First-Grade Actress Asia Vieira, Who Plays the Good Daughter to Diane Keaton in The Good Mother

updated 11/28/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/28/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

"I'm not special. I'm just a plain girl who does movies," declares 6-year-old Asia Vieira. But in The Good Mother, Disney's R-rated drama, she is anything but plain. When Diane Keaton and James Naughton, as a divorced couple, tangle over custody of their 6-year-old daughter, Molly, it's easy to feel their pain: Vieira would be hard to live without. "Asia is remarkably vibrant and full of life, "says director Leonard Nimoy, who auditioned hundreds of minitalents before discovering Asia.

Asia, so named because her parents thought it sounded nice, began acting at 4. To make The Good Mother she spent three months commuting to sets in Canada and the U.S. with her mom, Barbara, 39, a housewife. (Dad Peter, a 35-year-old stagehand, and 3-year-old brother Zak stayed home in Toronto.) The first grader told her story to reporter Melanie Reffes:

Some of my friends want to do movies because they think it's all fun, but it's also a lot of hard work. When we got the script, my mom and I practiced every night. The hard part was thinking I am Molly, not Asia. I had to say to myself over and over: Molly isn't me. She's a cutie pie and she's shy. I am not shy.

Diane Keaton doesn't have kids, so I was like her daughter during the movie. She liked skipping rope with me, and she always helped me with my lines.

When I found out Molly stays with her father, I thought that meant I had to live with James Naughton. Then Mr. Nimoy said, "Molly stays with her father, but you can go home with your real parents."

The first time I met Leonard Nimoy, I asked him to show me the Vulcan handshake. On my birthday they made me a surprise party on the set. I got a Mickey Mouse pajama bag that everyone said was from Mr. Disney. He's Mr. Nimoy's boss.

I would like to see The Good Mother, but I know I'm too young, because it's about divorce and that kind of stuff. But maybe I can see it when I turn 7 on May 18. Or I'll have to wait till it's on home video. I hope it won't be in the grown-up section.

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