The Last Song - Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus
Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus © Touchstone

Miley Cyrus has grown up before our eyes on TV’s popular Hannah Montana, which is currently shooting its final season. As a multi-platinum recording artist with four number-one albums in less than three years, she splits her time between acting and singing.

In The Last Song Cyrus portrays Ronnie Miller, a rebellious teenager who is forced to spend the summer at the beach with her estranged father, Steve (Greg Kinnear), who tries to reconnect with her through the only thing they have in common – music. The part was written specifically for her by best-selling novelist Nicholas Sparks.

Appropriately, the press junket for the movie was held the Casa del Mar Hotel on the beach in Santa Monica, where Miley spoke about her new and challenging dramatic role.

Nicholas Sparks wrote this part for you. How does that feel?

The Last Song - Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus © Touchstone

It was cool because everything that I’ve done, even the show, the character is not me but there are elements that are very much like me personally. So it made it easier for me to go into something new.

This is your first dramatic role, so what did you learn from this experience that you’ll take with you for the rest of your career?

I think (I learned) just go into each day doing your best and don’t get too attached to anything. Everyone has their job. I know that everyone else is doing the best they can at what they do and I’ll do the best I can. When I did Hannah Montana, that was something I was so familiar with. It was interesting watching the edit (of this film, and saying) ‘I could have done that better’. I think (I learned) just don’t criticize yourself.

Does it help to work with a really hot guy like Liam Hemsworth as your co-star?

Yeah. (Talking) with Nicholas about the writing I said, ‘I like animals, I like music and hot Australians.’  That’s what I made him write into the book so that was interesting. It was a good choice. It worked out fine and I owe Nicholas bigtime! (Liam and Miley are dating now).

Did you and Liam get on from day one?

The Last Song - Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus
Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus © Touchstone

I got a little bit nervous about how “big” he was, this way (she raises her arm high above her head indicating really tall) because I was like, ‘I’m going to have to stand on apple boxes or something’. It made me a little bit intimidated even though I’m usually the one who is intimidating someone else.

But he opened the door (for me) and I was like, ‘He opened the door. That was good! He’s got the part!’ And everybody else was like, ‘Just read with him first’. ‘Oh, okay but he’s got it.  I don’t care’. (she laughs)

I didn’t want to be the one that made the final decision because if he ended up being crazy, I didn’t want to be the one that ruined the whole thing. But he ended up being awesome and it was so fun.  I think I was a little bit intimidated and it’s hard for someone to do that to me.

How did you channel your inner rebel to play the part?

The Last Song - Greg Kinnear, Bobby Coleman, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth
Greg Kinnear, Bobby Coleman, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth © Touchstone

I just dropped the guard for a little while, threw all the fits that I wanted to in the past year on screen. It was fun to be able to go into work and not be necessarily exactly what was on the page.  I felt like Julie Anne (Robinson, the director) gave us the freedom to add our own things and if something didn’t feel comfortable… there would be things where I’d say. ‘I don’t think that’s right. ‘

I felt really involved so I think that made it easier not to just look at the page and have to do exactly what was there but have the space to be able to grow and add our own personal thing to the character.

You’re shooting your final season of Hannah Montana, is it strange to say goodbye to such a big part of your life?

It’s interesting to be doing press for this type of movie when right now, on the Disney Channel it’s airing one of the last episodes of season three and now we’re finishing up season four so, right now, a new chapter is beginning. What’s been my life for the last five years is ending so it’s interesting to be leaving my security blanket behind, but also it’s exciting getting involved with this movie.

It makes me want to just continue to work and do more films. We needed a complete ending for season (four) it’s such a huge, big deal in so many kids’ lives that I think they don’t want to see reruns forever.

They want a really respectful ending and it really deserves that because it’s been such an amazing journey.  It definitely had a beginning and it needs an end.

Will there be another /span>Hannah Montana movie?

No. Hannah Montana and the wig is (she whistles) out! As soon as that last episode is over one (wig) will be in a museum and one will be burned or something because I can’t put it on again.

It’s just too much!


Judy Sloane

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