Abigail Breslin

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Abigail Breslin
Abigail Breslin by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Born
Abigail Kathleen Breslin

(1996-04-14) April 14, 1996 (age 24)
OccupationActress, singer
Years active2002–present
RelativesSpencer Breslin (brother)

Abigail Kathleen Breslin (born April 14, 1996)[1] is an American actress and singer. Born and raised in New York City, Breslin began acting in commercials when she was three years old and made her film debut in M. Night Shyamalan's science fiction horror film Signs (2002), at the age of five,[2] for which she was nominated for a Young Artist Award. Following early roles in Raising Helen (2004) and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004), Breslin garnered critical acclaim for her performance as Olive Hoover in the road comedy-drama Little Miss Sunshine (2006), for which she earned nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Award, BAFTA, and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Young Performer.[3]

Breslin went on to establish herself as a leading child actress with roles in the romantic-comedy No Reservations (2007), for which she was nominated for a Critics' Choice Award, Nim's Island (2008), Definitely, Maybe (2008), My Sister's Keeper (2009), Zombieland (2009), Rango (2011), The Call (2013), August: Osage County (2013), for which she was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award, Ender's Game (2013), and Zombieland: Double Tap (2019). Between 2015 and 2016, she starred on the horror-comedy Scream Queens on Fox, her first regular role in a television series.

Early life[edit]

Breslin was born in New York City, the daughter of Kim (née Walsh), a talent manager, and Michael Breslin, a telecommunications expert, computer programmer, and consultant.[4] She has two older brothers, Ryan and Spencer, who are also actors.[5] The Breslin siblings were raised in New York in a "very close-knit" household. She is named after Abigail Adams, the second First Lady of the United States.[6] Her father is of Jewish descent.[7][8]

As of 2013, Breslin was still residing in the same Lower East Side apartment in which she was raised.[9]

Career[edit]

2002–2005[edit]

Breslin in January 2007

Breslin's career began at the age of three when she appeared in a Toys "R" Us commercial.[10] Her first acting role was in Signs (2002), directed by M. Night Shyamalan, where she played Bo Hess, the daughter of the main character, Graham Hess (Mel Gibson). Signs garnered mostly positive reviews[11] and was a box office success, grossing $408 million worldwide.[12] Breslin's performance in the film was praised by critics.[13][14] David Ansen of Newsweek wrote that she and co-star Rory Culkin gave "terrifically natural, nuanced performances".[15] In 2004, she appeared in Raising Helen, in which she and her brother Spencer played siblings, but the film fared poorly.[16]

Breslin had a small role in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. In the independent film Keane, she played Kira Bedik, a young girl who reminds the mentally disturbed protagonist William Keane (Damian Lewis) of his missing, abducted daughter. Keane had a limited theatrical release and grossed only $394,390 worldwide[17] but it received positive reviews and Breslin's performance was praised by critics.[18][19] Meghan Keane of The New York Sun wrote that "the scenes between Mr. Lewis and the charmingly fragile Kira, winningly played by Ms. Breslin, bring a captivating humanity to the film".[20]

2006–2009[edit]

Breslin's breakthrough role was in the 2006 comedy-drama Little Miss Sunshine, where she played Olive Hoover, a beauty pageant contestant, the youngest in a dysfunctional family on a road trip. She was cast at the age of six, years before filming was started.[21] Her co-stars, Greg Kinnear and Alan Arkin, both stated that they were "astounded by her seriousness of purpose during shooting."[22] Little Miss Sunshine was a critical[23] and commercial success, grossing $100 million worldwide.[24] Her performance was highly praised;[25][26] Claudia Puig of USA Today wrote that, "If Olive had been played by any other little girl, she would not have affected us as mightily as [she] did."[27] She received nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Award and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, becoming the fourth youngest actress to be nominated in that category.[28]

Although Jennifer Hudson won the Oscar, Breslin co-presented with actor Jaden Smith at the 79th Academy Awards on February 25, 2007.[29] Breslin was part of the Disney Year of a Million Dreams celebration. Annie Leibovitz photographed her as Fira from Disney Fairies with Dame Julie Andrews as the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio.[30]

On October 27, 2007, Breslin made her stage debut in the play Right You Are (If You Think You Are) in New York City at the Guggenheim Museum starring in an ensemble cast, including Cate Blanchett, Dianne Wiest, Natalie Portman and Peter Sarsgaard.[31] In 2007, Breslin was ranked #8 in Forbes magazine's list of "Young Hollywood's Top-Earning Stars", having earned $1.5 million in 2006.[32]

