A natural for the part

Abigail Breslin explored her inner Robinson Crusoe in making the family film “Nim’s Island” in Australia.

“I got to wear all of these really cool clothes and have a telescope by my side,” says the 11-year-old, who earned an Oscar nomination for her role as a wannabe child beauty queen in 2006’s “Little Miss Sunshine.”

“I got to wear a lizard on my shoulder and walk around with a sea lion on a beach and cut down coconuts.”

Speaking of animals, Breslin worked with five lizards, two pelicans and two sea lions. “It was so much fun,” she said by phone from her New York City home. “I love working with animals, and I don’t get to do it that often on a movie. The sea lions were so friendly. They will come up to you and give you kisses and follow you around.”


She even gets to conga with her wet-nosed costars. “That’s cool.”

“Nim’s Island,” which opens April 25, revolves around the imaginative Nim, who lives with her scientist father (Gerard Butler) and a coterie of animals on a desolate tropical island.

Nim also happens to be a big fan of a writer (Jodie Foster) who pens action novels featuring a dashing hero (also played by Butler). The novelist, though, is an agoraphobic New Yorker. But when Nim begins an e-mail correspondence with her after her father is caught in a storm at sea, the novelist has to overcome her fears to help.

“They were just a lot of fun,” Breslin says of her veteran costars. “Gerard is so funny.”


She also enjoyed the chance to do stunts. “I did a ton. . .,” she says. “I climb, run, swim, and I did sword fighting. . . . All the stunt guys called me ‘Nimdiana Jones.’ ”

Breslin has two more movies coming out in 2008: “Definitely, Maybe” and “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.”

And after that?

“We are taking a little break for a while and will just hang out and do all of that stuff,” she says. “I am in sixth grade. It’s hard. I can’t even really talk about math!”


-- Susan King