When Miley Cyrus' long-running Disney Channel show "Hannah Montana" came to a close in January, the actress immediately made it clear she was keen on becoming a movie star. She recently wrapped two new films -- "LOL" with Demi Moore and "So Undercover," set in a college sorority -- which should hit theaters later this year.
But breaking free of the Mouse House has been a struggle, Cyrus admitted at the Kids' Choice Awards on Saturday, where the singer-actress was nominated for three awards.
"It's challenging, because it's hard to keep everyone happy when you're doing that," she said, referring to being mindful of her Disney reputation. "But you just have to choose projects that inspire you that you really like. You do a lot of press when you do a movie, so something that you enjoy talking about more than something that you're not inspired by."
Asked what she weighs when deciding which film parts to go out for, Cyrus said she was eager to take on "a challenge."
"Something that I know will be good for me to play that I can find within myself," the 18-year-old said. "Because that's what I think acting is all about--is finding something in yourself that you haven't discovered yet and bringing that to life."
For months director Lisa Cholodenko has been talking to press, schmoozing at parties and indulging in free meals. Now that that's all coming to a close, will she go through withdrawal?
"I know I'm going to have a whole identity existential crisis," she joked Saturday at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. "I think a little R&R might be in order. It's been a long road."
A road, she said, that has largely prevented her from working on new projects. Alhough Cholodenko said she had been attempting to multitask, she admitted the promotional push for "The Kids Are All Right" had taken over the last year of her life. (The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010.)
"You get caught up in the swirl and the events and the publicity, and it's very consuming," she said. "I've enjoyed it. It's been a fun ride and it's like a novel experience. But I'll be glad to have a little more calm and regularity going on."
The director had one of the more memorable appearances at the Spirits when she made out onstage with co-writer Stuart Blumberg after Blumberg said that "when we first started the script we were just a couple of lesbians with a hope and a dream." As for the Oscars, Cholodenko said she'd treat the ceremony as a "last hurrah." "Let's put on our fancy clothes and have a glass of champagne," she said.
Danny Boyle spent months working intimately with James Franco during production of "127 Hours," so they should know each other pretty well.
But when it comes to Franco's hosting gig during the Academy Awards on Sunday, Boyle said he's as unsure as the rest of us about how the quirky actor will pull it off.
"He'll be a surprise. He'll be unpredicatble. Maybe he'll bring out all his class along from college or something, I don't know what he'll do," Boyle said, chuckling at the possibilities.
The filmmaker, along with "127 Hours" screenwriter Simon Beaufoy and the film's real-life analog Aron Ralston, were at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday. And while it's been a long award season, Ralston -- who famously cut off his arm to escape from a canyon where he was trapped -- said he's not ready for it to end.
"It's almost this nostalgia already. These guys in the industry," he said, looking at Boyle and Beaufoy, "you get to go on to your next projects -- your next writing and directing. So it's kind of like [for me,] 'Well, this is it.' So I'm gonna miss you guys."
Boyle, who was on the award trail just two years ago for "Slumdog Millionaire," seemed ... less upset about the fanfare coming to an end.
"It's a funny business, but you do end up meeting again," he said. "It's weird. You kind of separate for years on things and then come back somehow."
Thousands of girls, decked out in glittery tops and toting camera phones, made the pilgrimage to L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles on Monday night in hopes of spotting their pint-sized teen idol: Justin Bieber.
Hours before the premiere of "Never Say Never," the new documentary that follows the pop star on his recent concert tour, the hordes were already waiting outside the Nokia Theatre. Many didn't even have tickets. Some said they wanted to catch a glimpse of the singer with the infamous hairdo; others simply seemed to be enjoying the idea of indulging in Bieber Fever alongside fellow "Beliebers."
This Justin Bieber movie premiere was not -- could not -- be like any other movie premiere.
The carpet was purple, not red, in honor of the teen icon's favorite color. Bleachers were erected so more fans could get a glimpse of the action. Tween-friendly music from artists including Miley Cyrus, Willow Smith and, of course, Bieber himself blasted over the stereo system. And a team of cameramen was dispatched to follow Bieber's every move, so that fans at home could watch him throughout the night via Livestream.
