Hilary Duff

Interviews

Raise Your Voice

From Rebecca Murray

On Relationships, Singing, and Making Movies
What’s it like to be the unpopular new kid in town? Hilary Duff admits she doesn’t have much experience in that regard. But in the teen drama “Raise Your Voice,” her character goes through that and more in her quest to follow her dream of being a singer.
The idea for "Raise Your Voice" came from New Line music executive Mitch Rotter. "We had wanted to do a truly music-driven film, something just short of a 'sing at the drop of a hat' musical, where the music was as much a part of the narrative as any of the other elements,” says Rotter.

Hilary Duff was approached for the starring role in "Raise Your Voice" before cutting her first album, and after finishing her "Lizzie McGuire" movie. Producer Sara Risher feels the camera really loves Hilary and says, "She has such a dynamic screen presence and it was just very serendipitous that it all came together and we were able to cast her in this film." Once Hilary was onboard, the film, which had been stalled in the pre-production phase, began picking up speed. Co-stars, including Oliver James, John Corbett, and Rita Wilson, were cast and filming began in January 2004. While filming, Duff had the difficult task of balancing her acting career with her singing career, but managed to handle both despite her seemingly non-stop schedule.

INTERVIEW WITH HILARY DUFF ('Terri'):

Is it normal for you to have so many projects going on in one year?
You know what? It seems kind of normal now. I think that there’s really no way to prepare yourself, to say, “Oh, I’ve got all this going on.” You just do it. It’s like I want to be able to do all of these things, and I have to be really prepared to do it. It doesn’t really bother me, every day thinking that I’m going to have to switch modes to singing or acting or traveling, or this, that and the other. You just kind of do it. It’s just kind of natural.

Is it the nervous, raw energy that keeps you going?
I think so. The energy is addicting almost. Even though it’s really hard work, I don’t think you could do it unless you loved it. I love it, but it definitely keeps me going. A new place every night – doing this, doing that – it’s crazy.

In “Raise Your Voice,” you’re playing the outsider. In real life, you’ve been a star a while. How do you get those feelings of not belonging to come out for an acting job?
It was hard. People have been asking me today like what the most challenging part of the movie was, and it wasn’t the crying scenes. I think that’s much easier than trying to make people laugh. Crying on command is not that difficult. But the parts that were harder for me were after the tragedy happens to Terri in her life, it’s kind of like just like a closed-off, numb feeling. She doesn’t feel any emotion – no happiness, no sad. She’s kind of like nothing. That was the hardest thing for me. And then going to the school and feeling like the outsider, I kind of learned how to do that a lot with Lizzie McGuire because she was the dork that didn’t really fit in. And everybody kind of made Terri feel very unwelcome at the school at first.

Do the singing scenes reflect your real process as far as what you go through to get to a certain point with your voice?
I think so. It’s a little more difficult in this movie because I was singing arias and stuff I never have to sing for the type of music that I sing. But there’s definitely times that I get that frustrated when I can’t sing something that I want to or I can’t hit a certain note that day. There’s definitely a process where I’m writing and I’m like, “This is stupid. Why did I write this? Let’s start from the beginning.” And I’ll end up throwing something away that I really did like, just because it didn’t sound that great that day. There’s definitely some challenging parts.

Are you active in lessoning to tapes or are your producers so good they find your material on their own?
On the second album I worked with a lot of people that I worked with on the Metamorphosis album. And when I worked on Metamorphosis I was so nervous and shy about going into the studio and working with people, they eventually toward the end made me feel so comfortable and so secure with myself. I loved working with them. I have a great relationship with them. I talk to them [all the time]. When we started talking about the second album, I was like, “I want to work with all the same people.” They knew what was going on in my life, what I was going through. I would call them and say, “I feel like this right now. I want a song about this…” I never really felt like I had enough time to write my whole album and I don’t know if I’m secure enough with myself to do that. But I wrote three songs on the album, one I wrote with my sister. It’s so personal and these people really got what I was going through and how I feel inside. I think that’s what makes it good and that’s what makes me relate to them.

