Oscar star Abigail Breslin grows into new roles

Kwala Mandel
Yahoo! Movies Oscars Blog

Abigail Breslin, who is just shy of her 17th birthday, has transformed from the cute kid in glasses, cowboy boots, and the prosthetic belly she wore in "Little Miss Sunshine" (although she still owns those boots from the film). For a recent shoot for "Final Girl" with Tyler Shields, her style -- and the bottle-blond hair and red lipstick -- was more reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe's. The photos received a fair amount of attention, with online writers reporting that she is "leaving her sweet and innocent image behind for a sexy and sophisticated vibe."

"I was excited to do that movie, and it is different from anything I've done. It was fun to go a little bit glam. My family didn't actually recognize me, but they all thought it was pretty cool," she told Yahoo!.

The actress is still fairly new to full makeup and even high heels. "I didn't actually get my first eyeliner until I was 13, so that was a big deal," she said. "I was allowed only a little bit of lip gloss, and I wasn't allowed to wear heels until I was 14. There were some rules. I always wanted to get the cool ankle boots, but my mom would say 'No, you can wear flats for now.'"

Keeping her feet firmly on the ground wasn't a bad idea. Despite the impressive paychecks and steady projects (she worked on five films last year and fulfilled a dream of acting with Meryl Streep), she hasn't splurged on much. "No sports cars. I think I need to get a permit before I do that," she said, adding that she wasn't flashing credit cards after her early "Little Miss Sunshine" success.

"I was only 10, so I don't think I could make a huge decision on what to spend or save. I probably would have just bought four ponies," she said. "The biggest splurge I do is spend a lot of money on iTunes and clothes. But I try to stay under what I earn, a good amount."

Her first break was in M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs," and as a 10-year-old, she was already attending the Oscars as a nominee for "Little Miss Sunshine."

"One of the things I remember was bringing chocolate chip cookies in my purse because I was afraid I would get hungry. The other thing is that briefly, on the red carpet, I met Meryl Streep," she said. "And the other thing I remember is that the limo was sent to the wrong hotel. I almost missed the Oscars. I ended up getting there right as the carpet was ending. I was running, hair's a mess, dress torn. And I didn't share the cookies. You don't share chocolate chip cookies at 10 years old."

These days, Breslin is branching out from acting. "I'm doing music now, as well. I write my own songs, writing and recording right now and seeing what we are going to do," said Breslin, who plays guitar and sings. "I'm not in a band right now; it is just me. Hopefully, in the near future I will do some shows. Right now I don't have any lined up."

She has plenty to keep her busy until she finds her musical stage. "Last year I filmed five movies. I did 'Ender's Game,' based on the Orson Scott Card book. And then I did 'Haunter,' which is a horror movie. And then I have 'The Call,' with Halle Berry, coming out in March, and it is a suspenseful thriller. And then I did 'August: Osage County,' which is based on the play, and it has a really exciting cast. And then I did 'Final Girl' in Vancouver."

Luckily, the transition from child actress to teenager has been painless for her. "As you get older, you naturally get more parts that are for older characters," she said. "I can't play 11 anymore, unfortunately. But I've been really lucky because the parts I've been given to read have been amazing."