Celebrity Spotlight - Emma Roberts
She acts. She sings. She swims and plays volleyball. She is all about fashion and has even designed her own handbag. We can't help but admire Emma Roberts, the talented, beautiful actress who played teen detective Nancy Drew on the big screen, had her own TV series on Nickelodeon called Unfabulous, and stars in the upcoming movie Hotel for Dogs, due out in early 2009 from DreamWorks Pictures/Nickelodeon Movies. She may have been swayed by the thrill of being on movie sets with her aunt, actress Julia Roberts, but at 17, Emma Roberts has proven that her success—both onscreen and off—comes from within.
A MOVIE TO REMEMBER
Emma is loving her life. "I'm having a lot of fun," she tells us. "Everyone I've met on set and in my personal life has been really great to me. I've been learning a lot, too."
She enjoyed working with her canine costars in Hotel for Dogs, both during shooting and off the set. "All the dogs were fantastic," Emma says. "We mixed trained movie dogs with rescue dogs because the movie is about rescuing dogs. The producers made sure that we stayed true to what we were filming."
HealthyPet got to see a screening of Hotel for Dogs, and if the end result gives any indication of the fun the actors had making the movie, the cast must have had a blast. Emma confirms our guess: "All the dogs got along, and all the actors loved all the dogs," she says. "Really, it was just a great experience and one that I will never, ever forget."
THE ANIMALS IN EMMA'S FAMILY
Emma has three pets: a dog, Twiggy; a cat, Stranger; and a rabbit, appropriately named Rabbit. She has always loved animals, but it wasn't until recently that she actually became a pet parent. About a year ago, Emma and her younger sister, Grace, saw a Chihuahua while they were out. Emma knew right away that she was meant to take care of him. "I asked my mother if we could bring him home," Emma recalls, "and at first she said no. But once we took her to see the beautiful little dog, she broke down and said okay."
They named the Chihuahua Twiggy for two reasons: "He was so tiny, and he reminded us of a twig," Emma says. "And my mother had always been a huge fan of the model and actress Twiggy, so it soon became unanimous that our dog would be called Twiggy."
Emma explains that her cat got her name "because of the way she came into our lives. She was a stray and came over to our house night after night." After unsuccessfully trying to find the cat's owner, Emma's mom eventually agreed that they could let the cat in. "Once she got inside, well, she just never left," says Emma. "After a while, we started calling her Stranger. Now we sometimes call her Stranger Danger because of the way she prowls around."
Rabbit isn't a member of the family in the traditional sense, in that she doesn't live inside. "She lives on our land but on her own," Emma says. "She doesn't relate too much with Twiggy or Stranger but doesn't bother them much either. Rabbit has a tough disposition and keeps some people away. In a funny way, she acts like a guard rabbit."
PETS, MOVIE SETS, AND VETERINARIANS
Emma loves spending time with her pets. "I talk to them, and they have their own way of talking to me. Stranger takes care of most things on her own, but if she wants to tell me something, she can get her point across. And I don't mind kneeling down to make my point either," says Emma. "If Twiggy needs something or is bothered, she lets me know. She's good at that. We all get along great.
"Twiggy is very good with people, but she does need a little time to get used to you. She's very small, and I think she gets intimidated by size sometimes. If you lean down and extend an open palm and let her do her thing, she always warms up and shows how kind and affectionate she really is."
Emma has been filming locally lately, so she hasn't had an opportunity to go on location for a movie. When she does, she hopes to take her dog with her: "In the future and especially if my mother and sister come with me for a shoot, I am sure we will bring Twiggy with us."
When Emma is working, her mother ensures that their pets get the veterinary care they need. "My mother takes care of all of us, including our pets," Emma says. "She makes sure they're always healthy and takes them to our veterinarian regularly so they stay that way."
BUILDING THE BOND
For two weeks before filming began on Hotel for Dogs, Emma and the rest of the cast rehearsed with the canine actors. "We did basic training exercises such as walking, sitting, and lying down," Emma says, "but in truth we really bonded with the dogs during those two weeks. I guess we all fell in love with each other and then took our affection to the screen, where it really shows.
"There was this one dog, a border collie named Ryder (he played Shep in the movie), who was the smartest animal I had ever been around. I've done a lot of horseback riding, and I always thought horses were the smartest animals, but this collie was brilliant. Even though he's a trained movie dog, you could tell by everything he did, from eating to heeling, that he's just the smartest dog alive. We became great, great friends, and I'll never forget that dog. I hope he never forgets me.
"Making Hotel for Dogs was not only so much fun, but it also introduced me to so many great things in life. This movie is about saving dogs and giving them a better life, and I realize that we should all be doing that. We should all be looking out for smaller defenseless beings."
Family Fun Abounds in Hotel for Dogs
When foster children Andi (played by Emma) and her younger brother Bruce (played by Jake T. Austin) are taken in by new guardians, they aren't allowed to keep their dog, Friday. Andi and Bruce wouldn't think of abandoning their dog, so they search for a new home for him. The resourceful teens come across an abandoned hotel and turn it into a resort for Friday and all his canine pals. Unfortunately, neighbors hear barking and start to wonder what's going on, so Andi and Bruce work to keep the grown-ups from discovering their secret. Also starring Don Cheadle, Lisa Kudrow, and Kevin Dillon, this endearing comedy–adventure opens in January.
Meet the Dogs
From their first appearance in the movie, the 24 canine stars of Hotel for Dogs will win you over. A beagle, a border collie, a husky, dachshund twins, a Chinese crested, a Yorkshire terrier, a pair of pugs . . . there's a dog for everyone. Unfortunately, their stories are all too common: Snicker outgrew her owner's purse; Tyson was relinquished when his family had a baby; Madison was left behind when her family moved. To meet these adorable pups and learn how they ended up in the hotel, go to www.hotelfordogsmovie.com and click on the bulldog in the upper left.