Although she's been acting professionally since her small role in 2001's "Blow," [movieperson id="249517"]Emma Roberts[/movieperson] really burst onto the scene as spy kid Nancy Drew. Now, the 17-year-old is starring in the kid-friendly comedy [movie id="366067"]"Hotel for Dogs,"[/movie] due to hit theaters in January.
In the film, based on the book by Lois Duncan, Roberts stars as orphan Andi. Andi and her brother Bruce, played by "Wizards of Waverly Place" star [movieperson id="405975"]Jake T. Austin[/movieperson], are living with a pair of nightmare foster parents: wannabe rockers played by Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon.
"It was amazing to work with everyone in the movie. Lisa Kudrow was so much fun — I had a hard time keeping a straight face," she told MTV News. "And Kevin Dillon is hilarious. I love him on 'Entourage.' "
The kids, who have to keep their pet dog Friday a secret, begin to rescue stray dogs, and in the process, they end up finding a home for themselves. "It was a fun character to play," she said. "I have a little sister, so I can relate to being protective over a younger sibling. It was great to show my sisterly instincts."
[movieperson id="11197"]0Don Cheadle[/movieperson], who plays the kids' social worker in "Hotel for Dogs," apparently took the part because his children are big fans of the young actress. "Don is such a nice guy. I absolutely adore him," Roberts gushed. "It's so nice to hear when anyone's a fan. That's really sweet [that his kids feel that way]."
Roberts is quickly assembling an admirably diverse résumé. Next up are two Sundance-ready films: "Lymelife" with Alec Baldwin and Cynthia Nixon and "The Winning Season" with Sam Rockwell.
"Sam Rockwell was hilarious — I've known him for a really long time," she said. "And Alec Baldwin is such a nice guy. He was great."
The films gave her the opportunity to explore some new kinds of characters. " 'Lymelife' is a small independent [film] — edgy and dark," she said. "I play kind of a typical girl from Long Island. It's in the '70s, so I got to wear really cool clothes.
"I had to learn to play basketball for ['Winning Season']," she continued. "It was really hard for me. It was a fun challenge, but I will probably never pick up a basketball again!"
Roberts was born into a Hollywood family, so for her, stardom should come easily. Her dad is actor Eric Roberts, and her aunt is Julia Roberts. She says that they always knew she'd become a Hollywood player.
"I think everyone was just kind of anticipating it," she said. "We don't really talk about that aspect of work. I don't see them often, so we just catch up on personal lives."
Roberts also tries to stay out of the Hollywood scene, opting to hang with her own group of friends. These days, when she's not working, she's focusing on applying to college. "I'm not really friends with any of those people," she said, referring to the young Hollywood set. "I think the Jonas Brothers are cool. I have my own group of friends. We do our own thing."
Although she's focused on trying her hand at movies and would love the chance to work with director Sofia Coppola and Natalie Portman, the former star of Nickelodeon's "Unfabulous" said she wouldn't mind more television roles either, perhaps on "Grey's Anatomy" or on a possible teen version of "Sex and the City."
"Well, of course everyone wants to be Sarah Jessica Parker," she laughed. "I don't look like her. So I guess I'd be Charlotte. I'm not Charlotte in real life at all. Probably most like Carrie, but I think everyone thinks they're like Carrie."
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