Young actress stars in Atlanta-made ‘Prisoners’

Of all the entertainers we've interviewed lately, Kyla-Drew Simmons was by far the most charming.

"My favorite movie is 'Bride Wars' with Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway. It has my favorite actress, Kate Hudson," the 9-year-old said before noting her other favorite actress: "Jennifer Garner, because we have the same birthday."

Originally from Atlanta, Kyla-Drew stars in the thriller “Prisoners,” which was filmed here and hits theaters on Friday.

"I play Joy. She's really shy and wears glasses, which I'm neither of that," she said, discussing getting into character. "She and her best friend get kidnapped. It was all scary to me."

We wanted to tread lightly over the serious subject matter, but Kyla-Drew had a very mature way of dealing with the trauma her character goes through.

“It just made me feel scared, just thinking about the fact that Joy got kidnapped,” she said. “But it was Joy doing it. It wasn’t me doing it.”

The movie stars Viola Davis and Terrence Howard as Joy's parents. Maria Bello and Hugh Jackman play the parents of Joy's friend Anna, played by Erin Gerasimovich. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the detective working to find the girls.

Kyla-Drew's other film credits have included a role in the 2012 Bette Midler-Billy Crystal comedy "Parental Guidance." It also filmed in Atlanta, where she still has family.

“I started at 5 years old,” the young film veteran said. “I saw movies and stuff and I wanted to grow up and be like that. I asked my mom and she said, ‘Yes.’ Then we got an agent and we went to auditions.”

She'll be seen in "Soul Ties," with Rocsi Diaz, Terri J. Vaughn, Victoria Rowell and Christopher McDonald, next year, and looks forward to future projects. Asked about the highlights of being an actress, she didn't hesitate.

“I like the food the best,” she said. “The people in the catering were really, really nice. And they made great food. If I had to do another movie set and they weren’t there, I would be like, ‘Oh my.’ The best thing about working on ‘Prisoners’? OK, let me think. It was the people. I really enjoyed working with Hugh Jackman on ‘Prisoners.’ He gave us lottery tickets!”

In her downtime, Kyla-Drew got to visit area attractions including the Georgia Aquarium. “My favorite fish was the dolphin,” she said.

Wrapping up, Kyla-Drew had just one more thing to add. She wanted us to be sure to mention her mom, KaTrina Simmons.

“She’s the proudest woman in the world!” Kyla-Drew said.

Is it any wonder?