It’s like watching the Disney princesses become dragons: seeing starlets like Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens “prove” they’re mature by dabbling in drugs and booze while stripping down for steamy sex scenes.
“Spring Breakers,” rated R for sex, drugs, language, nudity, and violence, danced with the absurd by showcasing a threesome and having one star perform fellatio on a gun barrel. The movie, to be released Friday, March 15, has emerged as a kind of “violent pop song,” or an elongated music video, according to director Harmony Korine. In the film, four college girls robbed a restaurant only to land in jail for spring break. Alien, a drug dealer played by James Franco, bailed the girls out in return for some “dirty work.”
The biggest shocker? The movie cast former Disney stars 20-year-old Selena Gomez, 23-year-old Ashley Benson, and 24-year-old Vanessa Hudgens. Rachel Korine, Harmony Korine’s wife, played the forth “college girl.”
Even The New York Times found the choices of Gomez and Hudgens surprising in the March 10 paper. Writer Brooks Barnes uttered an “Uh-oh” to an “I want to shock people” comment by Hudgens while the Times’ Jon Caramanica recited a history of child stars gone wild, including Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.
The “Huffington Post” found the movie, “unbelievably fascinating” and interviewed director Korineabout the film. Korine attempted to illustrate spring break life, saying, “I feel like the most pure human being that’s ever existed” because his “intentions are pure in that the film is about that culture.” He would enlist fraternities, Hooters girls, strippers, and even kids off the beach to become a part of his spring break masterpiece. While he did say “little” kids should avoid “Spring Breakers,” Korine admitted that perhaps 15- and 16-year-olds could attend.
Gomez and Hudgens pursued their bikini-strutting roles with a greedy passion to shed their childhood acting past. In the March 15 “Entertainment Weekly,” Gomez said she’s tired of making decisions based on her image and that, “at the end of the day, I love what I do – for me.” She loves the attention, saying, “It’s been fun getting the reactions we’ve gotten, whether it’s ‘What are you thinking?’ or ‘Oh my goodness, that’s amazing!’.” Hudgens expressed similar notions, saying, “I’m only doing things I’m infatuated with.” She continued, “But I’m enjoying it and I’m proud of what I’m doing.” Even Benson said, “as long as you’re happy, that’s what’s important.”
While some of the scenes may have been uncomfortable for the girls, such as the threesome involving James Franco, Benson and Hudgens, Korine said he focused the cameras more at those points, because that is when acting becomes reality. “I like places where you don’t really know what’s real and what’s not,” he explained. According to the Barnes Times piece, Korine “deliberately cast actresses with saccharine images to make a point about the underbelly of what he calls ‘pop mythology’ – the extreme party that many young people dream about and corporations cash in on.”
While Korine might be laughing at the irony of the situation, and Gomez and Hudgens celebrating doing what they want to do in the name of happiness, one goal is lost: showing young fans that growing up doesn’t mean going wild, and that doing what you want to do, without considering the consequences (affecting young girls) is perfectly normal.