| LOS ANGELES, April 8
LOS ANGELES, April 8 Miley Cyrus brings her
wildly popular Hannah Montana character to U.S. movie theaters
on Friday after a year of publicity that left fans and parents
wondering if the 16-year-old Disney sensation might be growing
up too fast.
First, there was the "Vanity Fair" cover shot last June in
which Cyrus was draped only in a bed sheet. Parents complained
that it was an inappropriate move for the schoolgirl star their
young daughters idolize.
Then there were personal pictures of her leaked on the
Internet showing a strip of her green bra. More recently, a
snapshot of her making "slant eyes" prompted an Asian group to
say it was "mocking and denigrating" to people of Asian
She has apologized, said pictures were taken out of context
and complained that the media were trying to turn her into
Hollywood's latest "bad girl."
"I almost feel like people think of me as dumb," said
Cyrus, who recently created her own personal "Rumor Patrol"
blog on MileyCyrus.com.
"I'm like, I'm smarter than you think. You know, I
understand what you're trying to do. It's all a mind game and
what not," she said.
Cyrus, the daughter of country music singer Billy Ray
Cyrus, spent her first 13 years in Tennessee.
In 2006 she landed a role on the Disney Channel's (DIS.N)
"Hannah Montana," a sitcom about a teenage girl named Miley
Stewart who has a secret identity as rock star Hannah Montana.
Since then, Cyrus has sold more than 7 million albums,
raked in $65 million at the box office with her concert film
"Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour
3-D," and started her own fashion line.
In "Hannah Montana: The Movie," Stewart's father -- played
by real-life dad Billy Ray -- takes her home to Tennessee for
some ego downsizing after she gets swept up in the Hollywood
Back home, Hannah falls victim to an exploding birthday
cake, sits on raw eggs and gets into a cat fight with
supermodel Tyra Banks over a pair of designer shoes.
"It was a bit scary," said Cyrus, "but it was fun."
Cyrus said that in general, it is difficult being a kid in
Disney's stable of child stars because it leads to a
squeaky-clean reputation that any teenage girl would find tough
to measure up to.
"I feel like some people will almost think of me as a joke
because of it," she said.
As a result, she is now trying to move into more nuanced
parts and put Hannah Montana behind her. Cyrus sees the new
movie as a first step.
"The big reason I did the 'Hannah Montana' movie is because
(film) is something I really want to do for the rest of my
life," she said.
Her next project is a movie based on a book that Nicolas
Sparks -- the author of "A Walk to Remember," "The Notebook,"
and "Nights in Rodanthe" -- is writing and adapting for her.
"It's more of an edgy role, which I'm excited to do," said
Cyrus. "It's really important to me that people think of me as
a real artist."
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Xavier Briand)