WITH A SEXY NEW ROLE IN ZACK SNYDER’S SUCKER PUNCH, 22-YEAR-OLD STARLET VANESSA HUDGENS BEST KNOWN FOR HER PUPPY-LOVE ROMANCE WITH ZAC EFRON IS FINALLY SHEDDING HER SQUEAKY-CLEAN IMAGE IN DETAILS MAGAZINE MARCH ISSUE.Hudgens, now 22, has internalized the strict and soapy image-control politics impressed upon her by the studio of youth. We mostly know her only from movies.
And face-wash ads. And paparazzi shots of lots of hand-holding. Symbolically save for the occasional salacious Google search return it’s as if her virginity is still intact.
Hudgens props her feet up on an adjacent potted plant, takes her feet down, kicks them up again. She runs her hand through her long black hair, pokes at the wad of blue gum she’s affixed to the lid of her coffee cup.
She raps her silver fingernails on her iPhone, then throws her arms in the air, retracts her shoulder blades, stretches, and grunts. Excessive fidgeting usually betrays some pathology. “I’m not nervous,” she says. “I’m excited. I get excited. I’m, like, a very hyper, energetic, crazy type of crazy. I have a lot going on. Always. I’ll dance on a table sober.”
Which is exactly the kind of reasonably burlesque thing Hudgens is doing in this month’s Sucker Punch, a Zack Snyder film about five female inmates escaping from an asylum that mashes up The Lord of the Rings, Showgirls, and Girl, Interrupted meaning we get a lot of crazy chicks wielding phallic weaponry and fighting dragons.
More recently, Hudgens has been filming the sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth in Hawaii, improbably bonding with Michael Caine.
“He’s uh-mazing,” Hudgens says, habitually stretching that one word into two. “Not only is he uh-mazingly, stupidly talented, but he still kind of hits on me. All the time. If it was anybody else, I’d be like, ‘Who the hell do you think you are?’ But because it’s Michael Caine, I’m like, ‘Sock it to me more, baby, come on!’
Throughout this whole movie we’re trudging through the jungle. So, of course, we’re sweating. I can’t tell you how much time is spent putting oil on my chest. And Evian. Spraying Evian bottles on my chest and my arms and my forehead, but mostly my chest. Just to look like I’m sweating. But your boobs don’t really sweat, cleavage doesn’t sweat. So it’s kind of funny. But Michael’s always telling the makeup artists that he’ll take over and do it. I. Frickin’. Love. Him.”
Asking Hudgens about Efron yields a less detailed response. The way she delivers those nice-girl-just-got-hit-by-a-truck, post-breakup lines “We’re still friends,” “Who knows what the future will bring,” “We’re figuring things out” makes her sound like all the rest of the cake-eaters in here: hurt but hopeful.
“After the Oscars we were at Madonna’s party. Quentin Tarantino was there, and I was talking to him for a while, probably after a few drinks, and I told him, ‘We’ve gotta do something together.’ And he was like, ‘I would love to. That would be really great.’ So it’s been put out there,” Hudgens says. “Slowly, I’ve gained balls. I used to be very shy.”
BY HOWIE KAHN
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ERIC RAY DAVIDSON