Vanessa Hudgens: Our Set Visit to Beastly!
By: Lynn Barker
Vanessa and Zac have broken up but, this March, she and hottie Alex Pettyfer of I Am Number Four “hook up” on screen as a new, modern, high school version of beauty and the beast in the fantasy romance Beastly based on the popular novel by Alex Flinn.
A couple of summers ago Kidzworld visited the Montreal, Canada sets of the film built in a huge sound stage complex. We were on a stage where a rooftop in Brooklyn, New York had been recreated. Ah, it’s the “beast’s” lair where he lives in hiding. He captures his “beauty” Lindy, played by Vanessa, and keeps her in a posh room below. We learn she is locked up there until she falls for the beast.
After watching Alex, on the “rooftop” in his beast make-up, do a scene with Neil Patrick Harris who plays his blind tutor, we are called out into a huge parking lot full of big rig trucks and production trailers to find Vanessa’s personal trailer. She comes out and we plant ourselves in folding chairs. It’s evening and she’s taking a break to talk to us.
Kidzworld: Are you doing anything for the "Beastly" soundtrack? I know you don't sing in the film.
- Vanessa: Probably not. As of now I'm not but this is my first movie without any music and I want to keep it that way (she laughs). But, I love musicals. I grew up doing them so a part of me does miss that whole fantasy aspect to it but this, in itself, is a fantasy so it's just nice to be able to separate the two.
Kidzworld: So no albums by you coming out for a while?
- Vanessa: No. I'm putting it on the back burner for now just because I'm doing this and I really want to focus on it then I'll be doing another movie Sucker Punch which I want to focus on. But, I don't want to do another album just to be doing it and have it be half-a**ed. I really want to take the time to figure out what I want to be as a (musical) artist so it will take a while before I do another one.
Kidzworld: Did you read the "Beauty and the Beast" fairy tale growing up?
- Vanessa: Well, I saw every single [kwlink3418]Disney[/kwlink] fairy tale known to man ever (she laughs). They were my favorites. Every little girl wanted to be a princess. So, I just fell in love with this as soon as I heard about it.
Kidzworld: What was your favorite fairy tale on film?
- Vanessa: Probably Aladdin. It was the most ethnic a Disney character got.
Kidzworld: Ah, Princess Jasmine! What has been the most challenging scene for you so far?
- Vanessa: So many of the scenes have been challenging for me just because I'm playing things I've never done before like the love of my life getting shot and my dad being a drug addict. It's a lot heavier than I think people think this movie is going to be. But probably one of the scenes where the beast transforms was hardest for me.
Kidzworld: Did you and "beast" Alex (Pettyfer) sit down before you started shooting the film to talk about the relationship or how you were going to approach your roles?
- Vanessa: Oh yeah. Me, Alex and (her director) Daniel (Barnz) had a rehearsal period for about two weeks before we started filming where we really developed our characters and worked on the scenes and just figured everything out which was really nice.
Kidzworld: Yeah. You don't get to do that kind of prep every time. Sooo, do you think that Alex is hotter as the beast or as himself?
- Vanessa: (she doesn't even pause) As the beast!
Kidzworld: I like that. It's the bad girl answer.. (we laugh).
- Vanessa: No, but there is something very magical about him as the beast. That's when Lindy (her character) falls in love with him. It frightening and gruesome but it's fun. It's like hot too, yeah.
Kidzworld: You are a fashionista. Is there any wardrobe in "Beastly" that you would like to keep and take home?
- Vanessa: My character is very Bohemian. She is not necessarily the flower child girl but she has her own thing. She's poor so a lot of her things are kind of ripped up. Her jeans are ripped...
Kidzworld: But, hey, that is still in.
- Vanessa: I know! Which I love. But you see her wearing a lot of the same clothes throughout the movie but there is this one dress that she wears to the Green Party and it's actually the wardrobe designer (Suttirat Larlarb's) very own piece and it's this gorgeous, very flowy, long dress that has almost a vintage vibe to it. It's green and orange and cream. It's beautiful!
Kidzworld: I've heard that you might also be designing clothes if you weren't acting and singing, true?
- Vanessa: Yeah. I love fashion so much and I love creating new looks and new themes and styles so it's something I think I'll touch eventually but not right now.
Kidzworld: What about your own clothing line? So many young stars are putting them out there.
- Vanessa: Yeah. I've definitely thought about it and want to do it eventually. Just, right now, I'm really focusing on acting and I'm just going to take it one step at a time.
Kidzworld: So in what order were you and Alex cast for the roles?
- Vanessa: I think that Daniel was working with Alex and they were thinking about me for the part as well so I went in and met with Daniel and he was like, 'we would love it if you guys would read together so we had a 'chemistry read' they called it and, yeah, and we went to work a few weeks later.
Kidzworld: The message of the film has to be 'don't judge everyone by their surface appearance'. What would you say to girls especially who think how they look is just everything?
Vanessa: It's not everything and I really hope that girls will get that from this movie. So much of that is taken on by Hollywood and girls look up to it and all they see is this beauty and glamour but, behind that, are people working really hard.
We're all really passionate about it and that's who we are. It just doesn't matter what's on the outside. Sure, it's nice to look great but just as long as you know who you are, you'll be a happy person. It will just make you miserable if (looks) are all you care about. You'll just drive yourself into the ground.
Kidzworld: Did you get to look around Montreal at all?
- Vanessa: A little bit. Me and Mary-Kate (Olsen) and Dakota (Johnson) we would hang out and go window shopping which was a lot of fun.
Kidzworld: You were saying you hurt your leg earlier. Were they any accidents on set?
- Vanessa: I just fall 24/7 and it's funny because my character's line is 'I can barely walk without falling down' and they have like four takes of me walking to my mark and falling down. I never mean to. I'm just a klutz. I really am.
Kidzworld: But you are a good dancer.
- Vanessa: But, honestly, I think all dancers are the biggest klutzes. I don't know why but it's true.
Kidzworld: Before Kyle (played by Alex) becomes the beast, he's pretty self-obsessed. But a lot of girls are attracted to guys like that. What would you say to them?
- Vanessa: Just quit while you're ahead. A person does have to love themselves before they can love others but if they are so obsessive about themselves, I feel it's insecurity. They tend to overcompensate and be like that. I think it's stupid and if you are attracted to someone like that, just know you deserve better.
Kidzworld: Because there's a thin line between someone who is confident and then just all about them!
- Vanessa: Yeah, an extremely thin line, exactly.
Kidzworld: Is there a message you would like to get out to your fans?
- Vanessa: I want to say 'don't be afraid to try new things' because I used to be extremely lazy and I'd be stuck doing the same thing over and over and life becomes routine and there's so much out there that you can do. So many exciting things; things that improve you; fitness. There's so much out there for you to try and just live life freer.