Reigning pop diva Britney Spears had a big year in 2001 -- singing at the Super Bowl, landing a Pepsi endorsement deal, releasing her third solo album, Britney, touring the U.S., and turning twenty. Mention any of this to Britney and you'll find her unfazed.
Taking to Madonna's school of reinvention, in 2002 Britney has already surprised and delighted fans with her American Music Awards performance of "Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman," in a simple evening gown, sans dancers and snakes. Fans now await the release of her first leading role in a movie, as Lucy in Crossroads, which opens on February 15th. During a Friday conference call with press, Britney talked about crossing over onto the big screen.When did you feel you completely connected with your character and became Lucy?
I had a week before the movie where I really just sat down and really thought through the character and who she was. I think probably two weeks into it I really had a good idea of who she was and what she was about. But I think just playing her every day and the more interaction with the other characters made me feel her character even more so.
How would you compare what goes through your head performing onstage to what happens when you're acting?
Two totally different feelings. When I'm onstage, I get that instant gratification of the audience being there and with it being live and everything. But when you're doing a movie it's more . . . laid back. And you can do a line over if you mess up. And you can do it so many more different ways. It's still you expressing yourself. I think one is just more intense than the other.
Were you afraid of a script that dealt with such heavy issues as teen pregnancy?
No, not at all. I think as much as we want to try to cover up things like that, that's real. And I think it's important . . . kids see that and they don't feel alone in that.
If you could remake a movie with Justin [Timberlake of 'N Sync, Spears' boyfriend] which one would it be?
I would love to remake Love Story. I like the way their chemistry between each other [worked].
What was the hardest scene for you to film in Crossroads?
Probably the scene when I [as Lucy] went to see my mom [played by Kim Cattrall]. It was really devastating to picture someone having to go through that, and when I had to do the crying scene all the cameras were on and I'm like, "OK, I gotta cry now." It was just very hard and it wasn't fun at all trying to . . . imagine a little girl going through that.
Did you ever talk to Kim Cattrall about guest starring on Sex and the City?
No, I didn't, but you know what? That's a really good idea 'cause I would really love to be on the show, and I think it's amazing.
Is it true your co-star Anson Mount ate garlic before your first kissing scene?
Yes, I didn't appreciate [laughs] it, but boys will be boys!
Can you tell us about your upcoming role in the next Austin Powers film?
I can't give anything away [laughs], but I will say it's very entertaining.
Do you prefer comedic or dramatic acting?
I would have to say its easier for me probably to do comedy like SNL because I grew up in the theater. When I was like twelve-and thirteen-years-old, I did Ruthless. And that's where I really feel at home.
Why isn't there a soundtrack for the film?
I'm only on the second single of my album. I'm concentrating on that instead. There were three songs [in the movie] and the timing of my album gave me a chance to put them on that. And other than that there weren't that many things to be incorporated to do a soundtrack.
Would you give up singing for a film career?
I would never, ever want to leave my singing career, but I have to say it was one of the most exciting things I've done in a while. I'd done two albums and two tours and I needed something different, where I could really challenge myself.