Is your relationship with your mother similar to the relationship your character has with her mom in this movie?
My relationship with my mom is so amazing. We never got to have that stage that people go through, like when you’re 13 and you think you’re too cool for your parents. When you’re embarrassed by them and stuff. We never went through that because I was constantly working and she constantly had to be there. We just because best friends. I tell her everything. She’s really my role model and my inspiration. She’s such a good person and such a strong person. A lot of people give her flack for being strong and being smart, but I think I envy that in her.
Did you have curfews growing up?
I still have curfews and sometimes I get grounded, which I is kind of weird to me.

For what reason?
Like if [my mom's] asked me to do something more than once or twice. I always get in trouble for not pulling my car into the garage, because if I don’t pull my car in, her car won’t fit. So I get in trouble for that, but it only lasts for a day. Usually it’s an excuse so I’ll stay home and hang out with her (laughing).
What time do you have to be in?
It all depends. It depends on where I am, it depends on what I’m doing. It depends on if I have to work the next day. She gives me a lot of freedom and I think that it must scare her, you know? Having me leave the house by myself, with my car. I don’t take security around with me just because it’s like I don’t want that. I want to be able to be free. She has to have a lot of faith in me and trust in me to be able to do that, even though it must scare her. But she does. She gives me so much freedom. I can be home at 1 or 2 sometimes. And if I’m working the next day, I’ll be really good and come home at 10.

What did you learn from working with Rita Wilson?
So much. She’s amazing. Most of my scenes with her were more dramatic and literally she would take a breath and it would all come and show on her face. I would look at her and it would just make me start crying because she’s so talented and so beautiful, and such an inspiring person. [She’s] just really honest and really real, and I love that.

You have good onscreen chemistry with Jason Ritter. What’s your relationship with him?
I loved working with Jason. He’s really good at making everybody laugh. He’s really fun, really lighthearted on set. We really did have a good time together. We didn’t get to work together that much, but I think it came across good onscreen. Kind of like the sneaky brother and sister relationship. I think the scene in the car, even though it was really sad because he doesn’t end up sticking around for long, was really fun. Singing together – I totally do stuff like that with my sister in the car.

How important is it to kids to pick up musical instruments now?
I think so much of that has gone away. So many schools are getting rid of music programs and it’s really sad because I know that when I started singing and stuff it was something that I always wanted to do and I never believed in myself to be able to do it. I think it’s so important. It opens someone up and you’re able to learn about yourself. You feel worth something when you can learn how to do something that’s so… I know that when I got into music, I started feeling very motivated because I wanted to achieve this challenging thing. I think it’s really important if it’s the piano or the guitar or the bass or drums or singing or anything, it’s so important to have music in your life.

Do boys approach you like Oliver James does in this movie, or is it more complicated because you’re famous?
I hate that word – the ‘f’ word – but I guess it’s more complicated because of that. It’s really sad. I don’t have a boyfriend and I’m not dating anybody. I read that I’m dating new people all the time but I’m definitely not.

Like the singer from Good Charlotte.
Actually we’re good friends. I like his band and everything. It really sucks that people say I’m dating this person, I’m dating this person… and make accusations that aren’t true with my personal life. Then of course everybody has their opinion on what’s right and wrong. It’s hard some times, you know? I’m not dating him and I don’t have a boyfriend. I’d like to date someone normal but how am I supposed to date someone normal when I don’t go to regular school, I’m never in town, and I’m always traveling? Nobody normal will ever come up and talk to me.

Why is the ‘feud’ between you and Lindsay Lohan still big news to people?
I have a feeling that if I was a normal girl that went to a normal high school, the high school would probably talk about it for two days and then it would be over. But just because people know who I am and people know who she is, everybody loves to talk about it. I don’t know her. I don’t care. If you read all the interviews, I haven’t said anything about it. I try and keep my mouth shut. That’s all I can say.