The event was a family affair for many of the celebrities in Hollywood -- "Glee's" Jane Lynch brought her children to the movie, as did rapper Diddy and Bieber's mentor Usher. It was also populated by a slew of kid actors, all dressed like they were heading to prom.
Bieber was constantly surrounded by a mass of humanity, all shoving their way into his line of vision. But he never lost his cool, smiling nonchalantly and keeping an even pace as he made his way down the carpet, where he was barraged with a slew of questions about his rumored girlfriend, Disney star Selena Gomez. [More from Bieber below, after our video interview.]
Bieber told us he's interested in acting in a feature.
"I'm gonna start doing more movies -- start getting more scripts and start finding some things that I really wanna do," the 16-year-old said.
And what would that be, exactly? Manager Scooter Braun elaborated, saying the singer had been itching to team up with Will Ferrell.
"He knows every line from every Will Ferrell skit on 'SNL' and every movie. In fact, he did a whole interview once just quoting Will Ferrell," Braun said.
It's no surprise that Bieber wants to take on a character outside of himself. In "Never Say Never," audiences quickly learn that Bieber would rather do just about anything than talk about or examine himself. (We witnessed this first-hand last spring when we spent the day with the teen, who seemed less than interested in sitting down for an in-depth interview: "Justin Bieber & Co.")
Elizabeth Olsen may be the Sundance 'It' girl this year, but there are plenty of other fresh faces at the film festival who have been received well by moviegoers in Park City, Utah, this week.
Alex Shaffer, the 17-year-old who stars alongside Paul Giamatti in Tom McCarthy's "Win Win," took a break from his junior year at Hunterdon Central High in New Jersey to fly to Sundance. In the film, set for release in March by Fox Searchlight, Shaffer plays a teenager from a broken home who is taken in by a wrestling coach (Giamatti) and his family. In real life, Shaffer is a New Jersey state wrestling champion who was cast despite his lack of acting experience. (Before "Win Win," the only time he'd acted was in a sixth-grade production of "The Pirates of Penzance.")
"Tom had an article in the newspaper for all wrestlers around the area to audition for this movie," Shaffer told us at the film's premiere Friday. "I really wasn't that into the whole movie thing. I really wasn't that excited about it or into it or anything. Over time, like now, I love it."
It appeared the crowd at the Eccles Theater took to Shaffer. Standing on stage with the rest of the cast during a question-and-answer session after the screening, he received the most applause from the audience when McCarthy introduced him.
Later that evening, at the party to celebrate the film's release at a local saloon, Shaffer stood in a corner, non-alcoholic drink in hand, talking to his publicist.
"This is a really good indicator," she told him, referring to the audience's positive reaction. "They loved you. You're going to do well."
While Shaffer took in his new surroundings, co-star Giamatti seemed at ease, smiling as partygoers including Ed Helms back-slapped him and offered congratulations on his recent Golden Globe win for "Barney's Version."
"How am I coping? I don't know. I'm doing OK," he said, when we asked him on the red carpet about his whirlwind of a week. "It's all good. It's a nice thing. It's all positive. So I'm just having a good time."
His calm demeanor is thanks in part, he said, to one Sundance tip he's discovered on his trips to Utah over the years.
"I stay off Main Street, is what I do," he said. "Because it gets so crazy on there. So I just stick to the side streets. That's what I figured out."
In "Black Swan," Darren Aronofsky's psychological thriller set in the world of ballet, Natalie Portman stars as a dancer whose dark impulses threaten to undermine her goody-two-shoes image.
It's the way that the actress handles this conflict that has won her acclaim. But Portman says the performance she delivers in the film didn't come easy -- and that she actually had trouble tapping into the pure, childlike side of her character.
"Being really girlish was the most out of my comfort zone, because I really felt like I'd left that behind," the 29-year-old said on the red carpet at the movie's Hollywood premiere at AFI Fest Thursday night.
Confusion broke out at the Beverly Hills premiere of "127 Hours" Wednesday evening when a young woman suffered a seizure midway through the film. (At the end of the screening, director Danny Boyle promptly took to the stage to say that the incident was unrelated to the movie.)
