Aliens in the Actic - Ashley Tisdale
Aliens in the Actic - Bethany (Ashley Tisdale) ©2009 Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises

Ashley Tisdale is best known for her role as the self-centered Sharpay Evans in the TV/movie High School Musical franchise. Still catering to the young teen market, she now plays Bethany who, along with her family, heads to a three-story holiday house in the middle of nowhere, not realizing that a group of aliens is living in its attic.

What was the attraction of this movie after High School Musical?

I read the script and it was a family movie and I thought it was really great for my audience. I was hesitant at first on doing it, because I really wanted to know what the aliens were going to look like.

I wanted to know who was starring in the movie just because the character of Tom, my younger brother, could make it a young, young movie.

When they told me Carter Jenkins signed on, I loved him in a show called Surface on NBC, and I was super excited. I think he’s a great actor.

With Barry Josephson as the producer, who produced Enchanted and Men in Black, I knew the CGI would be a piece of cake, because he’s really good at that, but it’s different from the musical movies, it’s an action comedy, has a great cast, Doris Roberts, Kevin Nealon, Andy Richter, I’ve learned so much from them.

What about reacting to all the special effects? Was that intimidating or challenging?

The kids prepare to do battle with the aliens in their attic! © Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises
The kids prepare to do battle with the aliens! © 20th Century Fox & Regency Enterprises

I’m never intimidated by that stuff, I think stuff that I’m attracted to is always challenging, just because I like to challenge myself and see what I’ve accomplished. But with the CGI I was just like, ‘How is this going to work? Are we doing green screen?’

And we didn’t really do green screen much, usually where we were filming we had a green stuffy, like a beanbag kind of doll, that was the alien and they just move it around, and then we’d react off of it.

Sometimes I was nervous, because I was only there for five weeks, I had to come back for High School Musical 3, where the rest of the cast were there for six months, and because they’re all younger, at a certain time they were not allowed to work and I would be up at 2 o’clock in the morning reacting to the Doris Roberts and Robert Hoffman fight, and I’d be looking at the crew members.

So that kind of made me nervous, but I saw the movie and I think it came together really well.

Did you have any fears about what was up in the attic when you were a kid?

Hannah (Ashley Boettcher) and Bethany (Ashley Tisdale) work hard to keep their battle against alien invaders a secret from their dad Stuart (Kevin Nealon) © Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises
Hannah and Bethany try to keep the alien invaders a secret from their dad © 20th Century Fox & Regency Enterprises

Yeah, I didn’t have an attic, I had a basement because I grew up in New Jersey when I was younger.

This is really scary, I thought Chucky was down there, because my friend, at seven years old, told me, ‘Let’s watch Child’s Play,’ and I thought it was a doll movie, so after watching that I was so scared that I wouldn’t go down in the basement because I thought maybe he was roaming around down there, and for a girl who had many dolls it really freaked me out.

What are some of your favorite alien movies?

I love Close Encounters. I love E.T. One of my favorite movies Signs is a scary one. That freaked me out. I’m a big fan of alien movies.

Do you think we underestimate kids? You started so young and are already such a veteran. When do we start taking young people seriously, or is it innate in you?

Director John Schultz reviews a scene with Ashley Tisdale on the set © Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises
Director John Schultz reviews a scene with Ashley Tisdale © 20th Century Fox & Regency Enterprises

I don’t take myself seriously, actually. I laugh at myself all the time. I’m very driven. I’ve always been very driven, even at a young age.

My mom taught me that. I’ve never really had a role model that was a celebrity. I always looked up to my mom just because she’s a very confident person and she always taught me to believe and don’t quit and keep going for your dreams.

At a young age I did not know I’d be where I am today. I was doing commercials and modeling but I always dreamt of doing movies and TV shows.  And so I think that with hard work and drive that you’ll definitely get there.

Even though I’ve been in the business for so long and I’ve had a lot of success with the High School Musical movies I still feel that my career has just begun. I want to keep learning about my craft and keep going.

Do you think we’ve seen the last of the High School Musical franchise?

I think there’s a High School Musical 4, they’re continuing the franchise, we’re just not a part of it. They’re just doing a whole new cast.

The movies are positive and exciting to kids and I think that it’s really great to keep going with it for sure. Obviously we had a great time doing them.


Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.