Emma Roberts poised to move beyond tweens

By Jake Coyle

NEW YORK — Read just about any article about Emma Roberts and you’ll be reminded of her Hollywood pedigree: She’s the niece of Julia Roberts and the daughter of Eric Roberts.

“I’m kind of used to it,” the 17-year-old actress shrugged in a recent interview. “It gets kind of frustrating, but they are my family so I’m used to it.”

Increasingly, she’s making a name for herself.

Since her first role at 9 in the Johnny Depp film “Blow,” she has starred on the Nickelodeon series “Unfabulous” and released her debut album, “Unfabulous and More.”

Now, lead roles in movies are becoming commonplace for Roberts. She starred in 2007’s “Nancy Drew” and last year’s “Wild Child.” On Friday, “Hotel for Dogs” hits theaters.

In it, she plays an orphan who, along with her younger brother (Jake T. Austin), create — you guessed it — a hotel for dogs.

It’s a kids movie about both teenagers and terriers finding a home. It co-stars some well-regarded talents as well, including Don Cheadle and Lisa Kudrow.

“I do want to do more adult things but at the same time, I’m not going to say I’m never going to do another kids movie because there are a lot of great ones out there,” Roberts said.

Roberts recently finished shooting the independent film “The Winning Season” from writer-director James Strouse (“Grace Is Gone”). It’s the kind of role that suggests a transition away from tween material is in the works.

“It’s happened naturally, which is what I wanted. I could definitely play younger and I could definitely play older, which is what’s good about being 17,” Roberts said.

The young actress — last year picked by Vanity Fair among “Hollywood’s New Wave” — has been home-schooled her entire life. (“I’ve only been to high school in a movie,” she says.) She’s now, though, applying to colleges, where she hopes to study literature.

She says that while she wouldn’t be able to turn down a “great project” if it came along, she does want to focus on college.

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