Vanessa Hudgens Believes in Love in Beastly
By: Lynn Barker
Since Kidzworld visited the Beastly set in Montreal a while back, Vanessa has moved on with her life, has new films coming out and has put her singing career on the back burner. We’re with her now for an update and more questions about her experiences on set.
Picture the pretty brunette actress wearing a casual “suit” with an off-white sheer, sleeveless vest glammed up with silver threading and crochet on the shoulders, over an olive tank. She’s accessorizing with a huge silver chain necklace, lots of silver rings and her red nails.
Here’s the latest dish:
Kidzworld: Who is your outfit by? We love it.
- Vanessa Hudgens: My suit is by Topshop and the top, the vest, beaded thing is by Badgley Mischka. I love the crochet and beadwork.
Kidzworld: Did you end up keeping the dress you said you liked when we chatted on set in Montreal?
- Vanessa Hudgens: No but I kept a bracelet that I wore. I really wanted to take my rose necklace because it was so symbolic of 'Beauty and the Beast', you know. But never got around to that.
Kidzworld: This film is about judging a book by its cover and Hollywood is all about that. Do you find Hollywood to be superficial, or have you been able to avoid that?
- Vanessa Hudgens: I feel like a lot of people think of Hollywood as being fake, but it’s only perceived that way because it takes ten people to make someone look the way that they do. In reality, they’re there because they are doing what they’re passionate about. I feel like I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve gotten to meet and work with some really passionate people. They are where they are because they’re doing what they truly love.
Kidzworld: In Beastly, love changes both your character and certainly Alex’s. What does love mean for you?
- Vanessa Hudgens: I think a really beautiful thing this movie shows is you have to love yourself before you can love anyone. And I think that's very, very important no matter how old you are, no matter what you're doing, to be able to just love yourself because that's when things fall into place, I feel.
Kidzworld: The story of Beauty and the Beast has been adapted so many times, for film and television. Is there a specific incarnation of the story that you like the most?
- Vanessa Hudgens: I sat down with Daniel Barnz, our director, and the first thing he said to me was that the beast would have no fur. I thought that was really interesting because that’s how it’s always been looked at. Taking that away gave it a whole new reality and realism that hasn’t been touched on before. I am a big fan of the original Disney animated movie. I grew up on those movies. I wanted to be Belle. What girl didn’t want to be a princess and find a guy who she could call her own and who transforms into a handsome prince? I’ve always been such a big fan. I’m definitely for the message, and have always believed in that.
Kidzworld: What kind of a girl is your character Lindy?
- Vanessa Hudgens: Lindy is kind of a girl who I think thinks it's easier to go through life under the radar, to just kind of blend in because it's easier. And that's why I think that the story is so beautiful is because through somebody else and through the beauty that she sees in him, it helps her find herself, as well.
Kidzworld: Neil Patrick Harris plays the “beast’s” blind tutor. Was he cool to work with?
- Vanessa Hudgens: So much fun. We had such a blast. Neil is not only hysterical, his body of work is amazing, but he's just such a really, really sweet, kind guy. He's so generous and really committed. He wore these contacts so he actually could not see. He could see out of his peripherals. But he couldn't see what was going on, which made things interesting.
Kidzworld: What was your first reaction when you saw Alex in his beast make-up?
- Vanessa Hudgens: It was odd. It was really, really weird. They kind of kept it a secret from me for as long as they could. And then one night he was in Daniel's trailer and they called me in. He was just sitting there and I was literally in shock. I didn't know what to say or do. He was just looking up at me and was not saying a word. And it was really haunting but fascinating at the same time. I loved it. I thought there was something so mysterious and sexy about it. It was cool.
Kidzworld: When you were a teen, was there a romantic movie that just blew you away?
- Vanessa Hudgens: There's so many. I mean I guess you could consider them chick flicks. But I mean like Never Been Kissed [starring Drew Barrymore]. It’s just fun and romantic.
Kidzworld: Do you have a favorite scene in this film?
- Vanessa Hudgens: There are several scenes that I really enjoyed. I think one really great thing that Daniel worked with us on is the banter that our characters have. It's kind of like when you meet somebody new where there's an attraction and you can tell because you're just bouncing things off of each other. And that's one thing that we really wanted to establish. There wasn't that much dead space and, when there was, it was the awkward moment that I feel like teens have so very often. So I feel like some of the scenes where our banter is kind of in sync with each other is just a really sweet thing.
Kidzworld: Alex, as the beast, writes a hand-written letter and gives it to you. In this age of cyber-romance, did you ever get or send a romantic paper letter?
- Vanessa Hudgens: I actually was a pen pal with one guy a long time ago. I think we only wrote to each other twice. Didn't really keep it up that long. But, I love it. I think it's really sweet and very creative and freeing when you get to put a pen to a paper because you don't really do it that much these days with all this technology. [Writing letters] is actually how my parents met. They were pen pals. My mom was in the Philippines and my father was in the states and they wrote to each other. And he went out to meet her and they were wed not too long after.
Kidzworld: How romantic but that was before Match.com.
- Vanessa Hudgens: [laughs] Yeah, this is true.
Kidzworld: You’ve said that Mary-Kate, who plays the witchy girl who “curses” the beast in the film, is one of your idols. What was your impression after working with her?
- Vanessa Hudgens: I think one thing that I really took from Mary-Kate was just her way of being. She is very surprisingly laid back. And just a really cool smart and collected girl. I'm such a big fan of hers ever since I was young and now I’m a fan of her and her sister's fashion lines [The Row and Olsenboye]. She's just really surprisingly grounded and she's just a cool chick.
Kidzworld: What or who keeps you grounded?
- Vanessa Hudgens: Family. Definitely my family. I'm so close to my mom, my sister, and my dad. If it wasn't for them I would not be the person who I am and I obviously wouldn't be here. But, yeah, I think it's just about keeping people who are close to me near. And people who love themselves and who are true to themselves and who have their own hobbies, and their world doesn't revolve around Hollywood. I can always go to my family with any doubts or questions that I may have. It's nice.
Kidzworld: With your music background, would you like to guest on “Glee”?
- Vanessa Hudgens: Yeah. Totally. I mean I love musicals and I'm always singing so why not document it?
Kidzworld: What piece of advice has stuck in your mind over the years?
- Vanessa Hudgens: One thing I think that is more valid for me now than ever is just to be present and in the now. And to not really worry about the past. I mean, of course, you can dream ahead to the future but just to really make the best out of what you have at that moment.
Kidzworld: So what can we look forward to seeing soon from you and what are you working on now?
- Vanessa Hudgens: Well, Sucker Punch is coming out later this month, which I'm very excited about because not only is it fun and big in action, it also leaves you with a really great message saying that you basically have control of your future and your destiny. And I got to work with some amazing young women. And I just shot a movie called Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. I got to work with Michael Caine, which was awesome. And got to shoot in Hawaii for two months. So it's going to be a fun, big, 3-D adventure.