Filipino-American star Vanessa Hudgens has successfully made it on her own, despite a couple of setbacks and a failed relationship with her erstwhile screen and real-life partner, Zac Efron. The High School Musical leads were so attached with each other that people thought both their careers would take a hit once they announced that they have gone separate ways.
Vanessa shares the limelight with Josh Hutcherson (from the film The Kids are Alright) in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, along with a stellar cast that includes Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Luis Guzman and Kristin Davis. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island was released in 3D and 2D in select theaters and IMAX last week.
The 23-year old actress took time out from her busy schedule in Mexico to chat with the global media to promote the film. She expressed her excitement when she found out that she was doing the project and that excitement did not recede at all even after the film has been fully shot.
“This was such an extremely and incredibly fun movie to make. I knew that it was going to be fun just considering filming in Hawaii and being with such an awesome cast, but I never really actually realized until I got there that this would be this fun in my life. Working with the cast was phenomenal,” the young actress shared.
Vanessa described her cast-mates as very easy to work with, and their location in Hawaii as very appropriate for the adventure. “Dwayne Johnson was such a big sweet-heart, he’s so much fun and so caring. Luis Guzman became like my second father and was just such a riot to work with. Every single day he’d do improvisation and keep everyone on their toes,” she shared.
Of the veteran actor they shared the adventure film with, Vanessa had nothing but praises as well. “Michael Caine who is an absolute legend was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, he’s so enthusiastic about work which was really inspiring to see because he’s done so many incredible things and he’s still extremely passionate about what he does,” she said.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island was filmed on location in Oahu, Hawaii and features such sites as Waimea Valley, Heeia Kea, China Walls, Kualoa Ranch and Halona Beach Cove.
Hudgens started her musical theater career at the early age of eight, with roles in such productions as Carousel, The Wizard of Oz, The King & I, The Music Man, Cinderella and Damn Yankees, and most recently appeared as Mimi in a stage production of Rent at The Hollywood Bowl, directed by Neil Patrick Harris.
It was her role in Disney Channel’s breakaway sensation High School Musical that garnered the most praise and attention. She played Gabrielle Montez, the sweet girl torn between her attraction to both basketball jock Troy Bolton and the school musical auditions.
With critics and fans clamoring for more, Hudgens reprised her role in the highly successful follow ups, High School Musical 2 and the feature film High School Musical 3: Senior Year. She then followed up those hits by starring in Bandslam, a film which centers around a high school misfit and a popular girl who form an unlikely bond through their love for music.
Because this new Journey film was released in 3D and it involved quite a few fantasy-driven sequences, special effects here and there, the cast had to act with a lot of green screen as their background. Asked how it felt like watching the finished product for the first time, Vanessa said she was more than amazed.
“I really enjoyed watching it, me and Josh saw the final version in Melbourne, Australia for the world premiere, and I was sitting on the edge of my seat and jumping even when I knew that things were going to pop out. It was so much fun!,” she remarked.
Vanessa most recently starred in Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch and in Beastly, a modern-day take on Beauty & the Beast. Her upcoming film projects include the Ron Krauss drama Gimme Shelter, Scott Walker’s thriller The Frozen Ground, with Nicolas Cage and John Cusack, and the crime drama Spring Breakers.
“I did a few projects after Journey, I did one called Gimme Shelter, it’s kind of my first really heavy dramatic role that I’ve done. I’m completely transformed into this homeless, pregnant teen that is kind of fighting for her survival and the life of her child and it’s a really really hard and intense movie but it was so much fun to make,” she shared.
The actress has also finished another film called The Frozen Ground, which is based on a true story of this mass murderer in the ‘80s who was raping and killing a bunch of innocent females across the state of Alaska and would bury their bodies around the state.
“My character there is the one who got away and actually helped solve the case and put him behind bars which is where he still is today. It was an amazing cast and it was a crazy experience filming in Alaska. I got to work with Nick Cage, John Cusack, 50 Cent, so it was really fun pushing myself even further once again,” Vanessa said.
For 2012, Vanessa has her hands full. After the world-wide promotion of Journey 2, she is all set to shoot her next film, Spring Breakers.
“I’m finally going to be able to have my College Spring Break experience,” she says with giddy excitement. “But it’s not the instant spring break my character kind of had planned. It turns a bit violent, and extremely wild, but it’s a fun ride. Kind of a spin on how you see guys in college getting crazy, and you finally get to see girls do their crazy rampage as well.”