Selena Gomez: 'I just hope to grow with my audience'
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ATLANTA -- Selena Gomez plays two contrasting roles in her new movie "Monte Carlo," and during a recent visit to pump the frothy summer film, she left two decidedly different impressions about the actress behind those roles.
On the one hand, she sounded fittingly humble for an 18-year-old who's trying to establish herself in the movies -- maybe more modest about her place in the Hollywood firmament than you'd expect, given how huge a celebrity she is already among tween and young teen girls who've followed her rise as a Disney Channel star, oft-downloaded pop singer and girlfriend of megastar Justin Bieber.
On the other hand, there were the half-dozen handlers moving around the stately Four Seasons suite who fussed over her makeup, brought her coffee and a fruit plate and timed how long interviewers were allowed to talk to her.
It was unclear if these assistants were Ms. Gomez's entourage, studio-assigned keepers or maybe partly the crew of Mr. Bieber. But they made her appear a bit of a girl in a bubble.
To be fair, perhaps extra care was being taken because the actress had a week before been hospitalized in Los Angeles for what turned out to be dehydration and an iron deficiency. Ms. Gomez's mother, Mandy Teefey, told her to slow down and take better care of herself. And she was listening since Mom is also her manager.
Open, if businesslike, she indulged a few Q's with some thoughtful A's.
Q: Your recent health issues were plastered on blogs and in newspapers in parts of the globe that most folks have barely heard of. Do you feel you're living under a microscope sometimes?
A: I don't feel that. I do get incredible reactions from my fans [from] countries I've never been to. I guess I never view it as a bad, negative thing. I love what I do, so it's nice to have the fan reaction. The only thing I will say I don't like is, obviously, the microscope on my personal life. That obviously can be frustrating at times because I feel it's getting less and less about entertainment and art -- not for me but for everybody.
Q: Do you get chased by paparazzi a lot?
A: It's hit or miss. It's a little weird. Sometimes it happens, and sometimes I can be low-key and avoid it.
Q: What was it about "Monte Carlo" that made you feel it was the right movie right now?
A: It's the right transition for me. Obviously, I'm at a crucial place in my career. I just left Disney Channel. Now I'm stepping into adult -- young adult -- world. But the whole reason I get to do what I do is the core audience that watches "Wizards of Waverly Place," so I want to make projects that are satisfying for me artistically and something that my fans can go see.
Q: Do you feel as you continue to progress that you necessarily have to bring that audience along, or do you see yourself going for roles that will appeal to more mature viewers?
A: The problem with that is I'm not in that place personally. I will be 19 soon [July 22], so I'm at a very young place. I do feel I'm getting older, becoming an adult. At the same time, I'm still uncomfortable with certain things. At the moment, doing films like "Monte Carlo" is where I'm at personally. So I just hope to grow with my audience. I don't think there will ever be a turning point where I wouldn't want them to come see my movies.
Q: Was it a challenge playing the two roles [Grace, a small-town Texan who graduates from high school and takes her dream trip to Paris; and snooty British socialite Cordelia Winthrop Scott, whom Grace is mistaken for and then assumes her identity]?
A: It was fun, it was definitely a challenge. I got to be someone totally different. The Grace character, people have seen within the characters I've played before, so playing Cordelia was really fun because I got to create this evil person.
Q: Are there other actors or directors you want to work with?
A: Of course! My favorite actress is Rachel McAdams. I love Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep, Renee Zellweger for comedies. As for males, I love Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp. I love Shia LaBeouf, I think he's really talented and he kind of came from a Disney background, which is very inspiring to me.
And directors, I'd like to work with Martin Scorsese. I doubt he'd jump at the chance to work with me [laughs], but I'd love to work with him.
Q: Do you think you can keep the momentum in your music career while trying to build your name in the movies?
A: I make music more to have fun. I don't make anything that's serious for me. I love making music that makes people happy. ... But acting is something I work really hard at and throw myself into, and I really hope, professionally, that I can be recognized with respect. Which I know I'm going to have to gain because of my background.
First Published July 1, 2011 12:00 am