Spring Breakers (2013) - Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens and Rachel Korine
Spring Breakers (2013) - Faith (Selena Gomez), Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) ©2013 A2

Pictured above: Spring Breakers – Faith (Selena Gomez), Brit (Ashley Benson), Cotty (Rachel Korine) and Candy (Vanessa Hudgens) ©2013 A2

Spring Breakers stars Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez, but it’s no Disney film.

Written and directed by Harmony Korine, the movie follows four best friends – Brit (Ashley Benson, Pretty Little Liars), Faith (Selena Gomez, Wizards of Waverly Place), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens, High School Musical) and Cotty (Rachel Korine, Mister Lonely) – who are anxious to leave their humdrum lives behind and go on spring break.

After holding up a restaurant for quick cash, they head to Florida, where they encounter sex, drugs and violence, after meeting Alien (James Franco), a local rapper and drug dealer.

At the press day, the actresses spoke about their experience in this very R rated movie.

You spend most of the movie in bikinis, what was that like?

Candy (Vanessa Hudgens) and Brit (Ashley Benson) ©2013 A2

Vanessa: The first day was kind of nerve-wracking being in a bathing suit, but then you realize that you are being surrounded by hundreds of other spring breakers who are in bathing suits and weigh less, and they are having the time of their lives.

So we got to feel their energy. But it got chilly sometimes.

Selena: I think it added some vulnerability to the characters too, when you see them in jail in that state. In a bikini it adds a whole other element, because they are girls and they’re exposed and they should be cold. It’s not really a comfortable setting.

Did you do a back story for your characters to justify why they behave so badly?

Cotty (Rachel Korine), Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens) and Faith (Selena Gomez) ©2013 A2

Vanessa: I think one of the most important things for all of our characters is just becoming as close as possible. Harmony had us come out [the Florida] and we’d rehearse for about an hour or two, going over the script, and then the rest of the day we would just hang out together.

We’d go to the beach, we had to be really, really close and I think that was the most important thing, to create that bond.

They’re college girls, Harmony would send us videos of normal college girls in their bedroom, being goofy, listening to rap music and dancing. They’re girls of this generation.

They grew up in a small town, so they were just aching for a change of pace and I think that when you’re told no, it makes you want to rebel that much more. That’s why they really go for it on spring break.

I understand James Franco stayed in character for the majority of the filming, and I read quotes that you didn’t feel that you ever really met him. Can you elaborate on that?

Rachel: I think we had a really great opportunity to be thrown into a scene with him. We didn’t have rehearsal time, we all knew the script but we didn’t know what he was going to bring to the character.

Our first scene with him, he came onto the set and his entire physical presence was just different. It seemed like even his facial structure changed, he cadence, even the dialect, all of our jaws dropped. You get to see us really react naturally. We were not repulsed, we were actually very charmed and taken in by him.

Brit (Ashley Benson) ©2013 A2

Ashley: Vanessa and I met him probably around midnight one time we were shooting, and he was in his trailer getting his transformation done. We peeked in and he said, ‘Hey, I’m James, nice to meet you.’ I didn’t even recognize him, it was crazy. He was great.

Vanessa: He’s amazing. He’s an actor’s dream, because he would come to set every day and had his A game on. He took us under his wings when it came to the scenes. He would go on these massive rants that were just mesmerizing. He completely transformed himself and was so committed every day.

He’s such a giving actor. When they turned the camera around he would be just as giving on our footage, because he wanted us to have good reactions.

Faith (Selena Gomez) ©2013 A2

Selena: He was actually very quiet though, he was in his own world. He was really sweet, especially when I did my scene with him, he was very giving. It made me feel uncomfortable when we were doing it, but after we were done he was super supportive and gave me a big hug and it was nice.

Ashley, your fan base is a little older than Selena’s and Vanessa’s and it’s not a Disney situation. Did you feel any pressure from Pretty Little Liars?

Ashley: My show has older fans, but for me I just wanted to do this movie because it was so different from who I am on the show and what I’ve done previously. I just thought of it as a great opportunity and a new experience, so I didn’t really think about what the fans would think.

Vanessa and Selena were asked if they were worried that their young fans might sneak into see this movie – click on the play button below to watch their reply.

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Judy Sloane

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