Before Spring Breakers had even finished filming, photos of the nubile young cast members prancing around the beach in neon bikinis had appeared all over the internet. Sure, we were used to isolated instances of seeing Selena Gomez or Vanessa Hudgens in a bathing suit — they’re beautiful young women, of course — but the movie promised a full ninety-odd minutes of this radically older behavior that paparazzi photos had only hinted at.
The film isn’t slated til 2013, but already the cast are doing features with outlets like Interview magazine, discussing how this adventure-comedy is going to be daring in more than just costume choices. (Remember that James Franco is the main male in the cast, conjuring up Kevin Federline with his dreadlocks and Hawaiian shirt.) The girls candidly admit that part of the reason they signed up to play sexy, bikini-clad bank robbers is that they wanted to shed their squeaky-clean images: Vanessa and Selena coming from Disney, and Ashley Benson best known for the racy but still ABC Family drama Pretty Little Liars. As Ashley said,
“[Director Harmony Korine] wanted to break us all out of the good-girl mold. For Selena, Vanessa, and me, our audience is all in their teens or younger, so they’re not even going to be able to see this when it comes out—it’s not appropriate.”
That I don’t really buy—fans are so diehard these days that they’ll watch anything their idols are in, and they have the means to track this stuff down even if they’re not old enough to get into the movie theater. Then you have Selena’s quote, which is the one that’s been shared over the celebrity outlets in the past few hours:
“I was getting kind of repetitive in terms of the roles I was picking, and I really wanted to do something that was completely different. It was a mark thing for me—like, ‘This is what I want to be doing.’ I want to be taking myself seriously as an actress, and this was definitely a stretch… I mean, I’d never smoked a cigarette before in my entire life. It was really funny—they had to show me how to do it.”
My initial reaction to this quote was to coo over how precious it was that Selena regarded smoking on-screen as a badass move, but considering her words, I’m actually very impressed. Too often we hear about young Hollywood actresses who try to break the good-girl constraints by doing drugs, getting DUIs, and making sex tapes. Instead, Selena and Ashley sound like they’d be ideal candidates for the gallery I did a while back about young actresses smoothly transitioning to adult roles in just one step. (Vanessa was already in that gallery thanks to playing a prostitute in Sucker Punch, which is why I’m not really including her in the conversation here.)
If playing up their sex appeal and experimenting with smoking is the way that these young women start to feel out being adults, more power to them. It’s the tamest transition I’ve come across, and that’s refreshing.