“comedy makes me nervous!”

by ali hoffman

From playing Maddie on Ally McBeal to Claire on Heroes, we've spent dozens of hours on the couch watching Hayden Panettiere. But even though the 22-year-old has a better resume than most actors double her age, she's definitely not slowing down anytime soon. We caught up with the sporty blonde to talk about her new movie Fireflies in the Garden, being a kid actor, and, duh, Taylor Swift.

You've had so much more life experience than your average 22-year-old. Do you feel older than 22?

Yeah, it's pretty wild!

You started acting so young! Were you begging your parents to go on auditions as a toddler?

Well, at eight months old I wasn't exactly begging my parents to go on auditions! I did my first commercial at eleven-months-old. When I ask my mom, she says she figured she would get some baby pictures out of it.  (Laughs) She got a little bit more than that!

Fireflies in the Garden has a really impressive cast.  Were you intimidated going into it?  I always get a little bit nervous- less about who I'm working with. But it fell into place and it was such an easy going laid-back set.

So it was it a fun experience overall?  Yeah! It was definitely interesting because it was the first film I had done since Heroes.  It's a much slower pace.

In the movie, you play a younger version of Emily Watson's character. Did you hang out with her a lot?  I actually only met her once!

Do you think you'll get back into TV soon?  Um, potentiality, if the right thing comes along. I don't know if I'd ever do something quite as extravagant as heroes. But we'll see what comes along. That's the exciting and terrifying thing about this whole industry- you never know. But there's definitely something to be said about playing a character for a significant amount of time. Getting to grow and change, getting to know them better, and just getting to create them more and more-- that's cool, that's really cool for an actor.

Do you miss being on Heroes? I was so young when I started.  I kind of got to grow up with the character and change at the same time as her. I didn't have the freedom to go off and do other projects. But it was an amazing experience and I'm glad that at that point in my life i had something to keep me preoccupied. It probably kept me out of a lot of trouble.

L.A. or N.Y.?  L.A. is beautiful and great, and if it weren't for the traffic it would be a great place to live.

This is random, but we loved those faux PSA's you did for Funny or Die! You should do more comedy!  Oh god that was such a long time ago! I love comedy but it makes me nervous.  I don't generally think of myself as a funny person, but i would love to do comedy. I did that little bit on Malcolm and the Middle and it was one of my favorite things that I've ever done.

What's on your “Top 25 Most Played”?  Well, I'm constantly listening to Taylor Swift. I love Miranda Lambert! I'm a big country music fan. Man, I have such an eclectic taste in music though (laughs).  Sometimes it's country, and sometimes it's hard-core rap.