You know them mostly for their virginal roles on Disney shows like Wizards of Waverly Place and the High School Musical series. But Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens will smash that image to pieces with their dark and somewhat disturbing portrayal of college girls gone wild in Spring Breakers.
While the name may conjure up images of innocent, youthful revelry, the movie explores much more mature themes as the four protagonists venture from rite-of-passage partying to criminal behavior. The chain-smoking, bong-hitting, coke-snorting, gun-toting, bikini-clad “bad girls” show a side of themselves we didn’t think was possible.
“It’s seriously unlike anything you’ve ever seen before,” Hudgens told SheKnows when we sat down with the cast in Los Angeles recently. “It was such a liberating experience for all of us. We pushed ourselves every day and we pushed it to the limit. We had a great time.”
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With their immaculate hair, makeup and stylish outfits, it was hard to reconcile the image of these beautiful actresses with the troubled teens they play in the movie. But Hudgens told us, in the words of the film’s idol Britney Spears, they’re not that innocent.
“I think we knew we had it in us deep down,” said Vanessa. “We all have a bit of a gangster side.”
“We definitely wanted to emasculate him,” said Hudgens. “James is game. He’s really down to take it to the next level.”
Off camera though, the ladies reverted to more wholesome behavior.
“We were dancing and making music videos in the bathroom,” laughed Benson. “There was this big fan and we would just do photo shoots with our hair blowing around. And James would be just reading a book off to the side.”
So can we expect more controversial roles for the girls going forward?
“Obviously, I am in a little bit of a transitional phase,” 20-year-old Gomez told us. “I’ve been enjoying it. I don’t think there’s really a right or wrong answer in what projects I’m going to pick from this point on but I thought it was a perfect choice for me. It was a great director, a great cast, and I’m definitely proud of it.”
You can catch Selena, Vanessa, Ashley, Rachel and James in Spring Breakers in theaters today.