Breslin next appeared in the 2007 romantic comedy No Reservations, playing the niece of master chef Kate Armstrong (Catherine Zeta-Jones). The film garnered mostly negative reviews[33] but was successful at the box office, grossing $92 million worldwide.[34] Roger Ebert wrote that Breslin "has the stuff to emerge as a three-dimensional kid, if she weren't employed so resolutely as a pawn."[35] In 2007, she also starred in Definitely, Maybe, as the daughter of a recently divorced father (played by Ryan Reynolds); the film garnered generally favorable reviews,[36] with Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer writing that Breslin is "alarmingly cute – but she backs the cuteness up with serious acting instinct."[37]

In 2008, Breslin starred with Jodie Foster in the film Nim's Island as Nim Rusoe, a young girl who lives on a remote tropical island.[38] Nim's Island received mixed reviews[39] but was successful financially, grossing $100 million worldwide.[40]

In 2008, she appeared in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl as the title character. The film was based on the American Girl line of dolls, books, and accessories of which Breslin is a fan.[41] Kit Kittredge: An American Girl garnered favorable reviews[42] and grossed $17 million at the box office.[43] Breslin's performance in the film was praised by critics;[44][45] Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal wrote that she "carries the event-stuffed story with unflagging grace."[46]

In 2009, Breslin appeared in My Sister's Keeper, where she played the role of Anna Fitzgerald, a young girl who was conceived to be a donor for her sister, Kate, who suffers from leukemia. Elle and Dakota Fanning were slated to play the roles of Anna and Kate respectively;[47] however, Dakota refused to shave her head for the role, so she and Elle were replaced by Sofia Vassilieva and Breslin.[48] My Sister's Keeper received mixed reviews[49] but was a financial success, grossing $95 million worldwide.[50] James Berardinelli wrote that Breslin and Vassilieva "display a natural bond one might expect from sisters, and there's no hint of artifice or overacting in either performance."[51] Also in 2009, Breslin appeared in the horror comedy Zombieland as Little Rock.[52] Director Ruben Fleischer said that "the dream was always to get Abigail Breslin" for the role.[53] The film received positive reviews[54] and was successful at the box office, grossing $102 million worldwide.[55]

2010–present[edit]

With previews beginning in February 2010, she made her Broadway debut as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker at the Circle in the Square Theatre.[56] Breslin has said that she was honored to play Keller,[57] who is one of her "biggest heroes".[58] The Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, an advocacy group for blind and deaf actors, criticized the play's producers for not casting a deaf or blind actor in the role. Lead producer David Richenthal defended the decision, stating that he needed a well-known actress: "It's simply naïve to think that in this day and age, you'll be able to sell tickets to a play revival solely on the potential of the production to be a great show or on the potential for an unknown actress to give a breakthrough performance."[59] Vision-impaired actress Kyra Siegel was cast as Breslin's understudy.[60] Breslin's performance was praised by critics;[61][62][63] Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that she "well portrays Helen's feral rebelliousness in the play's early sections and is deeply touching as her character's bond with her teacher grows."[64] Ticket sales for the play, however, were considered disappointing, and the show closed in April 2010.[65][66]

In September 2009, Breslin filmed in Des Moines, Iowa, playing the title character in the film Janie Jones:[67] a 13-year-old girl who is abandoned by her former-groupie mother (Elisabeth Shue), and informs Ethan Brand (Alessandro Nivola), a fading rock star, that she is his daughter.[68] The film premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.[68] In 2011, Breslin voiced Priscilla, a cactus mouse in the animated comedy Rango,[69] and appeared in the romantic comedy New Year's Eve.[70]

Breslin at the Tribeca Film Festival Vanity Fair party, 2011

In 2013, she appeared in the thriller The Call. The film received mixed reviews from critics.[71] Andrew Barker of Variety wrote that Breslin "acquits herself well enough for a problematic role in which she's forced to cry and scream nearly continuously."[72] The Call grossed $68 million worldwide.[73] In 2013, Breslin also appeared in Haunter in the role of Lisa, a ghost who bonds with a future girl living in her house to stop an evil killing spirit with the help of his many victims.[74]

Breslin also starred in the film adaptation of Orson Scott Card's novel, Ender's Game[75] The film received mixed reviews from critics[76] but it was a disappointment at the box office,[77] grossing only $125 million worldwide from a $110 million budget.[78] In July 2012, she was cast in August: Osage County, the film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, alongside Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Meryl Streep.[79] August: Osage County was released in December 2013, and received mostly positive reviews.[80] In 2014, Breslin appeared in the crime drama Perfect Sisters. In January 2015, she was cast in Fox's horror-comedy series Scream Queens, which aired from September 2015 to December 2016.[81]

In 2019, Breslin reprised her role as Little Rock in Zombieland: Double Tap.[82]

