Ryan Delap, Waldo West Productions
Vivien Cardone has a lead role in the family drama "All Roads Lead Home," being released locally on Friday.

There are a few kids who are Vivien Cardone's age who haven't even begun to assess their careers and futures. But at 15, she is already living in what she calls a state of "semi-retirement."

Who can blame her, really? Cardone has been acting professionally since she was just a few months old. And in the past decade she's appeared in both an Academy Award-winning drama ("A Beautiful Mind") and had a recurring role for four seasons on a successful television series ("Everwood").

"I've already done more in that time than a lot of the actors I've met or worked with. I think I can give myself a little break now," she said by telephone.

Cardone means business. She hasn't taken on any major film or television work since 2006, and she is currently attending Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper.

Speaking of which, she moved to Utah in 2002 when she was cast as Delia Brown, the daughter of Treat Williams' character in "Everwood." (The series was shot primarily in the Beehive State.)

Of course, that meant uprooting her and her six-member family, which had been living in Long Island at the time. She calls that "a huge sacrifice."

"I really appreciate what my family did for me. It wasn't easy to leave everything we'd done there and known."

Fortunately, Cardone reports that she and her family "absolutely love Utah and absolutely love the weather and the mountains here." And since coming to Utah, her mother, Lisa, has amassed "an entire households of animals," which "has definitely rubbed off on me."

In fact, the younger Cardone believes that her obvious love of animals may have something to her getting a lead role in the family drama "All Roads Lead Home." (The film is being released locally on Friday.)

She stars as Belle Lawlor, a pre-teen who commits an act of vandalism in an animal shelter and is then sent to live with her stern grandfather (Peter Coyote) on his ranch.

"It was a fun experience. I got to play with dogs and horses and all kinds of animals," she said with a giggle.

But the teen expressed a certain amount of sadness about her co-star, Peter Boyle, who gave his final big-screen performance in the movie. (He died in 2006, just months after "All Roads" wrapped production.)

"I didn't get to work with him much, but the times I did were very special. You could see he was struggling and was very sick, and yet he was giving everything he had. It was heartbreaking," she said with a sigh.

Cardone calls Boyle an "inspiration," and suggested that she may return to acting eventually. In the meantime, she's concentrating on her studies.

And future schooling may include some filmmaking classes. "I know everybody says this, but I'm really interested in directing. I'm not saying it will be my career, but I'd like to learn about it."

E-mail: [email protected]