Emma Roberts was the center of attention when she wore two different dresses on the red carpet at the world premiere of her new movie “Adult World,” Thursday at the Tribeca Film Festival. Maybe she got pointers on how to impress from her famous Auntie Julia.
For her solo shots on the red carpet, the “Scream 4” actress looked stunning in a sexy cobalt blue dress from Cushnie et Ochs that crisscrossed at the neck.
Then Roberts disappeared for a few minutes — and I have no idea where she went — and returned in a slinky long black Armani gown to pose for photographs with fellow cast members Evan Peters, Leah Lauren, Shannon Woodward, John Cullum and director Scott Coffey.
In “Adult World,” Roberts — whose father is actor Eric Roberts — plays Amy, a college graduate who believes she’s destined to be a famous poet. Instead, unable to find work, she moves back home with her parents (Reed Birney and Catherine Lloyd Burns) in Syracuse, New York. With tuition bills and rejection letters piling up, in desperation she takes a job at an adult sex shop, owned by a wacky older couple, (Cloris Leachman and John Collum).
Evan Peters, best known for the FX series “American Horror Story,” plays the porn shop manager and Amy’s on-screen lover. Off screen he’s Roberts’ real-life boyfriend. The cagey pair didn’t pose together on the red carpet as a couple.
“Adult World” is a coming-of-age-comedy with a satiric bite, thanks to a sharply written script by Andy Cochran and a nimble cast, headed by Roberts and John Cusack, who gets the best zingers. He portrays Rat Billings, Amy’s favorite poet, who is most famous for a book he wrote when he was 18 entitled, “The Splendor of Squalor.” Amy basically stalks him and badgers him into letting her be his assistant.
I asked the director if he tried to make a point about the economic downtown. “I did,” he said. “It touches on that for sure, but I wanted to make sure it was subtle, though, and not heavy handed, not too sort of pretentious. That’s a big part of the movie, finding a job when you graduate from college. Having to sort of match your aspirations with reality is a really tough thing to navigate, and the movie’s very much about that.”
After the screening, during the Q&A, onstage Peters and Roberts played handsies. Someone asked how Roberts prepared for the role. “That’s the wrong word,” Peters cracked.
“How did I prepare?” Roberts mused. “Scott talked incessantly all the time about it, and I read a lot of books and, I don’t know, I just kind of clicked with the character in the end, kind of just her flakiness and went with it.”
As for how difficult it was to find his leading lady, Coffey said he was very worried. “I saw a lot of young actresses, Academy-Award nominated actresses, and they were all really good but nobody was Emma.”
He added of Roberts, “I knew her a little bit, but I didn’t really know anything about her. I know her aunt slightly,” he said, as the audience laughed.
At the initial meeting he had with Roberts to discuss the role, Coffey said he watched her walk across the courtyard. “Before I even sat down with her I said, that’s the girl, she has to be her. The second I sat down and started talking to her, I knew. We saw a lot of people. I saw something that wasn’t actable that she has. I don’t even know what that thing is, but I saw it.”