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In Depth

People In Film | Emma Roberts

Emma Roberts, Dramatically Rich

In Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s upcoming feature It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Emma Roberts plays Noelle, a young woman saddled with stressful emotional issues and locked an adult psych ward. But when she meets Craig (Keir Gilchrist), she finds a kindred spirit and sense of connection. For Roberts, a young actress/singer whose career path is quickly moving from kid roles to adult ones, the character rang more than true. Part of the attraction for Roberts was the source material: “It’s Kind of a Funny Story is one of my favorite books,” she explained. “When I got the call to come in and meet about being in it, I was so excited because I already had an attachment to Noelle.” For her, the character is both dramatically rich and somewhat personal. “Noelle is highly sarcastic,” Roberts notes, “yet she’s cautious when it comes to other people. I can be like that at times.”

Emma Roberts Enters the Family Business

While Emma Roberts was born in the small town of Rhinebeck, New York, her pedigree is Hollywood royalty. The daughter of actor Eric Roberts and Kelly Cunningham, Roberts is also the niece of actress Julia Roberts, on whose sets she could often be found as a child. At age five, she decided she wanted to try her hand at the family trade and pushed to get an audition. As she told W. Magazine, "I always wanted to be an actress…My first audition, while I was 9, was .. playing Johnny Depp's daughter. I think everyone in my family was shocked because they sent me on an the audition to kind of shut me up about the acting thing." But she got the part, and her career was launched.  Unfortunately since the film was rated R, she wasn’t actually allowed to see her own debut.

Emma Roberts Grows up on Screen

Roberts landed a few spots in films, but got her big break in 2004 when at 13, she was cast as the lead of the Nickelodeon series Unfabulous, a comedy about a teen, Addie Singer, who creates songs about just how “unfabulous” her seventh-grade life is. She continued to find roles in young adult films, like playing the title role of the 2007 Nancy Drew, Andrew Fleming’s updating of the famous girl detective. And in the 2009 comedy Hotel For Dogs, Roberts starred as the spunky Andi, a foster care kid who’s out to save her pooch. That same year, Roberts appeared in Derick Martini’s indie drama Lymelife, a period piece that Robert’s described as “kind of like American Beauty meets The Ice Storm. ” Robets recently told the Collider website, “I just feel like with independent movies…  they're really free to do whatever they want. They're not afraid to make a statement about anything.”

Emma Roberts Sings Out

In 2005, Roberts proved herself to be a double threat when she released her debut album, Unfabulous and More. While most of the songs were from her Nickelodeon series Unfabulous (in which she plays a singer), there are additional numbers which demonstrate her pop savvy. Before putting out this album she had added the song “If I Had It My Way” to the Ice Princess soundtrack, and then later added a cover of Weezer’s song “Island in the Sun” for the film Aquamarine (in which she also plays a mermaid). In 2007, she told the Canadian magazine Tribute about her musical future, “Right now I am focusing on movies… I think when I am a little bit older it is definitely something I’d like to pursue.”

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