ShoWest honors thesp as Female Star of Tomorrow

With her breakthrough “High School Musical” series now behind her, Vanessa Hudgens looks forward to tackling dramatic roles with nary a high C in sight.

“My life is never going to know what page it’s going to turn to,” she says, fresh from a promotional trip to Australia for her “Beastly” turn as a drug addict’s daughter.

Hudgens butches it up considerably to wield all kinds of weaponry in Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch,” the story of a institutionalized girl who escapes her reality by creating an alternate world.

For Hudgens, “Sucker Punch” meant “the most intense physical training I’ve ever had in my life. We’d start with three hours of martial arts and break — and I’d pass out. Then I’d wake up with a Navy SEAL for more. The first day I was carrying 135 pounds — and I’d pass out again. Tuesdays and Thursdays we were on stages shooting the guns.”

Hudgens calls the film and her role “complicated.”

“It’s six movies in one, and you’re the same character in each story, but my traits change. In some I’m a follower and unsure about what’s going on. Then we go into battle and I turn into a badass. I was blown away by the guns I had to shoot.”

“Sucker Punch,” with its extensive post-production, won’t be in theaters until 2011.

“Now I’m back to the beginning and asking what to do next,” says Hudgens. “It’s a never-ending story of where this is going and what I want to do.”

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