Q&A Interview with Ashley Tisdale and Austin Butler of “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure”
April 11, 2011 by Dennis Amith
Images courtesy of ©Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Sharpay Evans is back!
Ashley Tisdale reprises her role as the popular “High School Musical” character in “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure” coming out on Blu-ray and DVD on April 19th.
The “High School Musical” trilogy was a big hit for Disney and one would wonder if the film series would continue in someway or form.
Sure enough, we have “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure”, a direct-to-video film which revolves around the rich and naive character of Sharpay Evans (played by Ashley Tisdale). The film is directed by Michael Lembeck (“Friends”, “Mad About You”, “Veronica’s Closet”) and a story by Robert Horn (“Designing Women”, “Living Single”, “High Society”) and producers of the HSM films, Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush.
The film features Sharpay Evans, a year after graduating from high school. As she (and her dog, Boi) perform at a local event in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she is recognized by a talent agent from Broadway who has interest in her and wants her to come out to audition in Broadway for a show starring Amber Lee Adams (played by Cameron Goodman), a star that Sharpay looks up to.
So, Sharpay goes to New York to make it big on Broadway and with the help of her new friend Peyton (played by Austin Butler), the two try to make it in the big city.
With the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release of “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure”, J!-ENT’s Dennis A. Amith and other journalists from entertainment media took part in a media Q&A roundtable with actress Ashley Tisdale and actor Austin Butler.
Here is a transcript of themedia Q&A roundtable interview with Ashley and Austin.
Q – Who’s your favorite designer? And which style do you prefer to wear?
Ashley Tisdale: I have a couple of favorite designers, Elizabeth and James, J Brand, Mui Mui, Chanel, Rebecca Taylor, Christian Louboutin. I would say my style is all over the place. It can go from Cali girl to rocker chic and bohemian!
Q – What can you tell us about your character? What’s his secret?
Austin Butler: My character is a film student who meets Sharpay and teaches her the ins and outs of living in the big city of New York. He helps her pursue her dream of becoming a Broadway Star. I don’t think he has any secrets that I know of.
Q – Would you like to be friend of your character in your real life?
Austin Butler: I would like to be friends with Peyton! He’s very supportive and patient. I’m trying to learn from him
Q – Do you have something / anything in common with Sharpay?
Ashley Tisdale: I can relate to how driven she is and I love to perform.
Q – Do you have something / anything in common with Peyton Leverett?
Austin Butler: Peyton is constantly thinking about directing and how he can become a better director. I feel the same way about acting.
Q – Do you miss High School Musical?
Ashley Tisdale: We had so much fun filming those movies. It was one of the best experiences so there definitely are times where I miss working with that cast. The best part is we are all so close, so whenever I’m with them it reminds me of everything we’ve been through.
Q – Who’s the first person you immediately call for a professional and for a personal advice?
Austin Butler: For professional advice I usually call Alexa Vega. She’s been in the business for so long, she always gives great advice. And for personal, I always call my family.
Q – What was the most difficult part to play in the movie?
Ashley Tisdale: I would say starring in a movie is definitely difficult. You have so much pressure and you hold the whole movie together. It’s a challenge. I was so lucky to have been the co-star in the first three movies, I feel like I grew as an actress and I’m now able to take on so much more as a lead actress.
Q – What is the most expensive thing in your wardrobe?
Ashley Tisdale: Definitely my Rolex presidential watch
Q – How can you describe your ideal partner?
Austin Butler: My ideal partner would be a girl who is easy to talk to and has a great sense of humor. I like to watch shows like “The Office” with girls and test their sense of humor.
Q – Will Sharpay’s attitude change in that movie or will we see the same Sharpay? What are the differences between Sharpay from High School Musical and Sharpay from this new movie?
Ashley Tisdale: In the beginning Sharpay is the same girl you know from the High School Musical movies but you get to see through her experiences in New York, that she evolves and grows up.
Q – You have grown up in the movie sets. Have you ever missed a “normal” childhood?
Ashley Tisdale: I went to a regular school growing up and graduated from High School so I got to have all those experiences. I love what I do and wouldn’t give it up for anything!
