Saturday, May 08, 2010

My interview with Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus: I don't look far into the future
By Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star) Updated May 09, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Mom, you can pick my boyfriend but not my carpet! These were the exact words teen superstar Miley Cyrus said she used to admonish her mom when she stood her ground at the IKEA store while getting furniture for her own apartment after she turned 17 last year. “My mom picked him over three other actors,” she continued. “She stared at his face and she said, ‘He’s cute, no, he’s really cute!’”

She was speaking to late-night host Jimmy Kimmel during a recent interview when she giddily shared this delightful story. And the boyfriend in the story is her Australian co-star Liam Hemsworth who makes his big Hollywood debut as Miley’s love interest in the weepie Disney Pictures’ love story The Last Song, which opens in theaters on May 12.

The teen singing sensation appears in her most grown-up character to date as a rebellious teenaged daughter who finds her true love during one summer spent with her dad on a southern seaside town. The movie, based on Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling novel, was specially handpicked for the young actress who is slowly trying to shed her Hannah Montana persona — the character that made her famous all over the world, in favor of a more mature performer.

“I am kind of known as a package deal,” she intimated while drawing air quotes during a mid-winter chat with the international press at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. “But I don’t wanna do musicals my whole life! I love music and it’s the most important thing in my life but I want to keep them separate.”

Sparks, a celebrity in his own right after having penned some of the most memorable contemporary love stories to hit the screen in recent years, recalled that he was approached sometime in June 2008 by Disney if he had an unpublished story that would be perfect for Miley. He had none at the time. “I spoke to the Cyruses a couple of times; found out some basic elements that Miley wanted in her movie — she liked animals, she doesn’t wanna sing, she wanted to show some growth — so, with those things in mind, I sat down and came up with the best possible story that I could.” The author presented the idea and spent the next couple of months writing the screenplay before writing the novel.

Few actors can truly claim to have a character written specifically for them and much fewer actors, especially in Miley’s age range, get the opportunity to select their own love interests. “I had a little input because Nick wrote the movie with me in mind.” She helped Nick on how the 17-year-old character should dress up and how she is supposed to talk.

Miley is a superstar and she’s not even 18 yet!

She is so young she even admits to not wearing a watch because, according to her, she doesn’t have any sense of time. “I don’t really look far into the future. I don’t like living feeling like I have to be somewhere,” she shared. “I just kind of let it come. I am not really a planner. I have no sense of time, I don’t wanna know and I don’t even look at the clock!”

And just like every typical teenager, she playfully disclosed that she also has what she called selective hearing. “It’s not like I am not listening, I kind of make up in my head what I want to hear and that way I make sense of my life.” This childish trait caused minor continuity problems on the set, according to her.

Miley, so named because she used to smile a lot when she was a little girl, became an overnight sensation when her Disney Channel show Hannah Montana captured the imagination of young girls everywhere. “I was among the very first people to do music on Disney Channel. I’d like to get credit for doing that because there wasn’t really music before my show and High School Musical,” she said.

She had her share of critics who bemoaned her almost expeditious rise to stardom with only a hit cable show to her credit. “Sometimes it does upset me,” she grumbled, “but the truth of the matter is at the end of the day when I go home I’m still writing my music. I am not writing it for anyone to tell me that I am talented or that my music is good because I don’t really care.”

“Jodie (Foster) has been an amazing mentor to me. She’d say, ‘Keep your head up high, don’t let anyone knock you down.’” The Oscar-winning actress has been a huge fan of Miley ever since her show launched more than three years ago. ”She has been amazing to me.”

Another celebrity she holds dear is country superstar Melissa Etheridge. “I didn’t even know she knew who I was and one day she called and said, ‘I really respect your music and I really want you to know that as another musician, I really like your work.’” She further recalled how Melissa told her “to keep your head up high and know that whatever you have going is something that’s unique.”

But she has one biggest fan who she feels most pressure from. “I have kids who look up to me all the time but my little sister does everything that I do!” The morning of our interview, she related how she found her sister wearing skinny jeans to school. “She’s just like me!” she exclaimed. “She was trying to be her older sister — she wants to imitate everything I do! She also wants to do music and I want her to know that whatever she does her heart has to be in it a hundred percent.”

“My mom reminds me that my little sister wants to follow in my footsteps so I try to make good choices for her.”

What helps her also is that despite all her success, she is still primarily a daughter and a sister to her siblings when she is home.

“My mom and I are closer than any mother and daughter,” she proudly proclaimed. “We literally kind of finish each other’s sentences but it doesn’t mean that I don’t drive her crazy.” She added, “If that wasn’t the case then you would really be a freak and you would be really, really weird.”

And she also has arguments with her parents. “My mom usually wins over me and my dad. Usually it’s between me and my dad and me and my mom and we kind of go either way but overall my mom usually wins.”

“We just fight over dumb stuff like when I am gone all the time so when I’m home I want to hang out with my friends but I have a little sister so it’s like they ask me to spend time with them coz I am always traveling. I understand that but sometimes it’s hard for me to think about it.”

“I am a lot like my dad and I am lot like my mom in ways, too. But I definitely think that me and my dad are a lot alike because we both kind of let things roll off and it drives some people nuts sometimes. So we don’t really get too upset too often.”

Those familiar with the Hannah Montana series would know that Miley has a famous father, too! Billy Ray Cyrus is the voice behind the ubiquitous line dance favorite Achy Breaky Heart.

“Me and my dad are so close,” she revealed. “I am pretty simple, pretty easy and I could tell my dad basically pretty much everything and he would not judge you at all.”

She is so close to her parents she can pretty much share everything with him, even her love life. “Luckily, I don’t have many boy problems but I feel like that people who are quick to judge are usually the ones who have gone through something. There is no reason to judge, everyone’s gonna make mistake, there’s always gonna be problems in life and if you can’t talk to a family member you can’t talk to anybody because then you are really alone.”

“First love is portrayed probably a little better in the movies than it is in real life because most likely you are gonna get your heart broken and that’s the way how life works. And in every relationship that I ever had — friendship even — I feel like there’s been a loss and a gain and I feel like I definitely gained a lot more because I feel definitely a lot stronger.”

In November, Miley will turn 18 and by that time, she will have long said goodbye to her Hannah Montana character which is currently running its last season on TV and, though she asserts she doesn’t make any plans, she sees herself still making music and concentrating more on her big-screen acting career.

“Hopefully I can do both,” she mused. “Acting is what I wanna do now. I want people to go see my movies because I am in them and they enjoy my acting. But music, I’ll never give it up, it is something that I love.”

The Last Song also stars Greg Kinnear and Kelly Preston.

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