26 Jun 2011

Emma Roberts' teen role complex

One of the reasons Hollywood loves to portray high school life -- aside from all the young nubile bodies -- is because the characters are so easily categorized. Who needs complex, three-dimensional teenagers when you have ready-made labels like nerd, jock, cheerleader, Goth, etc.?

"In life, it's not like that," says Emma Roberts.

Which is one of the reasons, she explains, why she signed onto the Sundance indie The Art of Getting By, which is now playing across Canada. In the coming-of-age drama, she plays Sally, a popular teenager who befriends a lonely but bright student named George (Freddie Highmore).

"Someone can be a nerd and be popular," Roberts says. "Someone can be smart and be funny. In movies they are so put into these pockets. (Sally) is very real to me "¦ I feel like my character was popular and pretty, but there was a lot more going on than that."

IN SIMPATICO: It's no D--- in a Box, but in Bad Teacher, Justin Timberlake again gets to sing for laughs.

"I've put my body on the line for comedy. Why not put my voice on the line for comedy?" says the pop star-turned-actor.

In the movie, Timberlake plays a teacher who, while dating a fellow instructor (Lucy Punch), serenades her with a wretched love song entitled Simpatico.

"I just tried to create the most terrible melody that I could. The mission was to make it so bad they would not be able to market it in the trailer. It was completely a collaboration."

Says director Jake Kasdan, "There was an enormous advantage having Justin playing the part obviously because nobody is funny singing like he is."

Bad Teacher continues Timberlake's push to be taken seriously as a movie star.

Next month he stars in the romantic comedy Friends with Benefits.

WILD OATES: Toronto has stood in for everything from New York to Tehran. So it's not such a stretch to imagine Sault Ste. Marie as upstate New York.

Production is scheduled to begin July 5 in the Soo on the $10-million feature Foxfire.

No, it's not the story of a web browser. That would be Firefox. Foxfire is an adaptation of a Joyce Carol Oates story about a teen girl gang in the '50s, previously made in 1996 with a young Angelina Jolie as one of the stars. This version, the English-language debut of French director Laurent Cantat (The Class), features a cast of unknowns.

JUST SAY 'NOAH!' It isn't a Biblical quote, but it's worth remembering nonetheless -- George Santayana's, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

It is with the news that Steven Soderbergh has in mind a $130-million production of the story of Noah's Ark.

This is probably as good a time saw any to remind Soderbergh that the last big-screen attempt at the Noah theme -- the 2007 Steve Carell movie Evan Almighty -- ended up costing roughly $200 million, and was one of the box-office bombs of the decade.

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