Q – You are a Californian; do you think you are living a California dream?
Austin Butler: I’m living my California dream for sure! Sometimes I have to pinch myself.
Q – What were the challenges of taking Sharpay from being an antagonist to the hero?
Ashley Tisdale: It was a challenge because she was the character you love to hate in High School Musical, and now in this movie you root for and fall in love with her.
Q – Who did you work best with on the set?
Ashley Tisdale: Austin Butler, just because we we’re in so many scenes together. The whole cast would always go out whenever we had time. I love creating a family on set.
Q – What kind of movies would you like to make in the future?
Austin Butler: I would like to take on challenging characters that I can really sink my teeth into. That and a really cool action movie!
Q – You two worked together on “Aliens in the Attic”. What was it like to go back to work on the same set for this project?
Ashley Tisdale: It was a lot of fun. I was actually the one to mention Austin for the character. We have such good chemistry and have so much fun together it felt perfect.
Q – What is the nicest thing a fan has said?
Ashley Tisdale: That I inspire them
Q – Could you imagine dating a girl like Sharpay?
Austin Butler: Sharpay is a really honest girl; she just says what she wants. Sometimes she needs to be more censored, but I think she’s a really sweet girl on the inside. I could see dating a girl like that, but Sharpay is a little bossy for my taste.
Q – Have you ever visited Denmark?
Ashley Tisdale: No I haven’t. I want to so badly though. I want to visit the Little Mermaid statue.
Q – What are your hobbies?
Austin Butler: I play the guitar and the piano. I also recently started boxing and rock climbing a lot.
Q – ‘High School Musical’ was a blast! Did you expect this worldwide franchise success?
Ashley Tisdale: We had no idea it was gonna be so huge! We had so much fun filming it so there definitely was something special, but we couldn’t have imagined all the success it had.
Q – How can you keep in touch with your fans? Are you addicted to social networks?
Austin Butler: A couple years ago, I used to be addicted to MySpace. I’m not addicted to any social networks at the moment. I use twitter to keep in touch with fans now.
Q – What do you feel the High School Musical franchise has brought to the American movie industry?
Ashley Tisdale: I feel like High School Musical introduced the musical genre to a whole new generation.
Q – Like Sharpay, is there a current Broadway musical you’d like to star in? If so, which role and why?
Ashley Tisdale: Right now I want to do more movies. Maybe in the future.
Q – What was it like working with Ashley Tisdale?
Austin Butler: Ashley brings a great energy to set that makes it feel like you’re not working. She’s a really fun girl to be around.
Q – What was it like the first time you met Austin? Did you guys hang out during your downtime? What did you do?
Ashley Tisdale: I met Austin filming a movie “Aliens In The Attic.” We clicked right away. The whole cast would always hang out on our down time. Even when we stopped filming we all stayed in touch.
Q – Do you have any advice for kids who want to get in to show business?
Ashley Tisdale: Follow your dreams. You can’t expect that it’s going to be easy, but if you work hard and keep going anything is possible!
Q – Why do you think Sharpay has become such a popular character even though she might not be the “sweetest” girl in the world?
Ashley Tisdale: I’ve always wondered that. While testing one of the movies, the fans said the reason why they love Sharpay is “she knows what she wants and she goes out and gets it.” They could see that she’s driven which I think is a very good quality.
Q – How would you describe Peyton?
Austin Butler: Peyton is a film student at NYU who is working on a Film Thesis. He has to find one unique New York story for his film. He ends up finding Sharpay on the side of the street, covered in pink, with all these pink suitcases around her, and he thinks she’s the perfect ‘fish out of water’ story. He ends up filming her journey of trying to become a Broadway Star.
Q – Who’s the first person you immediately call for professional and/or for personal advice?
Ashley Tisdale: My Mom and Manager.
Q – Who do you most want to work with?
Austin Butler: I would love to work with Clint Eastwood.
Q – Have you already worn pink again in real life after having shot the movie?
Ashley Tisdale: Pink has slowly gone missing in my wardrobe. I think it’s because I wear so much of it as Sharpay. Now that I’m a brunette I think I can get away with wearing pink again.
