The movie Spring Breakers has been a hot topic in celebrity circles thanks to the art house cred of its director, Harmony Korine, and the over-the-top debauchery of ex-Disney darlings Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, who take off their mouse ears and quite a bit more.
Spring Breakers was filmed all over the Tampa Bay area last spring. St. Petersburg rapper Dangeruss was the model for the character Alien, played by James Franco in the film. The Hollywood buzz is a natural in that Spring Breakers is sexy and violent, an image that naturally shocked some community leaders in the Tampa Bay area.
Here's some of the gossip generated by Spring Breakers.
Her first time
Vanessa Hudgens filmed her first sex scene for this movie and she's not happy about it. The High School Musical star told Glow magazine that shooting her threesome scene with James Franco and Ashley Benson was too much for her to handle.
"It was very nerve-wracking for me. I told my agent that I never want to do it ever again," she said.
In October, the New York Post's gossip column Page Six reported that James Franco, 34, and co-star Ashley Benson, 22, were dating. The pair was spotted wandering around downtown New York, and in late October were seen hand-in-hand at the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. The rumor gained credibility in January when a video surfaced of the two Spring Breakers co-stars having fun mocking Justin Bieber, with Franco lip synching to the Biebs' Boyfriend song. The video was quickly removed from the Franco's WhoSay account but sharp-eyed fans saved it. Franco denied any romance in blog post on Huffington Post. He wrote, "(Selena) Gomez and Benson, those are Bieber's girls and I wouldn't dare tangle with the Biebs."
'These girls are naked'
Vulture, New York magazine's entertainment blog, caught up with Vanessa Hudgens in early February at a party in New York, and she revealed that the film was shot cinema verite-style, with real-life college kids providing an ultra-realistic background canvas to film against.
"We were filming this party scene, and there were these two girls — actual spring breakers — on the ground, topless, making out with each other. And then the bottoms started to come off, and I was like, OH MY GOD!" the 24-year-old told the website.
Hudgens said the display made her "freak out."
Britney, meet Noe
James Franco in a blog post in September wrote, "I'm on my way to Venice for the film festival; the film I made with Harmony Korine, Spring Breakers, is premiering there. I'm very excited for people to see it. I think the best way to describe it is the way Harmony always spoke about it before we made it: a Britney Spears video meets a Gaspar Noe film."
After firing up Google to pretend we get that reference, we find that Noe is a provocative French filmmaker known for making his audience uncomfortable, from bleak subject matter to seizure-inducing flashes and lighting that can cause vertigo. French cinematographer Benoit Debie, a veteran collaborator of Noe's, did the camera work for Spring Breakers.
Fellow Disney alum Britney Spears tweeted a link to a video of Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine singing a karaoke version of Hit Me Baby One More Time during their film panel at South by Southwest last week to prove they didn't lip synch their movie scene.
Britney tweeted, "Awww @selenagomez can duet with me anytime. PS- I heard @springbreakers is AAA-MAZING! Can't wait to see it!"
Oddest thing ever
Spring Breakers is "one of the oddest things (not just movies, 'things') that you will ever see with your own eyes," wrote Mike Ryan, senior entertainment writer for the Huffington Post. He then goes on to answer the question, does the movie work? "As a piece of performance art, yes — it's unbelievably fascinating. It's also unbelievable that this movie actually exists."
What about the kids?
The ladies of The View took issue with Ashley Benson promoting the druggy Spring Breakers movie on the cover of Seventeen magazine. Sherri Shepherd noted the magazine targets 12- to 19-year-olds, "So you've got a large population of Seventeen readers who haven't seen the movie. I get that people want to evolve … but when you want to evolve into an adult, you need to leave the kid stuff behind."
Local St. Petersburg rapper Dangeruss was the model for the character Alien in the movie and he sings the song Hanging Wit Da Dopeboys with James Franco on the movie soundtrack. Franco, in an essay for MTV about the muse for his character, said director Harmony Korine is "a master at finding the most interesting and odd local places and characters." Dangeruss, whose real name is Russ Curry, 26, turned to poetry as solace in his tough south St. Petersburg neighborhood. "His lyrics are the highly autobiographical chronicle of surviving on the streets of St. Pete," Franco wrote. The song includes the lines: "junkies at my door, they know the secret knock, it goes one time for the reefer, two times for the rock." The music video for the song shows Dangeruss in his element around St. Petersburg, compiled from footage shot by Franco.