Hello everyone. It’s been over a year since I stopped blogging. I’m coming back now and I’ll start off with a get-to-know series on young actors and actresses. I’ll begin with AnnaSophia Robb since I’ve been seeing her a lot lately in movies.
Go here for Part 2 of this post -> Rising stars: Get to know AnnaSophia Robb – Part 2 of 3
The lovely AnnaSophia Robb is going to be a powerful force in Hollywood. From the age of three, she wanted to be an entertainer. At the age of five, AnnaSophia started out on a church stage singing in front of 500 people in her home state of Colorado. She dreamed big and found her calling in the entertainment industry. When most kids were simply watching afternoon television and playing sports, AnnaSophia was asking her mother how people get into movies and get on TV. Her mother told her that she needed an agent. By the age of eight she was taking acting classes, and by age nine she was finally scouted by an agency.
“I just love to perform. That’s all I can ever remember wanting to do,” AnnaSophia explains. “When I was about 8, I begged my mom for an agent because that’s how I heard actors got started. After taking an acting class, I was invited to come out to L.A. It just all kind of started from there.”
In 2003, she set off on her first round of L.A. auditions during the pilot season. Her family lived in a guest house as he father worked and her mother drove her around to auditions in the daytime. More than 40 auditions later, AnnaSophia had finally gotten her first real gig in a commercial advertising Bratz dolls and Happy Meals for McDonalds.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited in my life. I mean, I get excited when I hear that I [got] a movie and it’s really going to happen–I’m always jumping up and down and ” screaming. But this McDonald’s commercial was just the biggest deal ever. We ate cold french fries and old Chicken McNuggets for a really long time. But I thought it was just the best job ever. I loved meeting all of the people and all of the food.” – AnnaSophia Robb on getting her first gig for McDonalds.
Living a double life is not easy. Young actors and actresses can get caught up in the whole stereotypical Hollywood scene, and they could end up in weekly tabloids or be those child star wonders who only make it for a few years. They need to face complicated career choices and navigate through the pressures of celebrity culture. However, AnnaSophia Robb won’t let the fame go to her head. She’s still living in her hometown in Denver, Colorado and started attending a public school in the area after several years of homeschooling. When she started freshman year at the new school last fall, many of her classmates were oblivious to who she was until a trailer for her movie ran on national TV during the Super Bowl.
“The Race to Witch Mountain ad came on during the Super Bowl and, of course, the whole school watched it. By Monday, everyone had seen it. They didn’t act any different. It wasn’t like, ‘You are in a movie!’ It was just kind of like, ‘You worked with Dwayne Johnson–that is so cool! He is so hot!'” – AnnaSophia Robb on being exposed at her high school.
In addition to acting, her other interests include several forms of dancing such as jazz and hip-hop, gymnastics, swimming, skiing, kickboxing, reading, and running on her school’s cross country team. Here’s a quick rundown on some of her more popular mainstream movies.
Because of Winn-Dixie (2005)
Although she made her acting debut in 2004 after landing some television gigs, it wasn’t until 2005 that she gained popularity on the big screen. Her first major on screen appearance was an adaptation of a popular children’s book. On her second trip to L.A., AnnaSophia did three auditions and a screen test…and finally accepted the lead role for Opal in Because of Winn-Dixie. I saw this movie and it’s one of those funny and touching family movies. It’s no different than seeing any other Disney movie except there’s no singing, but there is a monkey and a small pig listening to Dave Matthews play the guitar. Yes, Dave Matthews as in Dave Matthews band.
The movie is about a lonely 10 year old girl who has just moved to the small town of Naomi, Florida. During the summer, she finds a dog wreaking havoc in a Winn-Dixie supermarket. She takes the dog in and discovers that Winn-Dixie becomes friends with everyone he meets and she meets new people along the way as well. Opal rekindles a relationship with her father and discovers that each person in her town had a sad and lonely past. The dog is the key to bringing everyone together. She realizes that almost everything good that happened to her over the summer was because of Winn-Dixie. Cue laughter. Roll on snare drum. Females say awwww.
“Wayne Wang, the director, really helped me become a more mature actress. When I first started filming, I was really over the top. He just helped bring me down and make me real. That was really wonderful, a really wonderful experience. Also, what I learned about filming is it takes forever. I mean, there are so many different angles and shots. I mean, it just takes forever.” – AnnaSophia Robb on what she learned filming her first movie.
On the Ellen Degeneres show
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was her second major movie in 2005 and it was a box office hit worldwide. She played the gum-chewing karate chopping brat Violet Beauregarde. This movie was a breakout role for her and helped escalate AnnaSophia’s popularity among teen audiences. I thought this movie was great. Fantastic cast, visually stunning, and a much better Willy Wonka played by the talented Johnny Depp. This movie adaptation was also closer to the book.