Q – How is this movie different from the High School Musical franchise, and how does it keep the same flavor?
Austin Butler: It’s the same Sharpay that you know and love, but she’s taken out of this sort of dream world and brought into the real world. It’s really fun to watch her deal with real world challenges.
Q – It seems to me that you are a dynamic duo, so funny! What`s the best part of working together?
Austin Butler: I love working with Ashley, because we have a great relationship in real life, and when we get on set we can just play.
Q – How can you keep in touch with your fans? Are you addicted to social networks?
Ashley Tisdale: Twitter!!! It’s so easy and I love staying connected to all of the fans.
Q – How cute is Austin? You have worked closely together? Are you good friends?
Ashley Tisdale: So adorable!! He’s one of my best friends.
Q – Which side of the celebrity stuff/world would you throw away? (red carpet, paparazzi, interviews…)?
Austin Butler: I think that paparazzi cross the line a lot of the time.
Q – Do you feel more comfortable as a blond or brunette?
Ashley Tisdale: I’m more comfortable as a brunette because it’s easier, less maintenance.
Q – Do you keep in touch with Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens?
Ashley Tisdale: Of course! I was actually just with Zac, and Vanessa is promoting her movie right now, but we’re always keeping in touch. We love to go shopping together.
Q – Do you believe in love at the first sight?
Austin Butler: Yeah. I don’t see why not, and I hope to be able to experience it someday.
Q – Ashley tell me, do you like to play the role of Sharpay?
Ashley Tisdale: I love it! The wardrobe, the hair, the fabulousness, LOL!
Q – What were the biggest challenges in producing this movie?
Austin Butler: My biggest challenge was the fact that I was filming so much of the movie on my camera. It added a whole new dynamic. On top of the acting, I had to focus on not getting any of the lights, crew, or other cameras in my frame.
Q – According to you, what is the most important message of this movie?
Ashley Tisdale: To believe in yourself!
Q – I know you’re from California — what do you think of New York? Could you ever see yourself on Broadway?
Austin Butler: I would love to work on Broadway someday! I love New York.
Q – You are also the executive producer of the movie. Is your future behind or in front of the cameras?
Ashley Tisdale: Both! I always want to be in front of the camera, but I love being able to produce as well. Producing is so new for me and I’m still learning.
Q – What is the best part of being an actor?
Ashley Tisdale: For me it’s watching the finished product and seeing it all come together.
Q – Do you have any advice for kids who wants to get into show business?
Austin Butler: Just be persistent, patient, and focus on working hard every day.
Q – What’s it like to be a brunette again? Do you miss the blond?
Ashley Tisdale: It’s much easier being brunette because that’s my natural color. But blonde is fun too!
Q – Where do you see yourself in the future?
Ashley Tisdale: Hopefully doing more movies and producing.
Q – Have you got any other upcoming projects?
Ashley Tisdale: I’m doing a TV show right now on CW called “Hellcats.”
Q – Did you know each other before this movie?
Austin Butler: Yes! Ashley and I did a movie together a couple of years ago called ‘Aliens in the Attic.’
Q – Tell us about your dog. What’s his/her name?
Ashley Tisdale: My personal dog is a teacup Maltipoo, and her name is Maui.
Q – In this movie Sharpay has a very special relationship with her dog, how was it for you as an actress working with a dog?
Ashley Tisdale: It’s definitely a challenge working with dogs. They’re animals so they really don’t understand what’s going on. They’re so cute though. Howie and Herby were awesome to work with.
Q – What is the best part of being an actor?
Austin Butler: I love acting because it’s almost like playing dress up when you were a kid. You can do things you wouldn’t normally do.
Q – As a child did you put posters on the wall of your room? Who was your idol? Did you already meet him/her? If so, how did you react when you meet him/her?
Ashley Tisdale: I had pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio on my wall. I LOVED Titanic and I LOVED him.
Q – You made your breakthrough at a very early age – what would be your advice to a 12 year old girl who wants to be a successful actress?
