A Chat with Selena Gomez

The actress stars in the new film Monte Carlo, now playing

Jul 11, 2011 | By Vickie An
LARRY HORRICKS—TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX

What would you do if you were mistaken for someone else and offered an all-expenses-paid trip to Monte Carlo, Monaco? Would you play along? If you're a small-town Texas girl like Grace, played by Selena Gomez, you just might! Grace, her stepsister Meg (Leighton Meester) and her best friend Emma (Katie Cassidy) have been saving up for a summer trip to Paris. But their dream vacation quickly spirals into a big disappointment when one thing after another goes wrong.

Things start looking up, however, when Grace is mistaken for a wealthy British heiress named Cordelia, who is scheduled to be in Monte Carlo. Wanting to give her friends the European adventure they had hoped for, Grace pretends to be the spoiled socialite. But when the real Cordelia shows up, will the girls be able to talk themselves out of this pickle? One thing's for sure: it's a vacation they'll never forget!

Selena met with reporters in New York City, recently, to talk about the film. Read on to see what she says about playing two characters in one movie, and about life after Wizards of Waverly Place.

Q:

Cordelia's not the friendliest person. This is the first time you've played a not-so-nice character. What was it like to step into that role?

SELENA GOMEZ:

It was liberating! Grace is a character I've played before. She's kind of shy, a little bit tom-boyish and she goes to [Paris to] search for a better life. Cordelia is so mean and awful. But I wanted to play her in a way so that you can't help but like her. People love watching the mean girl. Like, I love Leighton Meester's character [Blair Waldorf] in Gossip Girl. So it was really fun for me to play something different. It was a challenge, but I loved it. That's why I love acting.

Q:

Did you base Cordelia off of anyone?

SELENA:

No, to be honest, because we didn't know what we were going to do with her character. At first, they wanted to dress Cordelia like Paris Hilton because she's an heiress. Then, they wanted to do something more like Posh Beckham. So it was weird. We didn't know who Cordelia was going to be until I was on set.

Q:

Grace feels like a bit of an outsider at school. Did you ever feel like that growing up?

SELENA:

Absolutely. I was very awkward and very quiet. It wasn't until I was maybe 15 or 16 that I started opening up. I would wear the same outfit everyday and wear my hair in a ponytail with a ribbon that matched whatever shirt I had on. I sat in the back, and I definitely was very awkward and uncomfortable. I wasn't really confident, so I did draw on that for the role.

Q:

The girls have the time of their lives in Europe. Is there a trip you've taken that really sticks out in your mind?

SELENA:

There have been many. Unfortunately, I get to go to these beautiful places, but I never get to go with my friends. I'm always with my mom—which is nice, don't get me wrong! But of course, I do want to have that one big trip with my friends. One trip I do remember in particular is going to Nashville, Tennessee. During the time, I was just overwhelmed, and Taylor (Swift) was like, "You should come to Nashville." So I got on a plane, went to Nashville for the weekend, and it was awesome. I stayed at her house and just vegged out, and it was really good for me to get away.

Another time that I remember was while I was filming Monte Carlo. The whole cast went to Monte Carlo, and I flew out my best friend and my cousin Priscilla. Me, Katie, Leighton and my friends laid out on the beach. Even though I was working, it still felt like a good getaway.

Q:

What was it like filming in Europe?

SELENA:

Filming in Europe was amazing. The culture, the food, the people, the fashion... It was really fun for me. I grew up a lot.

Q:

One of the funniest scenes in the movie is when Grace is attempting to play polo—

SELENA:

[Laughs] You want to know a funny story? In the original script, Grace was supposed to be good at polo, and Cordelia was the one who didn't care. But I had two straight weeks of polo training and I was so bad at it that they rewrote the script! I could not get it. The polo stick was so heavy, and I was already trying to focus on the horse. So in the end, they taught me how to ride western style, which was easier for me. That was better.

Q:

How long did you have to practice Cordelia's British accent?

SELENA:

It took about two weeks. My dialect coach gave me a lot of movies to watch. We did dialect lessons for two hours every day. I also had her on set, so I would sit there and run through it with her over and over again. But shooting that first scene with the accent, I don't think I've been more terrified; I was so nervous. Hopefully it sounds good!

Q:

What do you think your Wizards character, Alex, would do if she found herself in Grace's shoes with this ticket to Monte Carlo?

SELENA:

[Joking] Oh, gosh, it'd be horrible. Send my character to Europe? Oh my goodness, she'd [use magic to] change a thousand things! I think she would have a crazy adventure and get into a lot of trouble.

Q:

Grace and Cordelia have very different looks. Grace is very casual, and Cordelia is very high fashion. How important is costume and makeup to you to get into character?

SELENA:

It's extremely important. It helps so much to be in the wardrobe. When we rehearse and I'm in my own clothes, it's sometimes hard for me to get into character because I feel like me. Cordelia was really fun to play. Her heels were a pain! But wearing them made me angry, so it made me portray the character that way.

Q:

This year is a big year for you with your new album coming out, this movie and Wizards of Waverly Place ending. With everything that's going on, do you ever get overwhelmed?

SELENA:

Of course. But it's also nice, because I'm starting over. My Disney Channel show is ending, and I'll have to gain a whole new audience. It's going to be a big challenge for me, but I'm ready. I've been doing the same thing for a very long time, so it's going to be really good for me to fight for some stuff.

 

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