An Interview with Vanessa Hudgens
By Wilson Morales
August 3, 2009
Having done so much for 'High School Musical' and vice-versa, Vanessa Hudgens needs a new venue to focus on. As she looks over numerous scripts and projects, she decided to take on a project where she's part of the cast and not the lead. At the same time, she infuses some of her musical skills in the film so that her fans are too disappointed. In her latest film, 'Bandslam,' Hudgens stars along Alyson Michalka, Gaelen Connell, Lisa Kudrow, Scott Porter, Tim Jo, Ryan Donowho, Elvy Yost, Lisa Chung, and Charlie Saxton.
When teenager Will Burton (Connell) moves to New Jersey with his mom due to her new job, he finds that rock-n-roll rules the scene at his new school. Perpetually a misfit, Will strikes up a friendship with like-minded outsider Sa5m (the 5 is silent) (Hudgens). They are both surprised when the school's "it" girl, Charlotte (Michalka) recruits Will to help assemble a band to compete in "Bandslam," a battle of the bands that is "Texas High School Football BIG." For the first time in his life, Will finds he is uniquely suited to not only participate in something, but to truly make a difference.
In speaking to Blackfilm.com, Hudgens talks about her character, her favorite bands, and her future films.
||WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THIS ROLE, THE MUSIC OR THE DIFFERENT CHARACTER TYPE IN THIS?
VH: I think the message of this story is so great. Hopefully it'll inspire people to go off and try new things. I thought the music was fantastic. Introducing [David] Bowie to kids is going to be so great and then the role, yeah. I get bored easily doing the same thing and it can be hard because when people see you as the same character for so long people can't help but think of you as only that. So once I heard that Sam was deadpan and introverted I was like, 'I'm so in.'
WERE YOU PRETTY FAMILIAR WITH ALL THE MUSIC IN THIS OR WAS IT ALL NEW TO YOU?
Vanessa Hudgens: Honestly, I knew all the music that was in it. I watched the movie and I was like, 'Oh, I love that song. I can't believe that's in the movie.' I was so excited that I loved so much of it. I love Cheap Trick.
DID YOU GET TURNED ON TO ANYTHING YOU DIDN'T KNOW THAT YOU'RE A BIG FAN OF NOW?
VH: Well, we had some of the bands who were actually in Austin. The Burning Hotels. Now I'm in love with them and I was just listening to their song this morning. I think they're great, but all the known performers I knew.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT AUDITIONING FOR THIS ROLE, IF YOU DID IN FACT AUDITION?
VH: I always audition for everything I do. I feel like that's the right way to go about getting a job. I had a brain fart though and forgot that I had to sing a song and came completely unprepared. Todd [Graff] was like, 'Okay, what song are you going to sing?' I was like, 'Ugh…nothing.' He said, 'Well, there's sheet music over there.' I was like, 'Okay –' and I shuffled through this sheet music and found 'Rehab' by Amy Winehouse and ended up doing that song. I guess it was just a matter of hearing a different tone in my voice which I completely understand.
DID YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH A LOT OF CHANGES TO PLAY THIS CHARACTER, WAS SHE REALLY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT YOU'VE DONE BEFORE?
VH: Not necessarily. I mean, it's fun. I love acting because I get to play the different characters. So when I heard that she was like deadpan introverted I said, 'I'm so in.'
AND SHE SINGS A CERTAIN WAY, TOO.
VH: Yeah, and that's fun. I think that because I'm a singer I'm able to pick a place in my voice and just kind of keep it there.
|HOW DID YOUR HIGH SCHOOL EXPERIENCE COMPARE TO THIS CHARACTER'S EXPERIENCE?
VH: Well, I was home schooled and that consisted of me sitting around at home in my pajamas with my mom teaching me and then going to Disneyland afterwards because we lived down the street. So it was different. Definitely not as exciting.
DID YOU MISS BEING PICKED ON?
VH: Who would, honestly? No. I got to skip all the drama, if anything, and so I'm happy about it.
THE LAST SONG 'EVERYTHING I OWN' YOU HIT OUT OF THE PARK. HOW WAS THAT TO DO?
VH: It was so raw, raw to the point where I look at it now and go, 'Oh, dear God.' But it was a lot of fun. I think that for Sam, she's shy and rock music isn't really her forte and it's not necessarily mine either. So it was just a new and fun thing for me to be able to get up on the stage and jump around.
HOW MANY TAKES DID YOU DO OF THAT SONG?
VH: Quite a few. We covered it in a few different angles, but I just had a great time. I was trying to do the windmill. It was really fun.
DID YOU APPRECIATE THE ROLE OF BEING MORE IN THE SHADOW OF ALY [MILCHAKA] OR DID YOU CARE?
VH: I didn't really care. Honestly, it was just the fact that it was different and that was a lot of fun for me.
AND HOW WAS THE KISSING SCENE?
VH: Awesome. I love it. I think it's hysterical. We rehearsed it several times because it's extremely complicated and it's all about the right timing. It was funny and fun.
||SAM IS A TORTURED SOUL WHO'S HAIR AND CLOTHES WERE PERFECT. WHY WAS THAT?
VH: Ask the producers. I don't know [laughs]. If I'd have had it my way I would've totally done the Ally Sheedy in 'Breakfast Club' with the craziness all over the place, but hey, it's okay. It's one step closer to something.
ARE THERE ANY BANDS THAT YOU WOULD'VE LIKED TO HAVE SEEN IN THE MOVIE THAT WEREN'T IN THERE?
VH: I don't know. I feel that the music in this film is dead on. It's perfect. My sense of music is the same and has a lot of different things as well, but I think it was perfect.