Ashley Tisdale: Know that it’s not easy, but if you really want to do it, you have to go for it and work hard!
Q – How do you balance your acting career and your regular life?
Austin Butler: My dad lives out in Arizona, so when I get time off I’ll go out there and ride horses, dirt bikes, etc. It keeps me in touch with myself. It’s good to get out of Hollywood and just relax.
Q – You two have worked together on “Aliens in the Attic”. How was it going back to work on the same set for this project?
Austin Butler: It was great because now we’ve known each other for years and have inside jokes and stuff. So we just had a blast.
Q – You have known Sharpay for years but do you think the most important thing for her is love or her career?
Ashley Tisdale: Her career comes first, always!
Q – What is your favorite scene from the movie?
Ashley Tisdale: New York’s Best Kept Secret! It’s the first time you see Sharpay completely vulnerable.
Q – Our readers have a tough time dealing with their first crushes — what insight can you give them from a guys’ point of view?
Austin Butler: I like to just look at it from the other person’s point of view. I think that the key is to take your focus off yourself and put it on the other person. It helps me get rid of nerves and stuff.
Q – According to you, what makes Sharpay so fabulous?
Austin Butler: I think her fabulousness comes from how big her dreams are, how she’s larger than life and, of course, all her Pinkness.
Q – Did you ever have a diary as a child or teenager?
Ashley Tisdale: I had tons of journals growing up. I still do! I love to just write down my thoughts or if I’m inspired by something I write it down.
Q – What do you think is the key to the success of films and series like High School Musical, Camp Rock and now Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure?
Austin Butler: I think music is such a universal language, that it speaks to everyone.
Q – Have you ever been to Denmark or other countries in Scandinavia? And what do you think of the Scandinavian girls and boys?
Austin Butler: I’ve never been to any Scandinavian countries. I have Scandinavian ancestry though. I definitely want to make a trip there someday!
Q – Sometimes Sharpay can be almost too confident, and it seems like she’s trying to cover up insecurities. Did you ever feel like you had to overcompensate for your insecurities, especially when you were younger?
Austin Butler: When I was younger, rather than overcompensating for insecurities I was just really shy. Getting up and doing scenes in front of groups in acting class helped to break me out of that.
Q – What’s the best part of Sharpay? And the worst?
Ashley Tisdale: She’s driven and knows what she wants in life. The worst is that she sometimes goes about it the wrong way.
Q – You’re the executive producer of Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure and I know you’re doing even more things as a producer. What are the other projects that you have or that you’re planning to produce? And how was your work as an executive producer in Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure?
Ashley Tisdale: All the projects I’m producing are in development right now. The network Bravo just picked up one of my reality shows called “Miss Advised.” I’m super excited about that one (again I’m not in the project, just producing).
Q – How did your acting career start?
Austin Butler: I got into doing extra work when I was about 11, and then through that I got comfortable being on set. I met my manager through one of the actresses on a show I did. She then got me into acting classes and got me an agent.
Q – What do you think the High School Musical franchise has brought to the American movie industry?
Austin Butler: I feel like it has introduced kids to musicals and helped them realize how fun they could be. And with the success of all the former High School Musical movies, Hollywood learned that musicals can still be popular. It sort of brought back the musical!
Q – What’s the best advice you have received in your life?
Austin Butler: Some of the best advice I’ve received in my life: Be nice to everyone you meet. Its such simple advice but you can’t go wrong with it.
Q – In this film you had to do two jobs, one acting and one actually filming, as we saw in the bonus feature Austin Cam. Do you now have any interest in the filming side of things?
Austin Butler: I would love to try directing someday! They let me take the camera I used in the film home and I just memorized how it worked. It was a lot of fun!
Q – Austin, any final thoughts on SHARPAY’S FABULOUS ADVENTURE?
Austin Butler: Thank you so much! This was really fun. You guys asked some great questions! I hope you enjoy the movie.
Q – Ashley, any final thoughts on SHARPAY’S FABULOUS ADVENTURE?
Ashley Tisdale: I had so much fun filming this movie. I’m so proud of it and I hope everyone likes it. I have to thank my fans for making this all possible. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them.
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