Miley Cyrus is only 16-years-old, but like many teen superstars she's been through enough drama to last a lifetime. After the smashing success of her Disney Channel TV show "Hannah Montana" and last year's surprise hit concert flick "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds," Cyrus is putting gossip bloggers behind her as she pitches "Hannah Montana: The Movie" to a room of assembled press.
"I feel like the hardest thing about dealing with all the things I go through with paparazzi and stuff is people remembering that you are a real person," Cyrus says. "I feel like people forget that sometimes and forget privacy and respect. It's important for you to remember that I am a real person, have feelings and all that crazy stuff. I just think this movie is really gonna prove that to people. It all is real."
If you don't have a young daughter or niece in your life or have been living under a rock the past few years, here's the quick rundown on what Cyrus' Hannah Montana persona is all about. The show and movie find the actress playing Miley Stewart, a country girl who moves to Malibu to pursue a big time singing career. Her secret? She agrees with her manager and father (real dad Billy Ray Cyrus) to lead a double life as Hannah Montana so her private life can be as normal as possible. "Hannah Montana: The Movie" finds dad deciding Miley is getting too swept up in the celebrity side of the biz (she has a paparazzi tussle with Tyra Banks over a pair of shoes) so he hijacks her back to Tennessee to remind her of good ol' small town values are all about (since obviously it's impossible to learn that in Los Angeles). There is a whole subplot about trying to stop a mall from being built in her picturesque town (although the mall design was pretty intriguing to this writer), but it's really just an excuse for a big, dramatic charity concert at the end of the movie where Hannah can perform the title track and iTunes hit "The Climb." Will she see the error of her ways and realize she can't live a secret life anymore? You'll be sadly surprised by the outcome.
The picture spotlights a problem that will plague Cyrus as she gets older: are her songs a hit because Hannah sings them or Miley does? Cyrus admits that even her young fans get confused on whether she's Miley from the show, Hannah or her true self at times. However, she feels the movie allows the similarities between all three personas to come to the forefront, to demonstrate that it's "not so separate."
She says, "[The movie] shows that, realistically, you're not going to be able to have this double life and really keep them as separate as you want. It has proven that, as much as Hannah changes and as much as Miley changes, again, it's all the same person. The reason that she had this double life was so that she could not become that person, not obsess with material things and be so obsessed with Hollywood and what she's become and not remember who she is."
The singer, who expects to go on tour this summer, understands that critics think she's over-exposed and seeking too much media attention (tell that to The Jonas Brothers), but says she loves the artistic side of the business and will "go off and do other things at some point when the time is right."
She notes, "My dad tells me it's all about the time. If the time isn't right, nothing is going to fall into place."
Well, Billy Ray certainly isn't short on cliches.
Most importantly though, she wants her fans to know that unlike some other pop stars, her fans are extremely important to her.
"I just want people to realize, I really am grateful for what I do and I really do care about the fans," Cyrus says. "I can't help it if there are forty photographers outside my house. I try to keep my life as private as I can, but I definitely don't do what I do for the attention. Because, if I knew, coming into this, that I would have all those people outside my house, I might have just given [it all] a second thought."
"Hannah Montana: The Movie" opens nationwide this Friday.