You might not know about Miley Cyrus, but shetalksrealfastjustlikethis. She not only talks at a breathless pace, she also does so in a husky voice. If she wasn't already a successful television, movie and pop star, she could have a rewarding career in radio. As if she has time for another job.
She is busy working the always-difficult transition from teen idol to grown-up actress. To that end, she stars in the romantic drama "The Last Song," which opens Wednesday.
Based on a Nicholas Sparks novel (his earlier books were turned into the films "The Notebook" and "Dear John," among others), the film stars the 17 year-old pop sensation as a moody teen who is sent by her mother to spend the summer with her father. Despite her best efforts to have a miserable time, she falls for a local boy, played by Australian newcomer Liam Hemsworth. In a case of life imitating art, the two young actors began an off-screen relationship during filming, and are still dating.
While the film is a first step toward making the transition to adult performer, Cyrus still maintains a firm, if reluctant, foothold in her other world.
Her Disney Channel series "Hannah Montana" is filming its final season. The series led to two hit movies - "Hannah Montana: The Movie" and the concert film "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour." She also voiced the character Penny in the animated movie "Bolt," and recorded four No. 1 albums in three years. Oh, did we mention the book she wrote ("Miles to Go"), and her clothing line?
If this all sounds exhausting, it would be for most people. But in the tall, coltish Cyrus, whose father is country singer Billy Ray Cyrus and mother Tish is one of her new film's executive producers, seems to have boundless energy. But not, however, boundless patience. She is anxious to get started on the next phase of her career, and said as much in this interview in a Santa Monica hotel suite.
Although you can imagine her answers delivered at breakneck, teenage-girl-speed, feel free ti read her responses as deliberately as you like.
OC Register: We're here to discuss your new movie between airings of parts one and two of the third-year finale of your Disney series. It certainly seems as if you're building to this next phase of your career while the previous one is still going on.
Miley Cyrus: Yeah, definitely. We're already working on the last season of the series. It feels like we're wiping the slate clean, so we can move on and do something new. I've done all that. I feel like there are so many chapters of your life; I'm ready to start a new chapter.
Q. Although the last three years have been a whirlwind for you, it seems as if you are determined not to be a flash in the pan, but, rather, someone who wants a long career in show business. Is that an accurate assessment?
A. Definitely. I think that's why this movie is so important to me. By working on this movie, I got out of the public eye for a while. I don't want to be in the press every day because I don't want people to burn out from seeing me all the time, I really can't help it though, because the paparazzi follows me everywhere I go. This movie allowed me to feel as if every move i made wasn't being watched every second. It was kind of a good break for me. Then I went on tour for three months and I was in the public eye but not really. You'd have to go on tour to understand how it's a different world. Like when you're on tour, nothing else exists. It's the weirdest thing. I don't even know what dad or little sister's doing half the time. You wake up in a different time zone every day. You get up late because you work real late. Our show ends at 11 p.m., and then once you've been bouncing around for an hour-and-a-half, you can't, like, go right to sleep. Your energy's still up. You get up at 5 in the morning to get to a new hotel, you sleep for two hours; it's crazy. I hadn't been to my house in literally, like, seven or eight months. When I got back to my house, I was, like: "Half this stuff doesn't fit me anymore. This isn't even who I am anymore." It's weird how much I changed in that time.
Q. Do you mean physically?
A. I mean everything. I mean who I am. I think I became more fit on tour. I felt like this was what my body needed to be like to be healthy and strong. When I got back, even my room was so different. The things I wrote on the wall, the quotes, have all become true for me. It was such a crazy period of changing. I got to spend about two weeks at home before I was off on the tour.
Q. You did the movie before the tour?
A. Yes. We did that for two months. I came home for two weeks to rehearse for the tour, and then left for the tour for another three months.
Q. During a period like this, are you able to grow as a person, or does this hectic schedule and pressures from other people prevent that?
A. In the beginning, I felt like I had to do what everyone said, or otherwise this will all be taken away from me. But, you know something? At the end of the day, I have to live with myself. I feel a lot more independent now because I'm not going to be working for one single company anymore. It's not like I'm going to have to get new music out for the TV season, or I have to do this, or I have to do that. I don't have to do anything. If I want to take a break, I can take it. The ball's in my court, which is great, but it's also scary because I'm so used to the job security of the TV show. That was like having a normal job.
Q. So, there was a time when you thought you might lose it all?
A. Not that I'd lose it all. No, no, no. But more like it's my comfort zone. With films and the tour, I'm working, like, 24 hours a day, but "Hannah Montana" is easy because it's second nature to me. It's like breathing. It's comfortable; it's not like the first day of work.
Q. Has the media been too hard on you?
A. I think at times it has, but everybody wants to sell their magazines. They want to sell a magazine like I want to sell a CD. I say what people want to hear to sell my CDs, and I guess other companies tell people what they want to hear to sell magazines.
Q. That's That's magnanimous, but I doubt whether you feel very generous when the media is scrutinizing every move you make in public.
A. I used to care, but I don't anymore. There's only so many times you can say it bugs you. Of course it bugs me. I would rather them talk about the hard work I put into this film than what I've been doing in my private life. At the end of my life, I'm not going to be sitting there with People magazine in front of me and worrying what they said about me. I'm going to be thinking about the good things I did. Those are the things that matter.
Q. What about the pressures placed on you to be a good role model to young girls?
A. I think the pressure's kind of off me. I think people wish I cared more, but I don't. My parents never helf someone else up my role model. I'm not an excuse to not parent your kid. If I do something wrong, it's up to you to point out what's wrong. I'm 17; I'm not their guardian, I'm not anything. My job is to be a singer and an actress, not to be a parent.
Q. What was different about shooting this movie compared with shooting your TV show?
A. IT's the timing. There's a kissing scene in the movie, and it took four days to shoot it because the light had to be just right. On "Hannah Montana," we shoot everything in two days. In the turtle hatching scene, I was so excited that we finished that i jumped into the ocean in my gown. Then they told me we had to shoot the scene again the next day. Really sorry about the dress.
Q. OK, I understand the longer shooting schedule, but I was wondering about the differences inside your head.
A. No, it's all the same; just a different part of my career.
Q. What is your career plan?
A. I'm the world's worst planner, but I have good people around me who are good planners. I'm kind of weird because I want to work, work, work. But I do get run down once in a while. My New Year's resolution thing was to take one step at a time, don't overthink anything and only do things that are really, really important.
Q. I assume you love the work?
Q. But does being a brand ever take the fun out of it?
A. Sometimes, it's a weight. But I think that getting away from "Hannah Montana" might help because I won't be a part of that franchise thing anymore.
Q. But you acknowledge that you are a brand?
A. Oh yeah, I'm a walking doll.
Q. I only thought about driving a car when i was 17. What do you think about?
A. I have always wanted to work since I was little. It's always been that way. I like working. I like feeling like I have a purpose. I like having a reason to wake up every day.
Q. Where did this attitude come from?
A. I have no idea. I've always been superdriven. My little brother is a way better guitar player than me, and he wants nothing to do with the fame. That's the way he is, and this is the way I am. It's all I ever lived for - to be on a stage in front of people.
Miley hosting SNL October 3, 2015
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