Ac­tress Emma Roberts taps into that feel-good rom-com love

Calgary Herald - - MOVIES - MARK DANIELL [email protected]­

For Lit­tle Italy star Emma Roberts, rom-coms never went away.

“For me, they’ve al­ways been around,” she says. “I’ve had My Best Friend’s Wed­ding and Not­ting Hill on re­peat since I was seven. Rom-coms make me so happy.”

Roberts, 27, plays Nikki, a Cor­don Bleu chef freshly re­turned to Toronto from Eng­land. She’s back in her par­ents’ pizze­ria and rekin­dling her child­hood crush with Leo (Hay­den Chris­tensen). But Nikki and Leo’s dads, once in busi­ness to­gether, op­er­ate com­pet­ing restau­rants.

Di­rected by Don­ald Petrie (Mys­tic Pizza) from a script by Vi­nay Vir­mani and Steve Gal­luc­cio, the film also fea­tures Jane Sey­mour, Andrea Martin, Danny Aiello, Alyssa Mi­lano, Linda Kash, Adam Fer­rara, Gary Basaraba and Kim’s Con­ve­nience star An­drew Phung.

“Rom-coms are some­thing that ev­ery­body loves,” Roberts says, “and I feel that we need to have things that we can watch that are go­ing to make us smile and make us laugh and aren’t so se­ri­ous. Real life, right now, is se­ri­ous enough.”

Q Your di­rec­tor on Lit­tle Italy, Don­ald Petrie, worked with your aunt Ju­lia Roberts in Mys­tic Pizza 30 years ago. What was that like?

A It was to­tally amaz­ing. It was fun be­cause we got to throw in a cou­ple of lit­tle winks to Mys­tic Pizza. In Lit­tle Italy, I wear a new ver­sion of the shirt my aunt wore in Mys­tic Pizza. Q Your char­ac­ter Nikki puts figs on pizza. Is that good?

A It’s de­li­cious. But I put ranch dress­ing on my pizza. I won’t eat it if there’s no ranch.

Q You’re a pretty good cook in the movie, but how are you in the kitchen in real life?

A I am not a good cook. I’ve been known to store sweaters in my oven (laughs). But I just got a new book called Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mas­ter­ing the El­e­ments of Good Cook­ing, and it’s all about learn­ing to cook and learn­ing to cook without a recipe. That is some­thing I want to learn to do.

Q You didn’t pick up any tech­niques from the cook­ing scenes in the movie? A No (laughs), it was all act­ing.

Q You eat a lot of Ital­ian food in this movie. What’s your favourite Ital­ian dish? A Penne alla vodka. I love a pink sauce.

Q The film is a love letter to Toronto. Did you find your­self fall­ing in love with the city?

A I love Toronto — and I’m not just say­ing that. My best friend came up here while I was shoot­ing and we had the best time eat­ing, shopping, sit­ting in the park, read­ing and just walk­ing around. Q You’ve done TV and lots of movies. What else is on your act­ing bucket list?

A I would love to do more ro­man­tic come­dies. Turn­ing a Ni­cholas Sparks book into a movie is on my bucket list (laughs).

Q And you’re not just into act­ing. You started your own book club, Bel­letrist. How did that come about?

A I love to read. Books and sto­ry­telling have been some­thing that has ex­cited me since I was a kid. I re­ally just wanted to cre­ate a place that cu­rated books for people, es­pe­cially young women. I feel like there are so many amaz­ing books out there that you never hear of and I re­ally wanted to not only show­case au­thors we all know, but au­thors you’ve never heard of … I truly be­lieve that read­ing one book can change your life and to be cu­rat­ing a list for people in hopes of that is ex­cit­ing for me.

Q So what are your favourite books?

A Carthage by Joyce Carol Oates.Ithasabito­faGoneGirl vibe to it. Blue Nights by Joan Did­ion. It’s just a heart wrench­ing, lyrical book. Then Slow Days, Fast Com­pany by Eve Bab­itz. It’s a great book about Los An­ge­les in the ’60s and ’70s.

Q What movie would you bring with you to a desert is­land?

A My favourite movie ever is My Best Friend’s Wed­ding — and not be­cause it stars my aunt. I watch it all the time and I know every line in it.

Q All right, last ques­tion: Why is Lit­tle Italy the per­fect movie for a date night?

A It’ll just make you feel good and I feel we’re liv­ing in a dif­fi­cult time right now. You should go and see a movie that’ll make you smile and laugh with the people you love.

Emma Roberts, cen­tre, seen with Alyssa Mi­lano and Adam Fer­rara in Lit­tle Italy, may star in a film about Ital­ian cui­sine, but she says she’s not much of a cook when she’s at home in her own kitchen.

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