"I can relate to the part of her that wants something so bad that she can just taste it," Duff says of her Raise Your Voice character, Terri. "Ever since I was little I just wanted to work so bad."
Hilary Duff knows what it means to make it. About to turn 17, the onetime star of Disney's Lizzie McGuire series has already scored a No. 1 album (2003's Metamorphosis), a world tour and big-screen billing (in this summer's A Cinderella Story). Now the actress is again going after dreams, this time in Raise Your Voice, the story of a small-town girl who heads to Los Angeles to pursue a singing career. Duff recently talked about being a teen queen and dealing with her fans – and rivals.
How was this role different from others you've done?
I think just the fact that it's more dramatic. I liked getting to show a different
side of me that maybe people haven't seen so far.
How was it kissing costar Oliver James – the heartthrob from What a Girl Wants?
It was a little awkward: I can only be on set for 10 and a half hours a day or else the union gets called and we get shut down or something, and we literally had seven minutes to shoot the scene. So everyone was running around with their heads cut off, and I was just a little bit nervous.
Was it tough doing the emotional scenes?
It's really hard to do a scene when everyone is trying to make sure that the light is good, and doing this or that. There were so many crying scenes in the movie that I tried to make some of them different instead of just bawling.
Speaking of making scenes ... What's up with you and rival Lindsay Lohan?
I mean, how long has this been going on for now, a year? It's just a joke now. It gets really hard sometimes for me to even try to be nice about it or try to keep my mouth shut about it because it's like, "What is she doing? I don't even know you. Leave me alone." She's left really nasty messages on my machine. I don't know how she got my number and it's annoying. It's negative energy that doesn't need to be around.
You seem pretty secure in your role as a teen star. Any interest in moving on to more mature roles?
This young fan base are the people that are going to grow up with you. After a
while, though, the people aren't going to like you as much, the next thing will
come along. I feel fine with what I'm doing right now and I don't think I have
to change. But it depends, maybe I'll feel differently in a half-year or a year.
Have you felt any pressure to appeal to an older audience?
I feel the pressure, of course. Sometimes people will want me to wear something
that I don't want to wear. I just don't really put up with it. If I don't feel comfortable, I won't do it.