 

Hilary Raises Her Voice

by Paul Fischer
Hilary Duff is the hardest working teen actress in Hollywood these days, it seems, having gone from Cinderella Story to the musical drama Hear my Voice. Following the death of her brother in a car accident, a teenage girl (Duff) from a small town spends the summer in Los Angeles studying at a performing arts school which exposes her to a whole new world and way of life outside the sheltered existence and social circles she's always known. The acteress says it was tough to identify with this character, more than anyone she's ever played, reports Paul Fischer.

PF: Is this a lot for you to have so many projects going on in one year, or is kind of standard?

HD: You know what? It seems kind of normal now. I think that there's really no way to prepare yourself, to say, "Oh, I've got all this going on." You just do it. It's like I want to be able to do all of these things, and I have to be really prepared to do it. It doesn't really bother me, every day thinking that I'm going to have to switch modes to singing or acting or traveling, or this, that and the other. You just kind of do it. It's just kind of natural.

PF: Is it just the nervous, raw energy that keeps you going?
HD: I think so. The energy is addicting almost. Even though it's really hard work, I don't think you could do it unless you loved it. I love it, but it definitely keeps me going. A new place every night – doing this, doing that – it's crazy.

PF: Do you like making movies?

HD: Yeah, I really like this one. It was really short. We filmed it very quickly and I loved everybody that I worked with on it. It made it really easy. But sometimes the movie process is very slow and I don't really like that, you know?

PF: In "Raise Your Voice," you're kind of playing the outsider. In real life, you've been a star a while. How do you get those feelings to come out for an acting job.

HD: It was hard. People have been asking me today like what the most challenging part of the movie was, and it wasn't the crying scenes. I think that's much easier than trying to make people laugh. Crying on command is not that difficult. But the parts that were harder for me were after the tragedy happens to Terri in her life, it's kind of like just like a closed-off, numb feeling. She doesn't feel any emotion – no happiness, no sad. She's kind of like nothing. That was the hardest thing for me. And then going to the school and feeling like the outsider, I kind of learned how to do that a lot with Lizzie McGuire because she was the dork that didn't really fit in. And everybody kind of made Terri feel very unwelcome at the school at first.

PF: Do the singing scenes reflect your real process as far as what you go through to get to a certain point with your voice?

HD: That's a cool question. I think so. It's a little more difficult in this movie because I was singing arias and stuff I never have to sing for the type of music that I sing. But there's definitely times that I get that frustrated when I can't sing something that I want to or I can't hit a certain note that day. There's definitely a process where I'm writing and I'm like, "This is stupid. Why did I write this? Let's start from the beginning." And I'll end up throwing something away that I really did like, just because it didn't sound that great that day. There's definitely some challenging parts.

PF: Are you active in lessoning to tapes or are your producers so good they find your material on their own?

HD: On the second album I worked with a lot of people that I worked with on the Metamorphosis album. And when I worked on Metamorphosis I was so nervous and shy about going into the studio and working with people, they eventually toward the end made me feel so comfortable and so secure with myself. I loved working with them. I have a great relationship with them. I talk to them [all the time]. When we started talking about the second album, I was like, "I want to work with all the same people." They knew what was going on in my life, what I was going through. I would call them and say, "I feel like this right now. I want a song about this..." I never really felt like I had enough time to write my whole album and I don't know if I'm secure enough with myself to do that. But I wrote three songs on the album, one I wrote with my sister. It's so personal and these people really got what I was going through and how I feel inside. I think that's what makes it good and that's what makes me relate to them.

PF: Is the relationship with your mother similar to the relationship your character has with her mom in the movie?

HD: My relationship with my mom is so amazing. We never got to have that stage that people go through, like when you're 13 and you think you're too cool for your parents. When you're embarrassed by them and stuff. We never went through that because I was constantly working and she constantly had to be there. We just because best friends. I tell her everything. She's really my role model and my inspiration. She's such a good person and such a strong person. A lot of people give her flack for being strong and being smart, but I think I envy that in her.

