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Kit Kittredge: An American Girl in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

Abigail Breslin • Julia Ormond • Chris O’Donnell • Max Thieriot • Joan Cusack • Stanley Tucci
DIRECTOR: Patricia Rozema

Abigail Breslin, Julia Ormond and Chris O"Donnell THE CONCEPT:
The first feature film based on the popular 'American Girl' series of dolls and books.
Kit (Breslin) is a 9-year-old living during the Great Depression, who longs to be a newspaper reporter. When her father (O’Donnell) loses his job, her mother (Ormond) takes in boarders, and also employs young hobo Will (Thieriot) to help them with the chores. When there's a series of thefts, including Kit’s mother’s savings, Will is accused, so Kit is determined to find the real culprit and save their home from foreclosure.

U.S. RELEASE: June 20 2008, Limited • Rated: G


“My eight-year-old, Lily, is a fan of American Girls’ dolls, and I grew up in Chicago where the first store was. I have a lot of nieces, so I’ve been around these dolls for awhile. They have a hair salon, and there’s a hospital, so if your doll gets injured you can send her there. I’ve done the whole deal; I’ve had lunch in the store, where they set the table for the little doll. I’m telling you, that’s the hardest reservation you can get in Chicago at Christmastime – I think I had my publicist call one year to get a table, it’s unbelievable.”

Abigail Breslin and Julia Ormond“I had never heard of the dolls. I probably was the only person in the cast who hadn’t. Chris has every one. I must be a mean mom, but my daughter is nearly four, so she’s young for them. I’ll be honest, I just related to the film and the story, and I hope that it’s a story that, even though the title is An American Girl, that families will come and see.”

“I love all the American Girls dolls. I had them all and it was really exciting to get to play Kit, because she was always one of my favorites. I really liked her hair; and she’s a lot braver than I am. My grandma grew up in the Great Depression, so I got to talk to her a little bit about that, which was interesting. She told me about how everybody was in the same situation back then, and how they would take a sugar lump and put it on their tongue and then drink tea over it. She said all the clothes in Kit Kittredge were really authentic.”

Max Thieriot“My grandpa grew up during the Depression, so I talked to him a little bit about it, but he was funny, he didn’t care to talk much, and he was like, ‘It was the Great Depression, look it up online.’ So I did some research online and I’d learned about it in history class in high school and middle school, so I took everything I knew from that and gave it my best shot.”

“Abigail is terrific, she’s really talented. It only took me a couple of takes to forget that she’s 11-years-old, she’s very professional and incredibly in touch with her emotions, she can do take after take where she’s very emotional. She listens and pays attention and that’s what’s important.”

“There are times that I look at this film and it reminds me of 101 Dalmatians, because Chris and I play the straight characters, you’ve got your villains who are very comedic and very big and large, and the kids are like the puppies – so it’s a Depression era version of 101 Dalmatians with people!”

“I had to practice on the typewriter for the movie, and I was like, ‘Where is the screen?’ And they said, ‘There is no screen,’ that was a little surprising. I do some writing, me and my brother actually are writing a script.”

“I liked shooting the scenes in the hobo jungle, just because the set they built was so cool. It was around this little creek, and it had an old bridge above it. It was the perfect spot, and it was really cool to see all the little tents they had [from that period]. We had one scene that is a continuous shot moving through the entire camp.”

“This film has a great message. My daughter was so caught up in who were the bad guys, and the tree house and the oath, and so excited about the whole [mystery], but at the end of the movie we were walking out and she started asking me about why they were losing their homes and the Depression; they’re learning lessons without knowing it. And obviously it’s very timely right now with all the foreclosures and the recession that we’re going into here.”

“We’re developing the Julie character now; she’s a doll that made her debut last year. The film will take place in 1974 and we’re doing her as a High School musical, and we’re going to have all those great songs from the seventies.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Film Review, #697, Summer 2008 cover

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