All Access See It Skip It canceled true crime werewolf Vudu GIFs sports screenings Disney Channel Syfy Lifetime Reality LGBT based on movie Cannes TLC Pop Superheroe DC Comics El Rey cartoon Animation PaleyFest Esquire Rocketman AMC Amazon streaming Infographic award winner CNN Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Netflix Christmas movies slashers 2018 Set visit Nat Geo Disney Plus Toys Polls and Games Britbox Anna Paquin Peacock Women's History Month science fiction foreign CW Seed Food Network cops Pet Sematary E3 CBS Universal DC streaming service game show Shudder Paramount Network war 20th Century Fox Paramount Cosplay Black Mirror Musicals Netflix Cartoon Network Film Chernobyl dceu NYCC joker TV Land Starz