She is next set to star opposite Matt Damon in Stillwater directed by Tom McCarthy.[83][84]

Personal life[edit]

In April 2017, Breslin came forward and revealed that an ex-partner had raped her, and she has since been diagnosed with PTSD.[85][86] She stated that she did not report being raped at the time because she "was in complete shock and total denial", "feared not being believed" by the police, worried about revenge by the assailant if he found out and, finally, was concerned about hurting her family.[87] Such feelings are common among rape victims.[88]

She continues to advocate on behalf of victims of sexual assault.[89]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2002 Signs Bo Hess
2004 Raising Helen Sarah Davis
2004 The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement Parade Girl Carolina
2004 Keane Kira Bedik
2004 Chestnut: Hero of Central Park Ray
2006 Air Buddies Rosebud / Alice Voice
2006 Little Miss Sunshine Olive Hoover
2006 The Ultimate Gift Emily Rose
2006 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Trish
2007 No Reservations Zoe Armstrong
2008 Definitely, Maybe Maya Hayes
2008 Nim's Island Nim Rusoe
2008 Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Kit Kittredge
2009 My Sister's Keeper Anna Fitzgerald
2009 Zombieland Little Rock
2010 Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey Jeana Voice
2010 Janie Jones Janie Jones
2011 Rango Priscilla Voice
2011 New Year's Eve Hailey Doyle
2012 Zambezia Zoe Voice
2013 Haunter Lisa Johnson
2013 The Call Casey Welson
2013 August: Osage County Jean Fordham
2013 Ender's Game Valentine Wiggin
2014 Wicked Blood Hannah Lee Direct-to-video
2014 Perfect Sisters Sandra Andersen Based on a true story/book
2015 Maggie Maggie Vogel
2015 Final Girl Veronica
2016 Fear, Inc. Jennifer
2017 Freak Show Lynette
2017 Yamasong: March of the Hollows Nani
2019 Zombieland: Double Tap Little Rock
TBA Stillwater Allison Baker Post-production

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2002–2009 Fairfax Brooke Jacoby Main cast
2002 What I Like About You Josie Episode: "The Teddy Bear"
2002 Hack Kayla Adams Episode: "Domestic Disturbance"
2004 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Patty Branson Episode: "Birthright"
2004 NCIS Sandy Watson Episode: "See No Evil"
2005 Family Plan Nicole Television film (Hallmark)
2006 Ghost Whisperer Sarah Applewhite Episode: "Melinda's First Ghost"
2006 Grey's Anatomy Megan Clover Episode: "Sometimes a Fantasy"
2015–2016 Scream Queens Libby Putney/Chanel #5 Main cast
2017 Dirty Dancing Frances "Baby" Houseman Television film (ABC)

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role
2019 Zombieland: Double Tap – Road Trip Little Rock[90]

Discography[edit]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award / Film Festival Category Work Result
2003 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film Young Actress Age Ten or Under Signs Nominated
2007 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actress Little Miss Sunshine Nominated
2007 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Little Miss Sunshine Nominated
2007 Empire Awards Best Female Newcomer Little Miss Sunshine Nominated
2007 Gotham Awards Breakthrough Actor Little Miss Sunshine Nominated
2007 Iowa Film Critics Best Supporting Actress Little Miss Sunshine Won
2007 Satellite Awards Best Actress in a Supporting Role Little Miss Sunshine Nominated
2007 Tokyo International Film Festival Best Actress Little Miss Sunshine Won
2007 BAFTA Awards Best Actress in a Supporting Role Little Miss Sunshine Nominated
2007 Critics Choice Awards Best Young Actress Little Miss Sunshine Won
2007 Critics Choice Awards Best Ensemble Cast (Shared with cast) Little Miss Sunshine Won
2007 MTV Movie Awards Best Breakthrough Performance Little Miss Sunshine Nominated
2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards Supporting Actress Little Miss Sunshine Nominated
2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (Shared with cast) Little Miss Sunshine Won
2007 St. Louis Film Critics Best Supporting Actress Little Miss Sunshine Nominated
2007 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film Young Actress Age Ten or Under Little Miss Sunshine Won
2008 Critics Choice Awards Best Young Actress No Reservations Nominated
2008 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Action Adventure Nim's Island Nominated
2008 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film Leading Young Actress No Reservations Nominated
2009 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film Leading Young Actress Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Nominated
2010 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film Leading Young Actress My Sister's Keeper Won
2012 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Voice-over Role, Young Actress Rango[105] Nominated
2013 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (Shared with cast) August: Osage County Nominated
2016 Fangoria Chainsaw Award Best Actress Maggie Nominated

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External links[edit]