Vanessa Hudgens. At first glance, you’d assume that she was just another pretty face us guys could gawk over, but there’s more to her than that. She first sang and danced her way into our hearts in High School Musical and later, busted a few guts in Sucker Punch. Now, she’s off on an exciting adventure starring alongside Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Luis Guzmán in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. With a penchant for singing and dancing, Vanessa proves that she’s more than just a pretty face.
We had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Vanessa about her life and what it was like to work on Journey 2and what we should expect from her next. So without further adieu, please enJoi:
Q: How was it like shooting an adventure film like Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and what was the hardest thing that the director asked you to do?
Vanessa: This was such an extremely and incredibly fun movie to make. I knew that it was going to be fun just considering filming in Hawaii and being with such an awesome cast, but I never really actually realized until I got there that this would be this fun in my life. Working with the cast was phenomenal. Dwayne Johnson was such a big sweet-heart, he’s so much fun and so caring. Luis Guzman became like my second father and was just such a riot to work with. Every single day he’d do improvisation and keep everyone on their toes. Michael Caine who is an absolute legend was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, he’s so enthusiastic about work which was really inspiring to see because he’s done so many incredible things and he’s still extremely passionate about what he does. Payton was amazing, he has such a clear vision, and he really knew what he wanted, he had a strong stance on everything and was such a ball of energy it was so much fun.
Q: What was your relationship like with your co-star John Hutchinson on set and off-set?
Vanessa: It was awesome we had such an incredible time together. We really didn’t know each other that well before the movie but then as soon as we started getting to work we realized that we’re so similar in so many ways and really hit it off, and we weren’t afraid to be true to ourselves and just have a good time.
Q: This movie had a lot of CGI and special effects, and acting with the green screen, how was it to see it on the big screen with everything put together for you?
Vanessa: It was amazing, it was so rewarding. Usually when I’m watching a movie I’m in, I’m constantly critiquing myself and kicking myself in the butt for things that I think I could’ve done better. But for this movie, it was a different experience because of the 3D, it just completely pulled me into this adventure, and it was so absorbing and I really got to enjoy the movie and go along for the ride that we intended to create for everybody. So it was so much fun, I really enjoyed watching it, me and Josh saw the final version in Melbourne, Australia for the world premiere, and I was sitting on the edge of my seat and jumping even when I knew that things were going to pop out. It was so much fun!
Q: What was the biggest challenge of filming in 3D, and did you feel any pressure?
Vanessa: It honestly is not at all different. Acting-wise you kind of do the exact same thing. Technically it can be a bit difficult, and it’s still kind of a new technology, so it can be a bit glitchy here and there but you don’t really change anything.
Q: Being that the movie is based loosely on a book, preparing for the role did you do any research, watch the previous film maybe, or read the book as a reference?
Vanessa: No, I didn’t read the book. I don’t think a lot of kids my age and Josh’s age would really be into it. I mean it’s a great adventure tale obviously, since we made a movie out of it, but it’s about 100 years old so it’s a bit outdated but it’s still super fun. My dad was the first person to text me and tell me that they were going to do a remake of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and he was a massive fan of the first one so he was filling me in.
Q: How was it like working with the cast during the movie?
VANESSA: It was amazing the cast was such a random group of actors. I would never have imagined us all in a movie together, but I think since we all came from such different places, everybody brought such a different energy and ethics to the table, so it was really interesting to have everyone throw in their ideas. It was really a team effort nobody was really stuck up or anything like that we all just had fun making the best movie we could.
*Q: What did you do to prepare for your role, and did you find any similarities or differences between her and you?
VANESSA: Yeah, me and Kalahni are a bit alike in the sense that she is really close to her father, she has a really great relationship with him, and I’m extremely close with my family as well. Kalahni is not afraid to get her hands dirty when she’s outside and in mother nature she’s kind of in her environment, it’s where she feels most comfortable and that’s kind of like me as well, since I love being outside and just kind of being one with nature. To prepare, I didn’t do much I kind of hung out with Luis Guzman a little bit, just so we could kind of figure each other out a bit more, and honestly just continuing to work out. I love working out, I love staying fit, and especially if I’m going to do an action movie, it’s important to keep your cardio up, so just continuing to do my routine except in a much more beautiful place.
Q: What was your experience like in Hawaii?
Vanessa: It was amazing, I mean filming in Hawaii is a dream come true, for it to be my workplace, is basically like paradise. So I was in heaven for the most part, it would be hard to pry myself off the beach some days to go to work but then I would go to work and I would show up on the most incredibly breathtaking location, it would be so moving I would almost be in tears. It was just incredible. I love being outside and being in untouched land, and Hawaii definitely had some of it, it made it so magical and such a great backdrop for the movie.
Q: I wanted to know since Journey 2 is such an adventurous film what’s the most adventurous thing that you’ve done personally?
VANESSA: I’m a really adventurous person. I’m very spontaneous and I love being outside. I love being extremely active. Just recently I went backpacking through Costa Rica and it was such an amazing experience just getting to know the culture, getting to know the people, being in such lush rainforests with monkeys howling every morning and kayaking, and waterfalls, it’s kind of everything you’d want to do so it was so much fun.
Q: What is it like being on the forefront of being one of the top Filipino-American actresses in Hollywood?
VANESSA: It’s amazing! It’s such an honor, it’s a major privilege. I always love standing up for my people and I always want to try and do my best so it’s an honor.
Q: What is your dream adventure and are you willing to go through the same adventure as your character in the movie?
VANESSA: I definitely wouldn’t volunteer myself to go through it, being chased by a giant lizard would be something you would try to avoid. But, I love being outside and I’m extremely adventurous, I kind of like being sucked into things where I don’t know what is going to happen but I prefer there to be less creatures, less big creatures. I would be down to go on an adventure anywhere, I want to go to India, I really want to go see the culture and religion and the architecture so hopefully that’ll be the next stop.
Q: What’s next for you after the film?
Vanessa: I did a few projects after Journey, I did one called Give me Shelter, it’s kind of my first really heavy dramatic role that I’ve done. I’m completely transformed into this homeless, pregnant teen that is kind of fighting for her survival and the life of her child and it’s a really, really hard and intense movie but it was so much fun to make. I really enjoyed it. After that I did a movie called The Frozen Ground based on a true story. In the 80’s there was this mass murderer who was raping and killing a bunch of innocent females across the state and would bury their bodies around Alaska, and my character is the one who got away and actually helped solve the case and put him behind bars which is where he still is today. It was an amazing cast and it was a crazy experience filming in Alaska. I got to work with Nick Cage, John Cusack, 50 Cent, so it was really fun pushing myself even further once again. And then after this press tour I’m going to be starting a movie called Spring Breakers, where I’m finally going to be able to have my College Spring Break experience. But it’s not the instant spring break my character kind of had planned. It turns a bit violent, and extremely wild, but it’s a fun ride. Kind of a spin on how you see guys in college getting crazy, and you finally get to see girls do their crazy rampage as well.