Carly Schroeder plays daughter to Harrison Ford (inset) in Firewall.
got her first big break when she was spotted in a Shake 'N Bake commercial by Kin Shriner
and subsequently went on to play the soap vet's angelic TV daughter, Serena, for six years on the General Hospital
spin-off, Port Charles
. Schroeder has also shared girl time with Hilary Duff
in The Lizzie McGuire Movie
and "lisp-synched" Cindy Brady in the TV-movie Growing Up Brady
. Now, the 15-year-old lovely is playing Harrison Ford
's spunky daughter in the hostage thriller Firewall
(in theaters today). Here's what Schroeder had to tell TVGuide.com about leaving soaps to cross Hollywood's velvet ropes.
TVGuide.com: Firewall was your first big Tinseltown movie premiere, right?
Carly Schroeder: Yes! Jessica McClintock dressed me for it, which is so cool.
TVGuide.com: Fans still think of you as little Serena from PC. Let's hope you don't go from soap sweetie to Hollywood wild child like Lindsay Lohan (ex-Ali, Another World) did!
Schroeder: [Laughs] I'm a good girl who stays at home and loves her family. I'm not going out to bars or having any feuds with Hilary Duff. I don't think I have diva moments, except over which lip gloss to pick!
TVGuide.com: So let's talk about Firewall. What a great gig for you.
Schroeder: Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany and Virginia Madsen are amazing people to work with. Harrison Ford plays my banker father and he's a security genius. But Paul Bettany and his gang have us under surveillance for two years and we know nothing about it. Then one night, they come hold us captive to make Harrison withdraw all this money from his bank or else Paul's going to kill us.
TVGuide.com: Do you have scary scenes to play?
Schroeder: It gets really intense. One of the guys grabs me by the throat and holds a gun to my head — and we used real guns for this. Even though there's a camera there, it feels real. I needed someone to open up the gun between takes and prove to me there were no bullets in it.
Schroeder: I also have a fight with a bad guy where I knock over a lamp and pull down some wooden shutters. I was like, "I'm not gonna take this. You're gonna have to hold me back here, buddy!"
TVGuide.com: As the man who discovered you, Kin Shriner must be over the moon to see you on movie posters and billboards.
Schroeder: Kin is definitely a proud papa. He is my "other father." I actually have a whole soap-opera family. Lynn Herring [who played Lucy on GH and PC] sent my family a holiday card saying, "Kin's keeping us informed on all your little adventures." And Susan Brown, who played my grandma, Gail, came over to our house for Christmas. We're going to get together sometime this month to do our nails and have a sleepover!
TVGuide.com: Speaking of friends from your soap days, do you still have Serena's favorite doll, Dirty Kitty?
Schroeder: [Giggles] I have Dirty Kitty, and she's still dirty, unfortunately. She's in my guest room with a whole bunch of other stuffed animals.
TVGuide.com: So you're now a high-school freshman, which is normally the least glamorous part of anyone's life. Is it weird to live so differently from other teenagers?
Schroeder: It's definitely different from a normal childhood. I missed so much school during Port Charles, it wasn't even funny. I did three hours of tutoring a day, though, and I'm being homeschooled right now. The kids at school used to think I was away because I had divorced parents and I was going back and forth [between homes]!
TVGuide.com: You didn't tell them you were an actress?
Schroeder: No, I don't really tell people that. Of course, my friends know, but it's not like I ever introduced myself to people like, "Hi, I'm Carly Schroeder and I work on a soap opera. You may see me only a few days out of this school year." I don't like showing off like that. I like being myself.
TVGuide.com: When the time comes, will you take a break from showbiz to attend college?
Schroeder: I definitely want to go to college. I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. I do want to continue acting, but you've got to have a fallback plan. As a kid, I wanted to pump gas, just so I could talk to people — I was a social person! I also wanted to be a veterinarian or a garbageman. So who knows?
Daniel R. Coleridge is TVGuide.com's resident soap-opera expert. Read his dishy Soaps News column on Wednesdays and Fridays.