Miley Cyrus has it harder than you’d think. At 15, the “Hannah Montana” multitalent is torn between two worlds: that of Disney Channel TV personality and arena-filling pop star.
“I love doing it all,” Cyrus tells Variety. “When I’m doing one thing, I always miss the other. When I’m on tour, I miss shooting the show and I miss the cast. When I’m shooting the show, I miss doing concerts and performing my music for all of my fans.”
In the past year, that conundrum has only grown more complex. After Cyrus’ “Best of Both Worlds” concert tour spawned a record-breaking 3-D feature, she effectively added the role of movie star to her resume — and don’t be surprised to see a lot more of her on the bigscreen in the very near future. Next month, Cyrus voices Penny in Disney Animation’s “Bolt,” following it up with “Hannah Montana: The Movie” next spring.
“This is not a two-hour version of what you might be able to see on Disney Channel,” assures Adam Bonnett, senior VP of original programming for the network. For starters, the movie leaves the show’s Malibu location for Cyrus’ hometown of Nashville. Plus, she gets a new love interest (Lucas Till).
It’s been a real-life Cinderella story for the performer, who lobbied Disney casting directors for the “Hannah Montana” role. “She was this short little scrawny girl with a raspy voice — she almost had the voice of a truck driver. It made her stand out,” Bonnett remembers.
But audiences instantly connected with Cyrus, a bond the writers build by tailoring the show to the actress’s real life. “If you got on the phone with Miley Cyrus today and said, ‘What’s on your mind?’ the first thing out of her mouth would be, ‘I’m excited to drive a car,’ because she’s about to turn 16,” Bonnett says. “That inspired the writers to do a story this season where Miley Stewart goes to get her driver’s license and fails. And she realizes that if she goes back as Hannah Montana, they’ll give it to her because she’s Hannah Montana — that’s all inspired by Miley’s passion for getting behind the wheel.”
Recent breakthrough: Her 3-D concert movie was so popular, Disney extended its one-week run, raking in $65 million in the process.
Role model: “My mom. She’s kept me grounded.”
Up next: Disney toon “Bolt” will benefit from the star’s voice, and “Hannah Montana” fans will get a bigscreen dose of the character in early ’09.