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Emma Roberts Is The New Nancy Drew

The apple, they say, doesn't fall far from the family tree, and superstar Julia Roberts' niece, Emma Roberts is becoming a star in her own right. Starting Friday, she's starring in the new movie "Nancy Drew."

Nancy Drew, the fictional teen detective, has been entertaining kids through books and movies for 77 years. In this updated version, Nancy leaves her hometown of River Heights for California and enrolls at Hollywood High School, where she immediately becomes the odd-ball. But Nancy takes refuge in a mysterious haunted mansion where a famous actress of yesteryear died mysteriously.

"I never read the books when I was younger but I knew who she was — such an iconic character," Roberts told The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm. "I read the script and I loved it. I loved the character. I loved the whole story idea of like old Hollywood movie star murder-mystery thing. So it was awesome."

But in this movie, Nancy tackles her first murder-mystery and travels back in time through her investigations. The plot gave Roberts a chance to become acquainted with old Hollywood, which she discovered she loves.

"It's just so mysterious. It's just so much more glamorous and everything," she said. "I think everyone loves the idea of way back when in Hollywood … So it was such a cool thing to bring Nancy Drew and Hollywood together and see how, you know, it played out."

Roberts, who also stars in the Nickelodeon series "Unfabulous," said the movie also offers some inspiration for young girls who may not fit in at school. Roberts said she hopes that she can also be a role model for her peers and can relate to Drew's curiosity. But she too looks up to actresses who came before her.

"I really like, like, Reese Witherspoon and Drew Barrymore," Roberts said. "They've been acting since they were younger."

As her star rises, Roberts has had many interesting opportunities. She helped promote summer reading with first lady Laura Bush in Washington, D.C. They went to an all-girls middle school and read some chapters of a Nancy Drew book.

"(We) just talked about read and how important it is," Robert said. "Reading is really important, to me at least. I love to read. Kids now seem like they don't love reading as much as it's disappointing. When you find a book with a really good story, it's so much fun, I think."

Meanwhile, Roberts, who was recently on the cover of Teen magazine with "High School Musical's" Zac Efron, is preparing for "Unfabulous" to return to TV. In September, the final season will begin.

"I think this is our best season. I mean, it's really funny," she said. "All of us really had, like, a good time. It's the last season so we did the best we could and had a lot of fun."

Roberts is preparing for the arrival of her new cousin. Her aunt Julia is nine months pregnant and Roberts said she is doing really well.

"I haven't talked to her in a couple weeks because we've been on different coasts but I hear she's doing great," she said, "and the twins are very well."

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