Only hours before on the red carpet, Boyle downplayed the incidents of fainting and vomiting during some of the film's early screenings after viewing a graphic amputation scene. The director emphasized that only a "very small number of people" had passed out, and said that often, those individuals returned to the theater after coming to.
"It’s not like a revulsion, like they’ve been caught out by something," Boyle explained. "I think the intensity of the journey he takes them on climaxes and they just kind of go away for a few minutes in their minds. It’s like, ‘I’m overloading.' " Check out the full video below.
It's no secret that the executives at Facebook are not too pleased about the upcoming release of David Fincher's "The Social Network." The company has for months distanced itself from the highly anticipated film, which explores the roots of the Web site and depicts founder Mark Zuckerberg as an ambitious but perhaps double-dealing entrepreneur.
Questions about the story — based on Ben Mezrich's 2009 book, "Accidental Billionaires" — and its accuracy continue to surface. But the fact that Facebook is so worried about the movie is revealing, believes Brenda Song, the actress who plays co-founder Eduardo Saverin's girlfriend.
"Well, all I can say is, if the people are upset about it, I think we're doing something right. Because maybe we're hitting a little too close to home," Song told us at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night.
Song gushed about the experience of working on an Oscar-contending film. Up to now, she's mostly been recognized as a Disney Channel star who has appeared on "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" and its spinoff, "The Suite Life on Deck."
Many directors would be wary of working with two actors who have been involved in a longtime on-again, off-again romantic relationship — not Nanette Burstein. The filmmaker, who directed Drew Barrymore and Justin Long in the upcoming romantic comedy "Going the Distance," said the pair's history made working with them "easier."
"They were just so happy together, and they had this
chemistry that you can’t create," Burstein said at the movie's premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Monday night. "Plus, they had the intimacy, too, to
draw on. Sometimes you get couples that fall in love in the middle of
making a movie, but they don’t have that history together to draw on.
And here you had both."
In recent years, Burstein has gained notice for her work as a documentarian. In 2002, she made "The Kid Stays in the Picture," which centered around producer and former Paramount studio head Robert Evans. Six years later, she took home the best director prize at Sundance for her work on "American Teen," which followed high school seniors in Indiana.
But after working on documentaries for the last 15 years, she was ready to try her hand in the fiction world. The script for "Going the Distance" — which landed a coveted spot on the Hollywood Black List in 2008 — spoke to her because of its focus on a unique kind of a relationship.
"I related to the subject matter. I’ve had long distance relationships before. And I realized, 'Huh, there’s really never been a movie about this extremely relatable topic,'" she said. "And I love the humor and I love the sincerity of it. So I just wanted to make a Hollywood movie with the same sort of tone that I loved about some of the documentaries I’ve made."
But she didn't leave all of her documentary filmmaking skills behind during production on "Going the Distance." During one scene, in which Barrymore and Long's characters connect on a long first date, Burstein opted to shoot at the bar she co-owns in Manhattan's Chelsea district called The Half-King. She only used a "couple of small HD cameras" and all-natural light.
"I shot it like a documentary," she smiled.
For more from the "Going the Distance" red carpet, including interviews with Barrymore and Long, check out full coverage on our sister blog Ministry of Gossip.
It's already been a big summer for Jonah Hill, the 26-year-old funnyman whose face has been plastered on "Get Him to the Greek" posters across town for the last few weeks. In that film, he plays the sympathetic dweeb role that audiences have come to associate with him since 2007's "Superbad."
But at the L.A. Film Festival over the weekend, where Hill's latest film -- the squirm-comedy "Cyrus" -- was premiering, the actor showed off another side, as he played the unlikable, socially inept title character, a 21-year-old with an
uncomfortably close relationship with his mother (Marisa Tomei). He's still a dweeb, but he's a lot less sympathetic.
"I've always thought I'd like to do something dramatic, and I have that element in my taste and just what I like in movies," Hill told us on the red carpet Friday. "I didn't see any of myself in [Cyrus], thank God."
As for the actor's relationship with his mom?
"She's wonderful; I love her," he said, looking into the camera. "Hi, Mom. I love you."
More video interviews from the red carpet with stars Tomei, John C. Reilly and directors Mark and Jay Duplass, after the jump.