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Category: Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez starts to move away from her Disney roots -- sort of

June 14, 2011 | 12:59 pm

Reutersfredprouser Over the weekend, the Twitterverse flew into a frenzy when teen star Selena Gomez fell ill.

After reportedly complaining of a severe headache and nausea, the 18-year-old checked into a hospital and was forced to cancel a Friday appearance at Santa Monica Place to promote her upcoming film "Monte Carlo." That event was rescheduled for Monday, when several thousand of the actress-singer's wide-eyed fans packed the space outside the mall for a concert, which lasted all of about 20 minutes.

Immediately upon her arrival, Gomez reassured everyone she was back in good health. 

"I'm fine. I was just very malnourished, I was low in iron and exhausted," she explained (in a video you can watch here) to a group of print reporters, with whom she spoke for a minute before bounding on stage. There, she sang two songs and then answered about five questions that had been pre-submitted for her through a website.

Meanwhile, a slew of prepubescent girls lined up to get "royal makeovers" while others waited to get their photos snapped in front of a special movie-themed backdrop.

The event was aimed at promoting "Monte Carlo," which comes out July 1 and stars Gomez as a young woman on vacation in Paris, where she is confused for a British heiress (which sounds like, um, a few of those other teen movies where a girl heads to Europe to find her identity).

Gomez will offer a version of this routine on a nine-city tour meant to drum up ticket sales for "Monte Carlo." The movie is the first feature being sold primarily on her name. (Last summer, Gomez had the supporting role in "Ramona and Beezus," a movie based on author Beverly Cleary's popular children's novels. The movie wasn't a hit, bringing in a modest $26.2 million in the U.S.)

At the time of "Ramona," Gomez said she was planning her post-Disney Channel career carefully: First take on a smaller role in a kid-friendly film so she doesn't alienate her fan base, and then try to tap into a slightly older teen audience.

"It was the perfect way for me to go into a little bit more PG-13 and not do anything rated R -- anything crazy," she said of "Monte Carlo" while conducting an interview last summer. (The film is actually rated PG.) "It was the perfect kind of push to where families could go see it, but also a bunch of teens or people in their 20s could go see it for a light romantic comedy."

In her personal life, Gomez is starting to mature, if recent racy photos of her and Justin Bieber are any indication. On screen she'll only begin to branch out next year, when she's signed on to star in the more weighty drama "13 Reasons Why," about a girl who commits suicide. But if Monday's well-managed event is any indication, Gomez isn't ready to stray too far from the Disney script just yet.

RELATED:

Selena Gomez hospitalized, Santa Monica appearance canceled

The Performance: Selena Gomez

With 'Ramona and Beezus,' can Selena Gomez branch out from her Disney Channel roots?

--Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Selena Gomez performs at Santa Monica Place on Monday. Credit: Fred Prouser/Reuters.


With 'Ramona and Beezus,' can Selena Gomez branch out from her Disney Channel roots?

July 22, 2010 |  4:37 pm

Selena Although having your own hit Disney Channel show might get you a record deal, clothing line, or lunchbox with your face on it, it doesn't always help you land A-list film roles.

Selena Gomez, who plays a girl with magical powers on the hit Disney Channel show "Wizards of Waverly Place," is the latest Disney teen star to try to make a go of it on the big screen. In Friday's "Ramona and Beezus," based on Beverly Cleary's beloved children's book series, Gomez will have her big-screen starring debut. In a print interview with the actress, she said she was nervous about making the jump.

The anxiety was ratcheted up when Cleary herself sent Gomez a DVD of herself explaining how she envisioned the part of Beezus, the studious teen who is continually embarrassed by her pest of a younger sister, Ramona.

“She’s like, ‘Hi, Selena, I’m very excited you’re playing the role. I wanted to give you some of the views of how I created Beezus,’ ” Gomez recalled last week, sitting in a trailer on the CBS lot, where she had just filmed a singing appearance on “America’s Got Talent.”

After watching the author’s video, she began to, as she says, “freak out.”

“I was like, ‘Oh, great. What am I getting myself into? This is my first thing.’ I was nervous. It was definitely a big responsibility.”

Even director Elizabeth Allen acknowledged that she'd had some concerns about Gomez and her wholesome television background but was reassured once the young actress got on set.

"I was personally concerned that she would turn in TV beats and moments," said Allen, "and was really delighted to see that she has an ability to match the actors around her, as far as tone."

