From visionary writer/director Harmony Korine comes a film with a singular image: girls in bikinis with guns. Korine was set on portraying the ultimate spring break movie centering a group of bored college students ready to cut loose and have fun on the Florida Coast. To gain more insight, a press conference was held at trendy SLS Hotel. Stars of the film Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine and director Harmony Korine all answered questions for SPRING BREAKERS set to release on March 22nd. The film surrounds four best friends who are anxious to let loose on the spring break, but lack the finances. After robbing a restaurant for fast money, they head to shore in a stolen car for what they discover to be the party of a lifetime. They're taken to jail, but quickly bailed out by Alien, played by actor James Franco (Spiderman) a local rapper, gun and drug dealer. They are lured into a criminal underbelly and together, have to figure their way.
When it came to Spring Breakers, Harmony opted for household names over his usual choice of unknowns and non professionals. What really caught interest was taking Disney stars with good girl images; Selena Gomez (The Wizards of Waverly Place) and Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical franchise) and casting them in roles that were out of their element. When asked if their motivation to do the movie was to try and "trash" their Disney images, Gomez answered "I definitely don't think it's us trying to trash, or shed an image, I think I can speak for Vanessa when I say we are super passionate about what we do and at the end of the day were entertainers, were actors. To have an opportunity to work with someone like Harmony and James it's just, it's basically a given, so you know in a way it was kind of a way for us to step out of what we're kind of known for. But to do something like this was more of an experience that we're really excited about and proud of." "Selena says it all" agreed Hudgens.
Hudgens likes to think of the film as more of a female empowerment movie. "I mean it's really rare you get to see this kind of movie held together by four young women, you know, it's really empowering! There's these amazingly shocking images and it's an experience. This movie will give people an experience, you know, their going to be moved by it- their not just going to be able to shrug it off, so that's really special. I think as an entertainer that's what you strive to do." Ashley Benson (Pretty Little Liars,) adds "To be able to play these characters that are just insane, why wouldn't you want to do it...to be able to play someone so far from yourself is so cool. When Vanessa and I are like robbing the restaurant, that was the most fun I've had in a long time. Like shooting all the guys, it was just crazy! It's not normal, you would never do that so to be able to get to do that for two months is just awesome."
On working with established actor, James Franco, all of the girls were extremely excited. Rachel Korine states "I think we had a really great opportunity to be thrown into a scene with him. We all knew the script very well, but we didn't know what he was going to bring. Our first scene with him, he came onto set and I mean his entire physical presence was just different...it seemed like even his facial structure changed, his cadences, even the dialect-everything. Our jaws dropped and you get to see us react naturally and we were not repulsed, we were actually very charmed and taken in by him, I think in reality as well which was a great chance for us to be able to forget more of ourselves and go even deeper into the role, so it was a great gift he gave us."
What were the girls biggest fears entering into a project so different than anything they'd ever done before? "I wasn't scared," answers Gomez. "I definitely wanted to do this and I thought it would be a great opportunity for me and Harmony explained the movie perfectly. That's the reason why getting to actually know Harmony and the way he makes films...I mean, he said all of these things to me when I was auditioning and he was like 'are you ready to kind of leave your lifestyle behind a little bit and just kind of come on this journey with me' and that's just like the most exciting thing in the world. So I didn't really know what I was getting myself into but while we were there it was incredible to create and to play and it was liberating more than frightening." Harmony is more than proud of his cast, taking the risk and feels they were able to understand their characters enough to bring them to life. "For the record, the truth is, all the girls no matter how you've seen them before- the thing that's the most surprising and the most impressive is they were all pretty much fearless and they were all pretty much bold. The entire time none of them needed convincing. That's what was amazing for me to watch and see was how they transformed amongst themselves and how willing they were. I think they were all at a place in their lives where they were ready for this and they all wanted to challenge themselves and play characters that were outside of the realm of things that they've done before and go places that were more extreme and more graphic...and in some ways more enlightening. That's what was the best part for me as a director to watch them kind of inhabit the part and be fearless. And they were."
For this film, Harmony was not so much into making perfect sense, however, perfect nonsense. "It's unreal, it's a pop poem it's something that's hyperreal it's my imagination, it's a kind of reinterpretation at the same time; I'm using certain iconic imagery and it's being refiltered in a way...but we're trying to go for something that's past truth and more into something that's transcendence and energy." Spring Breakers is a film that explodes into bold new terrain and creates new vision of the seasonal American ritual we know as spring break.