PF: Did you have curfews growing up?

HD:I still have curfews and sometimes I get grounded, which I is kind of weird to me.

PF: For what reason?

HD:Like if she's asked me to do something more than once or twice. I always get in trouble for not pulling my car into the garage, because if I don't pull my car in, her car won't fit. So I get in trouble for that, but it only lasts for a day. Usually it's an excuse so I'll stay home and hang out with her (laughing).

PF: You still get grounded?

HD: She'll be, "You're grounded," and most of the time she's kidding. But sometimes if I do something bad, you know, like if I talk back to her or are disrespectful, I get grounded.

PF: What time do you have to be in by?

HD:It all depends. It depends on where I am, it depends on what I'm doing. It depends on if I have to work the next day. She gives me a lot of freedom and I think that it must scare her, you know? Having me leave the house by myself, with my car. I don't take security around with me just because it's like I don't want that. I want to be able to be free. She has to have a lot of faith in me and trust in me to be able to do that, even though it must scare her. But she does. She gives me so much freedom. I can be home at 1 or 2 sometimes. And if I'm working the next day, I'll be really good and come home at 10.

PF: What did you learn from Rita Wilson?

HD:So much. She's amazing. Most of my scenes with her were more dramatic and literally she would take a breath and it would all come and show on her face. I would look at her and it would just make me start crying because she's so talented and so beautiful, and such an inspiring person. [She's] just really honest and really real, and I love that.

PF: You have good rapport with Jason Ritter onscreen. What's your relationship with him?

HD:I loved working with Jason. He's really good at making everybody laugh. He's really fun, really lighthearted on set. We really did have a good time together. We didn't get to work together that much, but I think it came across good onscreen. Kind of like the sneaky brother and sister relationship. I think the scene in the car, even though it was really sad because he doesn't end up sticking around for long, was really fun. Singing together – I totally do stuff like that with my sister in the car.

PF: Are you a fan of Three Days Grace?

HD:I'm such a big fan actually. We started filming the movie before the band was chosen. I love Three Days Grace. I have their CD and everything, before they even [signed] on.

PF: How important is it to kids to pick up musical instruments now?

HD:I think so much of that has gone away. So many schools are getting rid of music programs and it's really sad because I know that when I started singing and stuff it was something that I always wanted to do and I never believed in myself to be able to do it. I think it's so important. It opens someone up and you're able to learn about yourself. You feel worth something when you can learn how to do something that's so... I know that when I got into music, I started feeling very motivated because I wanted to achieve this challenging thing. I think it's really important if it's the piano or the guitar or the bass or drums or singing or anything, it's so important to have music in your life.

PF: Do boys approach you like Oliver does in the movie, or is it more complicated because you're famous?

HD: I hate that word -- the 'f' word -- but I guess its more complicated because of that. It's really sad. I don't have a boyfriend and I'm not dating anybody. I read that I'm dating new people all the time but I'm definitely not.

PF: Like the singer from Good Charlotte.

HD: Actually we're good friends. I like his band and everything. It really sucks that people say I'm dating this person, I'm dating this person... and make accusations that aren't true with my personal life. Then of course everybody has their opinion on what's right and wrong. It's hard some times, you know? I'm not dating him and I don't have a boyfriend. I'd like to date someone normal but how am I supposed to date someone normal when I don't go to regular school, I'm never in town, and I'm always traveling? Nobody normal will ever come up and talk to me.

PF: Why is the 'feud' between you and Lindsay Lohan still big news to people?

HD: I have a feeling that if I was a normal girl that went to a normal high school, the high school would probably talk about it for two days and then it would be over. But just because people know who I am and people know who she is, everybody loves to talk about it. I don't know her. I don't care. If you read all the interviews, I haven't said anything about it. I try and keep my mouth shut. That's all I can say.


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