Great interview with Diane Sawyer on being Violet Beauregarde
Some Violet Beauregarde scenes from the movie.
Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
Based on an award winning children’s book written by Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia was inspired by her son David Paterson. During his childhood, David’s friend died and this story was her attempt to make sense of that loss.
This was the second movie I saw AnnaSophia Robb in and she impressed me. I hadn’t noticed her too much before this movie. She plays Leslie Burke, an eccentric and charming girl who moves in next door to Jesse Aarons played by Josh Hutcherson. This role was a natural fit for her. Bridge to Terabithia really resonated with me because of the parallels to my childhood; mostly my interest in art/drawing, my big imagination, and my love of doing things outdoors when I was a kid. I didn’t read the book as a kid so I didn’t know what the movie was really about. When I first saw the trailer to this, I thought oh it looks like another copycat movie to the whole Chronicles of Narnia craze.
I was definitely fooled, as this movie is much deeper and touches on several mature themes. I can see why they did that for the trailer though. It’s tough to draw audiences to a fantasy adventure movie like this without having some sort of action sequences. Many people didn’t read the book though and despite the surprises, many people ended up loving the movie for the story.
AnnaSophia had read “Bridge to Terabithia” before she auditioned for the film and was already a huge fan. “I remember I would stay up late reading the book and then wake up and start reading again in the morning,” she says. “It touched me in a way I hadn’t been touched by a book before. I really loved the characters and all the imagination. I think it reminds me that even though I have to grow up, I don’t ever have to stop pretending and imagining.”
AnnaSophia especially felt close to Leslie. “She’s one of those people who’s just always lit up, who has this glow about her, and no one can bring her down,” she says. “Leslie’s such a lively and energetic character, it was really fun for me to become her.”
On March 30, 2008, Robb won her first career award when she was named “Leading Young Actress” at the Young Artist Awards for her role in Bridge To Terabithia. The film itself won a Young Ensemble Cast award.
DVD release interview with co-star Josh Hutcherson
The Reaping (2007)
Starring opposite Hilary Swank, AnnaSophia was pretty creepy in this movie playing a child (Loren McConnell) who helps rain 10 horrible plagues on a town. Most of the acting in this movie was basically just creepy staring and some ambiguous lines. It seems like every child actor needs to have the obligatory scary kid role. During the filming of The Reaping, AnnaSophia wrote her own horror story titled “Backseat Swamp” which you can view here on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wytHiAB9040
“Being able to do this film with Hilary Swank was, that’s a really big reason why I did it,” explained Robb. “And I just really enjoyed working with her and she gave me some good acting tips. Just acting, being able to do some intense scenes around her, was just really a great opportunity for me. I loved being able to work with her.” – AnnaSophia Robb on working with Hilary Swank
Nice interview with a movie critic
Race to Witch Mountain (2009)
I never saw the original movies so I can’t compare this reboot to the older ones. However, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is in this and any movie with him is guaranteed to be entertaining. The guy has awesome screen presence and he’s funny which makes him even better. AnnaSophia Robb plays an alien named Sara who comes to earth with her brother Seth (played by Alexander Ludwig). They are searching for a device to save their home world and they enlist the help of a cab driver (Jack Bruno played by Dwayne Johnson) and a UFO expert (played by Carla Gugino). This movie is supposed to be an action packed “re-imagining” of the original…and I guess it is. I definitely liked it. It was entertaining and had plenty of action to steamroll you to the finish. As far as Disney action movies go, I’m not sure if they could have made this any better. Bring your kids, family, friends, whatever.
“I had a hard time not laughing all the time. We were cracking up on set. We had so much fun. Between Andy Fickman and Dwayne, who is such a character and so hilarious, and Alexander, who is like my favorite person in the whole world, we were having such a great time. It was really a happy set.” – AnnaSophia Robb on her experience filming Race to Witch Mountain
These first two videos are dubbed in Russian for the first 40 seconds or so, but the INTERVIEWS are in English.
Funny interview (starts at 40 second mark) between AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig, and Dwayne Johnson. Part 1 of 2
Funny interview (starts at 39 second mark) between AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig, and Dwayne Johnson. Part 2 of 2
Rare look behind the scenes with AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig, and Andy Fickman
Funny interview with AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig on the Bonnie Hunt show.
AnnaSophia Robb has shown a great acting range and style beyond her years. The similarity to Dakota Fanning’s success is uncanny. She’s a powerful force indeed.
I’ll be going through some of her lesser known movies in Part 2. Stay tuned.
Go here for Part 2 of this post -> Rising stars: Get to know AnnaSophia Robb – Part 2 of 3
Some quotes taken from GL Magazine. Some pictures from http://www.annasophia-robb.org/
Links to interviews of ASR