Vanessa Hudgens admits that she can’t watch scary movies herself, despite her appearance in one of the year’s eeriest so far.
“I recently watched ‘Mama’ through my fingers,” she tells HuffPostUK. “I don't like scary movies, I used to love them, but now I can't watch them. After ‘The Grudge’ I still look in corners of rooms. After ‘The Ring’, I can’t go into stairwells if it's dark. I used to love them, but now I live in a decent-sized place, it's just too close to home.”
Hudgens is enjoying an "ongoing evolution"
Hudgens is one of the stars of this week’s chiller ‘The Frozen Ground’, telling the real-life story of serial killer Robert Hansen, played by John Cusack. Hudgens plays Cindy Paulson, a prostitute who barely escaped Hansen’s clutches, and is in awe of Cusack’s shocking transformation on the screen...
“I remember him best from ‘Say Anything’, so it was pretty fascinating to see him like that,” she remembers. “He told me about it before I got to be around it, but still, the first time he got into it, I remember being pretty shocked. But he’s incredibly giving as an actor, and got me to do things I wouldn’t have done if it hadn’t been for him.”
Hudgens is continuing her transformation from teen queen in hit series ‘High School Musical’ - something she calls “an ongoing evolution".
Vanessa Hudgens is almost unrecognisable from her High School persona in 'The Frozen Ground'
“I constantly want to reinvent myself, it's not fun to be stagnant. Fans are always going to call me Gabriella, and constantly reference ‘High School Musical’, but I grew up with musicals. That's what sparked my love for film and acting, and I got to bring that to a bunch of kids all over the globe, it’s a really neat thing, not something I'm ashamed of, I just want to step outside my comfort zone and prove myself as an actor.”
Although she’s gracious about such a legacy, it’s clear Hudgens’ favourite screen moments are away from this franchise. Asked about her first moment of losing herself a la Cusack on screen, she cites a more recent outing, as a wayward teenager in search of her father in ‘Gimme Shelter’:
“I chopped off my hair, put on 15 pounds, and I looked in the mirror and just didn't recognise myself. And I knew from that moment, I was no longer Vanessa, I'd completely transformed into somebody else.”
John Cusack surprised Vanessa Hudgens with his own makeover in 'The Frozen Ground'
This is a somebody who talks about wanting to work with Quentin Tarantino - “that would be my dream” - and clearly not somebody intent on making her next album, despite her singing success on the back of ‘High School Musical’.
“That’s taking a back seat for a while,” she tells me. “Music's a big part of my life, and always will be, but I don't want to just have someone else write it and then do it, I want to do it right.”
The Frozen Ground is in UK cinemas from today. Watch the trailer below...