Is It Miley Or Miley?
By Jeff Holder, Managing Editor
MOVIEGUIDE® had a chance to hear from the director and the mostly teenaged cast of the newly released HANNAH MONTANA THE MOVIE.
If you have been living in a cave lately, you might not know that on the Disney Channel TV series HANNAH MONTANA, teenage superstar Miley Cyrus plays the role of Miley Stewart who has an alter ego Hannah Montana. Hannah is a singing pop star but that fact is a secret except for family and close friends. Country star Billy Ray Cyrus, who is the real life father of Miley Cyrus, plays Miley Stewart’s father, Robby Ray. If you’re confused, ask a teenager to explain it to you.
The runaway hit TV series has spawned one of the most wholesome movies in a long time. MOVIEGUIDE® gives it four stars for quality and a +4 for acceptability. Much of the movie’s content is a case of art imitating life. The story deals with a teenage pop star having to navigate fame and fortune.
Miley in the movie has to remember what’s important. So, how does Miley the actress do that?
The 16-year-old superstar flashes a large smile and, talking very rapidly, said, “You have to bring it back to what’s important and that’s your family and friends. You can’t get obsessed with Hollywood and fame. You have to ground yourself.”
Much of that grounding comes from a well-publicized faith and sticking close to her roots.
Dad Billy Ray Cyrus echoes this sentiment, saying, “Staying real and remembering where she comes from” is the key. His grandfather always told him you “should never forget where you come from. And, that’s the theme of this movie.”
Both Miley Cyrus and Miley Stewart come from a small town in Tennessee. The movie’s story takes Miley, who’s getting too involved with fame and Beverly Hills, back to the small town in Tennessee where no one knows her secret life as a pop star.
Miley admits she herself would “like to move back to Tennessee sometime” and that shooting back home made her a little homesick.
Miley in the story remembers her roots, something that Miley the actress wants to make sure that she also does because the pressure for her is only increasing.
The young actress and singer says she is “comfortable with being a role model, but don’t make me an idol.” She tells her young fans, “Don’t lose who you are [in order] to be Miley. Never stop making mistakes. Never stop learning.”
Jason Earles, who plays Miley’s older brother says that the issue is really one for the parents.
He says, “Don’t expect a 16-year-old to raise your kids.”
Directing a movie with many expectations from fans was not easy for director Peter Chelsom. He says that he approached the material as he would for any movie and simply came to “do what I do.”
He told Miley after a few takes on the emotional scenes to “Do Miley.” She often would say, “I don’t know what you mean.” And Peter would say, “Neither do I.” The results are anything but sitcom fare, and the movie possesses a strong emotional hook
So, with Miley only playing the part of Miley - except when she’s pretending to be Miley pretending to be Hannah - the young star said she’s ready for a change.
At the press conference, Miley Cyrus announced that she doesn’t foresee a sequel to the new HANNAH MONTANA movie, but that her next film project is a new movie written for her by Nicholas Sparks, who often writes emotionally charged romantic novels such as THE NOTEBOOK.
But, take heart. No more HANNAH MONTANA movies doesn’t mean the end of HANNAH MONTANA the TV show. Another season is in the works, and Miley hopes there’s at least one more after that. There’s always room for Miley. And Miley.