How did 22-year-old Emily Browning go from the one of the kids in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" in 2004 only take only two roles between 2005 and 2009 ("Stranded," "The Uninvited") before winding up in the lead of Zack Snyder's sci-fi steampunk fantasy action pic, "Sucker Punch," which hits theaters this weekend?
Well, aside from some luck, perhaps the actress was wanted because she herself didn't want Hollywood. Playlist contributor Leah Zak sat down with Browning this weekend to discuss "Sucker Punch," and the conversation eventually turned to the fact that Browning had considered quitting acting all together in the aforementioned period where she took few roles. In doing so, she also revealed -- though probably not much of a mystery to hardcore fans -- that "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer wanted her for the lead role that Kristen Stewart became famous from.
"I chose not to audition," Browning said about "Twilight" which was offered to her during this should-I or shouldn't-I period of career introspection. "The author at one point stated that I would be her ideal Bella, but I chose not to audition because I was at a point in my career where I wasn’t sure I wanted to work, I definitely didn’t want to sign onto a trilogy so I didn’t audition, but there were a lot of things people said: 'you turned it down' no that’s not the case, 'you were offered it and you turned it down,' no, no, no, that’s not what happened at all. And there were battles but it was really just as simple as I don’t want to work right now so..."
Browning credits Zack Snyder and "Sucker Punch" for requenching her thirst for acting and cementing her career path in movies. "At one point I was very hesitant about acting," she said "But actually ['Sucker Punch'], to be honest with you, is the one that’s brought me back and made me realize, 'this is absolutely what I want to do!' I have faith in this industry, if a movie making experience can be this positive and this much fun, then I can’t imagine ever doing anything else."
The industry can't imagine her doing anything else either, and apart from "Twilight," she admits those behind the "The Hunger Games" franchise were after her as well.
"I read for ['Hunger Games'] a couple of times, but I’ve never read the book to be honest -- which I know is terrible of me," she said, confirming reports she was in the mix. "I was nervous about it."
Considering all the internal fuss that was made about Browning "turning down" Bella, the actress said she was reluctant to discuss her potential involvement in 'Hunger Games' and how it could be misconceived as her shunning another popular teen franchise. "It’s always hard for me to talk about these kinds of things because I know there was a big deal with 'Twilight' and my involvement with people wanting me to do 'Twilight,' so I’m always like, 'Oh, people love this book so much I don’t want to get involved, I don’t want to talk about it!' but no, I read for ['Hunger Games'] a couple of times, but I think every single girl in Hollywood read for it a couple of times to be honest."
Regardless of boarding a franchise or not, she's still getting plenty of offers and making key short lists for coveted roles -- like "Snow White And The Huntsman" (which ironically, went to Kristen Stewart) -- so the young actress will surely have a long and fruitful career in Hollywood to look forward to. "Sucker Punch" hits theaters Friday, March 25 in wide release. -- Reporting by Leah Zak