Gomez, who is very clearly a product of the well-oiled Disney machine, said she chose "Ramona" because of its family-friendly qualities. Allen, for her part, sees this as evidence that she is making smart choices about her career. By the time the movie got a green light, Gomez -- who had auditioned earlier in the development process -- had her pick of feature film roles.

"She chose this, which was not a big payday, and she's a supporting role," the director said. "I think many other kids in her position would have taken the money and the leading role, but she felt there was a pedigree to the property... She wanted to work with a high-caliber cast [including John Corbett, Josh Duhamel and Sandra Oh] and soak up all their abilities."

But being aware about the challenges involved in transitioning from Disney to the multiplex doesn't make navigating them any easier. As my colleague Steve Zeitchik noted back in April when Miley Cyrus starred in the Nicholas Sparks tearjerker "The Last Song": "There’s an issue for Disney Channel stars trying to make the jump to movies, even frilly ones. The network's shows give their actors plenty of exposure, but they don’t exactly showcase their best acting. Even good acting gets lost there."

Indeed, many former Disney stars have struggled to be taken seriously on the big screen, including Ashley Tisdale, Hilary Duff and Vanessa Hudgens, whose new film "Beastly" recently had its release date pushed to early next year. Still, "The Last Song," the Cyrus film, fared moderately well at the box office, bringing in over $60 million stateside. And Zac Efron's face is currently plastered all over town for the campaign of "Charlie St. Cloud."

Gomez, who next stars in "Monte Carlo" opposite Leighton Meester, says that while she's certainly part of a certain Disney generation, she's looking to some established film actresses as templates. “I love Rachel McAdams. She is incredible,” she said. “I think that her career and project choices are really appropriate and perfect for her, and she kind of stays out of the spotlight; you never really see anything about her. Yeah, that’s how I would like to be.”

-- Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Selena Gomez. Credit: Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times.

RECENT AND RELATED

The Performance: Selena Gomez

Preview Review: The Quimbys are back in 'Ramona and Beezus'

Original 'Ramona' Sarah Polley hopes revamped character isn't 'too cute'


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Preview Review: The Quimbys are back in 'Ramona and Beezus'

March 19, 2010 | 12:04 pm

Selena-gomez-in-ramona-and-beezus Remember Ramona Quimby? That quirky adolescent with a red-haired bob whose curiosity always seemed to land her in hot water? Most of us became familiar with Ramona via the bestselling book series by author Beverly Cleary, which was later turned into a popular PBS television series.

This summer, Fox is taking a fresh, more modern take on Ramona with "Ramona and Beezus," out in July. The newly released trailer shows a film that's reminiscent of such kid classics as "Harriet the Spy," the 1996 film about a spunky young detective that gave Michelle Trachtenberg her start.

Ramona, a quirky elementary school student played by newcomer Joey King, is constantly finding herself in trouble as a result of her high jinks. With her puppy-dog eyes, King looks adorable in the role, though she doesn't seem to fully inhabit the precociousness that Sarah Polley practically trademarked in the TV series. The movie certainly seems to stray from Cleary's books, in which Ramona was far more plotting pest than sympathetic outcast.

Disney Channel star Selena Gomez plays Beezus, Ramona's protective older sister who looks out for her and gives her advice. Unlike some of her other Mouseketeer counterparts, Gomez looks surprisingly competent in the role, and I can already see legions of tweens leaving theaters wishing that the actress were their cool older sister. The film also looks like it's banking on her popularity with the younger generation, as she introduces the trailer.

The movie is rounded out by a cast of other recognizable stars: John Corbett ("Sex & the City's" Aidan) and Bridget Moynahan play the girls' parents, while Josh Duhamel and Ginnifer Goodwin are the cool uncle and aunt.

The film also plays with CGI as Ramona travels to the exotic fairy-tale locales she dreams up in her mind. Fantastical journeys are certainly not something I remember being a part of the book series, but I imagine they'll play well on the big screen. I'm also curious as to how familiar today's younger generation is with Cleary's 1950s series -- though it probably won't make much of a difference. Even if the adaptation strays from the book, the film seems to pull off just the right heartwarming tone that will endear Ramona to new audiences.

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: Selena Gomez and Joey King star in "Ramona and Beezus." Credit: 20th Century Fox.


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