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Ditching Disney rep one step at a time

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Girl's got drive: Multi-tasker Selena Gomez, left, and Ethan Hawke star in Getaway.

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Girl's got drive: Multi-tasker Selena Gomez, left, and Ethan Hawke star in Getaway.

Many fans who flocked to see Selena Gomez at the MTS Centre Monday night could be forgiven for thinking the 21-year-old pop star has put acting on the back burner.

Indeed, she has for the duration of her Stars Dance Tour 2013, which will keep her performing in concert venues in Canada, Europe and the United States until the end of the year.

But Gomez will also make her presence known in the multiplex as early as next week, co-starring with Ethan Hawke in the car-chase movie Getaway, in theatres Aug. 29. The movie comes just a few months after she made a bold departure from the Disney realm (The Wizards of Waverly Place) playing a bikini-clad party animal seduced into Florida's criminal underworld in Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers. In her followup, she plays "the Kid," a pistol-packing teen punk forced to take the passenger seat next to Hawke's shady race-car driver as both careen around Bulgaria, participating against their wills in an elaborate heist.

Gomez, nothing if not a multi-tasker, spoke exclusively to the Winnipeg Free Press about her parallel movie career Monday afternoon prior to taking the MTS Centre stage.


FP: When you were younger, a show like Wizards of Waverly Place must have offered a kind of comfort zone professionally. If Spring Breakers represented a radical departure in your acting career, what did making Getaway do for you?

SG: I feel like the character was very different from any other character I had ever played before, including Spring Breakers. Even in that, my character was still kind of reserved and she didn't cuss. So this was an opportunity for me to really kind of be a badass for the first time... this was like my baby step into going into something a little darker and a little edgier. So it was fun for me and it just kind of elevated what I was trying to move towards, playing new characters and being able to challenge myself as an artist.


FP: Large portions of the movie are shot in close-up with you and Ethan Hawke in a car. On the one hand, it's an action movie with chases and explosions. But on the other hand, it must have been very constraining when you're in the passenger seat. Unlike concert performing, you hardly get to throw your body into your work. Difficult?

SG: It got a little uncomfortable after the first week of being in the car. But Ethan and I would go over the scenes outside the car and we'd walk around and share our lines together. We'd go over and over and over them. We found ways to break that a little bit because it does get kind of stale and it was uncomfortable, but otherwise, it was really fun and Ethan was really supportive of helping me kind of get in and out of it when I needed to.


FP: Ethan Hawke, like James Franco, tends to bounce between art films and more mainstream work. Care to compare the two actors as acting partners?

SG: They're different in the coolest way. They are both very true to their art, and they definitely have their own way... James is a little bit more reserved. He kind of embodies the character and stays in that character and Ethan is more about talking about the characters and talking about every single emotion behind what we're feeling. That was really neat for me to get to talk it out and I'd have notes after notes of just writing what he was saying. It was definitely two different experiences. But they were both obviously geniuses.


FP: Having seen Spring Breakers, it's surprising to hear Franco was the more reserved.

SG: During the movie, he was very much in character. I never really got to know James until after we were doing the movie, doing publicity. He was very outgoing and very sweet to everyone. But during the movie, he didn't speak to any of us that much.


FP: Assuming you started getting different kinds of acting offers after Spring Breakers, is it safe to say producers now see you in a different light?

SG: I hope so. I'm not sure they're going to give me the part and I'm still going to have to fight for the roles I really want to do when I have time to do that. But I understand that it made people aware that I'm willing to go to different places and to do different things and I'm willing to be brave and daring as an actress. Other than that, I have a lot more proving myself to do.


FP: So if you had to choose: music or acting?

SG: I really do enjoy both and I have a passion for both deeply, but I think where my heart needs to be later, after music, is acting for sure. I need to do more of that and experience more of that to be better.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 20, 2013 C3

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