“I’m my own person, and am trying to carve out a career on my own.”
Emma Roberts became a household name and a teen icon with her role as the protagonist Addie Singer in Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous. However, she soon ventured into playing various roles and quickly rose to fame. Born into a culturally enriched family that boasts of bigshot celebrities like her father Eric Roberts – who had a successful run – as well as superstar aunt Julia Roberts with whom Emma had the opportunity of spending time on sets. Although Roberts’ mother wanted her to have a normal childhood away from the spotlight, she instead made her debut at the tender age of nine as Johnny Depp’s character’s daughter Kristina Jung in the 2001 film Blow. She then went on to star in an uncredited role followed by two smaller jobs before landing the role of Addie Singer in the series that earned her various awards nominations.
After her television stint and making a guest appearance at the teen-favourite Drake & Josh, she returned to the big screen with her role as the friendly and sensible Claire in the 2006 film Aquamarine, alongside Sara Paxton and JoJo, which also won Roberts an award for her outstanding performance in a supporting role. She also starred as Nancy Drew in Andrew Fleming’s eponymous film but the film was not liked by critics. However, her most acclaimed role was in the 2008 teen comedy film Wild Child as Poppy Moore, a spoiled malibu teen who gets sent to a British boarding school for disciplining. Following this, she starred in roles of varying stature in films and series like The Flight Before Christmas, Hotel For Dogs, Valentine’s Day, The Art of Getting By, Scream 4 and more.
In Adult World, Roberts starred as a college graduate working at a bookstore. Having ad-libbed nearly all her lines, she received high praise for her natural and well-seasoned acting. Roberts went on to star alongside Jennifer Aniston in We’re the Millers, a dysfunctional family comedy which was a commercial success. After receiving high praise for her moving performance in Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto, Roberts was cast in the FX anthology series American Horror Story where she was one of the recurring cast members. She returned once again in a crossover season of AHS as Madison Montgomery and was one of the only cast members who survived, before returning to 1984 as Brooke Thompson.
Roberts has also enjoyed a successful stint in her music career, boasting various songs to her name. However, she strongly believes in focusing on one thing at a time, thus she has confessed that although she loves music and would pursue it eventually, she does not want to be labelled an “actor slash singer”. According to her, a person cannot be great at both and must choose one. “I’m going for acting,” is what Roberts was quoted saying. However, she has an ambitious dream of starting a band with her closest friends akin to the Spice Girls.
When asked if she found the transition from playing a regular blonde teen to starring in more mature roles difficult, Roberts revealed how her image has made people view her younger than she actually is which made it “difficult to break out of the mould of”. A regular in thriller and slasher films of late, it was a refreshing change to see Roberts in the 2020 romantic Christmas film Holidate alongside Luke Bracey. Although the film was criticised for its cringe-worthy sappy moments, Roberts played a thriving Sloane pressurised by her family to find a date for various events before finally falling in love with her handsome holidate.
Given that she turns 30 today, we celebrate this queen’s birthday by taking a look at her five favourite films as recorded by Rotten Tomatoes.
Emma Roberts’ 5 favourite films:
Beetlejuice (Tim Burton, 1988)
After they die in a car crash, Barbara and Adam cannot escape their country home and begin haunting the house. Soon the obnoxious Deetz family arrives with their teen daughter Lydia and buy the home. Barbara and Adam try their level best to haunt them and scare them off but with no avail. Their failed efforts attract the boisterous Beetlejuice’s attention who arrives to assist the duo in their endeavour. Soon, his assistance becomes unbearably dangerous for the Deetzes, especially Lydia.
Beetlejuice, which won the Academy Award for best makeup and styling, is Roberts’ favourite because of its outlandish costumes. A thorough Winona Ryder fan, she also talks of how she is obsessed with Geena Davis in the film as well.
Girl, Interrupted (James Mangold, 1999)
The film revolves around Winona Ryder’s character, 18-year-old Susanna Kaysen, being sent to a psychiatric institution for allegedly attempting suicide, which she vehemently denies. At Claymoore, she befriends girls embodying various psychological ailments, ranging from pathological lying to Bulimia and OCD. Angelina Jolie’s character Lisa is a rebellious and free-spirited resident who is well versed in all the tricks of the trade. Having befriended her, Susanna begins to enjoy the essence of life.
Emma Roberts, who is an avid bookworm, said that she loves the book the film is adapted from because of the beautiful story. “I love everyone in it. I loved Brittany Murphy, I loved Angelina Jolie, Winona Ryder. So that’s one of my favourites.”
Bowfinger (Frank Oz, 1999)
Aspiring filmmaker Bobby Bowfinger is nearly broke and dreams of getting his big break soon. Desperate for commercial success, he comes up with a crazy idea of directing his dream film which can be his masterpiece, starring the Hollywood bigshot Kit Ramsey. Followed by a “ragtag” team, he sets out to direct this feature without letting Ramsey know that he is a part of this project which seems to be a hilarious and daunting task.
Emma Roberts is a sucker for light-hearted comedy flicks. “I love Steve Martin. I’m obsessed with Steve Martin, so that’s one of my favourites.”
Clueless (Amy Heckerling, 1995)
Based loosely on Jane Austen’s Emma, this film sees the rich and social butterfly Cher see herself as a self-proclaimed matchmaker. After her first venture of coaxing two teachers to fall for one another is successful, she takes it on herself to give the new student Tai a makeover. Soon Tai takes over the high school and Cher realises her mistake, acknowledging her ex-stepbrother Josh’s idea of her being disillusioned before being in love with him.
Roberts said that this film was her “guilty pleasure” because it was a “my generation” film. Iconic and wild, Clueless is definitely a top pick for us as well.
My Best Friend’s Wedding (P.J. Hogan, 1997)
Emma Roberts finds this romantic comedy very “funny” and said that she could watch it “five million times”. However, she is a little embarrassed for fangirling over her aunt’s film. “It’s cheesy because my aunt’s in it, but My Best Friend’s Wedding is one of my favourite comedies.”
Julia Roberts and Dermot Mulroney play childhood best friends who vowed to marry each other if they were single by their 28th birthday. When Michael informs Julianne that he is about to marry a beautiful Kimberly, Julianne realises that she is haplessly in love with him. She knows she must stop the wedding before it is too late and goes to unthinkable heights to sabotage it. However, she soon becomes the maid of honour which makes everything worse.