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Vanessa Hudgens âtriplesâ the fun in The Princess Switch sequel
The soon-to-be-queen Margaret is just one of three characters Vanessa Hudgens plays in the holiday rom-com The Princess Switch: Switched Again, the sequel to the original 2018 film.

Vanessa Hudgens ‘triples’ the fun in The Princess Switch sequel

Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - November 24, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Vanessa Hudgens plays not one, not two but three characters in The Princess Switch: Switched Again, and her filming experience was as crazy as you would think.

“I’m always down for a challenge so I was like, let’s do this and see what happens,” the actress told a group of Filipino press in a recent virtual interview.

Switched Again is the sequel to the 2018 Netflix original film where she portrayed a baker from Chicago named Stacy who met her exact look-alike, Lady Margaret, Duchess of Montenaro and fiancée of Crown Prince Edward of Belgravia, during a baking contest abroad. They decided to swap places, and their fates were inevitably changed.

Margaret’s road to queendom gets crazy and exciting, thanks not only to baker-turned-Princess Stacy (left, played by Vanessa), but also to the presence of another deadringer

In the sequel, Stacy is now a princess and married to the Crown Prince while Lady Margaret is about to be crowned queen. And another look-alike enters the picture — Lady Margaret’s party girl cousin Fiona — and things couldn’t get any crazier.

Said Vanessa, “It was a lot of fun though because I really got to be hands-on with the new character Fiona and just develop her from the ground up. They gave me complete freedom to give her whatever accent I wanted and really help build how she looks and she’s just very over-the-top and extremely dramatic. And that is a bit of me as well. So, it was really nice to be able to bring that into the picture. But man! After a 13-hour day of being on set and doing switches and acting with different versions of myself, my brain was just very frazzled.”

When asked which character is she closest to in real life, she said there are pieces of herself in all of them that she totally relates to.

“I think Stacy is your girl next door. And that’s really how I think of myself, like my schedules are a bit hectic at times, and people may recognize me but I’m really just a normal girl and I get to do what I love. And she’s really grounded and I work really hard at keeping myself grounded.”

The party girl/drama queen Fiona (also Vanessa).

“Margaret has been in the spotlight and she’s taking on the crown. And I relate to being in the spotlight myself since I’ve been in it for quite a while now,” she said, adding that she studied royal families to develop the part. “Being someone born into royalty, I feel like you carry yourself in a certain way and (so I) wanted to make sure that her physicality was different (from the other characters).”

She continued, “And Fiona, you know, is basically like me when I’m feeling really over the top, and dramatic. I just really relied on my director Mike (Rohl) to reel me in if I was doing too much. But he never did. So that’s what we got.”

Vanessa is not just the star of the film but also its producer (she also executive-produced the Netflix holiday film of the previous year, The Knight Before Christmas).

“I think that, as an actor on a project, you always have a point of view and suggestions for the project but you don’t want to overstep any boundaries. And actually being a producer meant that I wasn’t overstepping any boundaries and I got to be really involved with the script and with the development of all the characters, and have a say in wardrobe and the hair and makeup, and just make sure that this is the best that it could be to bring you guys.”

Vanessa with co-stars Sam Palladio (left photo) who reprises his role as Stacy’s now-husband Prince Edward
Photos courtesy of Netflix

The 31-year-old is starring next in Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut, Tick, Tick...Boom!, the screen adaptation of the Tony award-winning musical of the same title, to be distributed by Netflix.

Vanessa said it wasn’t easy getting into this level where she’s now taking on bigger roles and opportunities in Hollywood.

“I mean like, I love that I make it look easy but you know I’ve been in the industry since I was nine years old, professionally. I’ve been at this for over two decades, which just feels really weird to say, I’m considering the fact that I still feel so young.

“But it’s a hustle and it’s about being vigilant. And when you believe in something, you like not taking no for an answer and continuing to fight for what you believe in and what you know you can do, and if you’re not given the opportunity, you make the opportunity for yourself and just continue the hustle. It’s all about the hustle.”

Meanwhile, with The Princess Switch: Switched Again being a holiday film, how is she getting into the Christmas spirit?

Nick Sagar, who is back as Kevin, love interest of Margaret.
Photos courtesy of Netflix

“I’m actually still stuck in Halloween (laughs)… and I decorated so intensely for Halloween. And I don’t really know what to do with everything... But I do love seeing the holiday spirit and everyone’s ways of decorating and I think that like, it’s 2020, all rules go out the window! So, I had a friend who started decorating before Halloween, which actually kind of upset me, but to each their own. I am planning on being with my mom and my sister. Where exactly yet, I’m not sure because I’m going to be working. But as long as I’m with my family, I’m happy.”

Vanessa, whose mom is Filipina, was asked if she ever spent the holidays in the Philippines.

“I have not spent the holidays in the Philippines. I hate to say, I’ve never even been to the Philippines. My mom left when she was 25, and just went back for the first time a few years ago and I was in Italy when she went, otherwise I would have gone with her. But it is at the top of my list, as far as places I want to go to when we can all travel.”

The Princess Switch: Switched Again is now available on Netflix. As of writing, it’s the No. 1 content being watched by Filipinos on the streaming platform.

VANESSA HUDGENS
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