High School Musical phenomenon continues,
Ashley Tisdale (aka Sharpay Evans) has been quietly moving on to project after project, piling them on in succession. Already a double-threat actress/singer, Tisdale can now add producer to her title: The 23-year-old is getting ready for the release of
Picture This!, a new movie on ABC Family (July 13, 8 pm/ET). In the flick, Tisdale plays Mandy, the dorky girl at school who stops at nothing to attend a party that her big crush is throwing - despite being grounded by her over-protective dad, and having him track her every move with their new camera phones.
While her dance card is increasingly jam-packed (producing a new sit-com for Disney and a reality show for Fremantle are just a few of her new gigs), Tisdale took a few to chat with TVGuide.com about her new TV-movie, how Sharpay is like SATC's Samantha - and her plans for another HSM. - Anna Dimond
TVGuide.com: After playing Sharpay, what was it like playing the nice girl in Picture This!?
It was fun, It reminded me a lot of myself. It is a challenge, obviously, carrying the movie, but she's quirky [laughs]! The prosthetics, the whole mall night - it's fun to be crazy. Stephen [Herek] directing helped me. There's pressure. Working off of these actors. Kevin Pollack [Mandy's dad], it's hard to keep a straight face with him. I'm so used to playing in High School Musical and Suite Life, that this was a whole new thing.
TVGuide.com: Did you ever encounter anything like Mandy's crush situation in school, or in your professional life?
Yeah, I totally had a crush on the cool, popular guy, and I was really shy and quiet. And for the longest time, he just wanted to be my friend. I was like, 'Come, on!' I even told him I liked him, finally, and he was like, 'I don't like you like that.' It crushed me, but I got my revenge. Years later, he attended my senior prom, and you could just tell he was not as cool. I went to say hi, and he was shocked it was me.
TVGuide.com: Another major theme of the movie is the evolution of the father-daughter relationship. What was your own dynamic like with your dad in high school? Were there strict dating rules?
Oh, my dad is just like the dad in Picture This!. And he's a builder, so it's crazy that he's an architect, too. My dad's very overprotective. He kind of has my mom ask the questions so he doesn't look so bad. In high school, he always had to know who I was dating. And 12 was my curfew, up until I was 20 years old! Still, I'm 23, and he wants me to call the house and say I've gotten home safe. Now I understand, but in high school...
TVGuide.com: Were there any growing pains, though, when your career was taking off? There are so many trust issues playing out in the movie, it seems that would be tough to navigate.
My parents are really supportive. They obviously wanted me to have a very normal childhood. And that's why I worked at a clothing store, because they wanted me to understand the value of a dollar, and how hard it was.
TVGuide.com: You've said that carrying Picture This! was a big challenge for you. Were there any other personal hurdles in the movie, or scenes that were tough to nail?
Anytime you have a kissing scene with someone it is very awkward. And he's in a speedo, and you're in a lifeguard suit - it's embarrassing and awkward, and you just meet the person, so it's weird. But I'm always up for a challenge. The most challenging was the prosthetics [in the mall scene], I had an allergic reaction to the prosthetics. The stuff they use to put it on the skin made me itch.
TVGuide.com: You've also been shooting other projects. How did High School Music 3 go? Are there any surprises for Sharpay, or romantic encounters?
It was really amazing. There's a lot of surprises for a lot of people. Nothing big and romantic [for Sharpay]. Sharpay's more involved with herself. She's definitely grown up a lot more. I just remember, in Sex and the City, the movie, Kim Cattrall says the best line to her boyfriend, 'I've spent the last ten years all about you, and really I love myself too much'- [That's something] Sharpay would do. She's too in love with herself to love somebody else. But she has a romantic interest, yes. [Laughs.]
TVGuide.com: With Picture This! coming out and so many other projects going on, is Sharpay a character that you'd come back to, for High School Musical 4?
I'm thinking about moving on from it, it's time.
Picture This! is out on DVD July 22 from MGM Home Entertainment.