Fresh from the success of her Netflix Original film The Knight Before Christmas, Vanessa Hudgens now sees action as weapons specialist Kelly, in Columbia Pictures’ new action-adventure Bad Boys for Life.
“Bad boys, bad boys, whatchu gonna do, whatchu gonna do when I come for you?”
As a little kid, that used to be the anthem I’d sing over and over with my dad. It was one of the few things we shared in common. Movies like that made me–what people would describe me as–tomboyish because I loved watching action films so much. I would pretend to be a spy with super cool weapons and defeating the bad guy. I wanted to be a bad boy too.
Then growing up, I discovered chick flicks, romcoms, and musicals. My favorite was High School Musical and I would watch it religiously until I was in high school. I identified most with Gabriella Montez, from her looks to her charms, to the way she hopelessly fell in love with Zac E–I mean, Troy Bolton.
So what happens when old school meets new school? Vanessa Hudgens in the most iconic action movie, Bad Boys For Life.
25 years after Bad Boys and 17 years after Bad Boys II, Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett are back for one last ride in Bad Boys for Life. In the continuation of the Bad Boys franchise, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return in two of their signature roles, Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett; everybody’s favorite crime-fighting duo. Back on their beat, Mike and Marcus are as fun, dangerous, and unpredictable as ever.
While Smith and Lawrence are still the bad boy cops you know and love, the new film picks up the dynamic duo after many years have passed, so the guys have certainly evolved – well, at least Marcus has.
Aside from their personal struggles, Mike and Marcus must contend with the elite new police unit Advance Miami Metro Operations (AMMO), which has introduced high-tech investigative tactics to the Miami P.D.
The old school versus new school interplay is highlighted in the guys’ dealings with this state of the art, elite squad. “The contrasting approaches to police work are hilarious because we all think of Mike and Marcus as these young, go get ‘em fighters,” elaborates Vanessa Hudgens, who plays AMMO weapons specialist Kelly. “They still have that taste for getting the job done, and the AMMO team is fresh, young, and focused, and they do things by the book – which they’re writing.”
Hudgens’ Kelly is an aggressive young cop who’s also a big fan of Mike Lowrey. “She’s the weapons expert who’s tough, fearless–and crazy in awe of Mike,” states Vanessa. That feeling extended to her view of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. “Seeing Will and Martin back together again is iconic,” she shares. “Their chemistry is just unreal.”
In this exclusive with MEGA, Vanessa shares a little bit more about her character in Bad Boys For Life and reminiscing about the good old days as Gabriella Montez in High School Musical.
What do you like about your character? Is there anything about her that you can relate to?
She is a strong, powerful woman–something I feel I can definitely relate to.
What is it about the new Bad Boys movie that made you want to be part of it?
I’ve always loved the franchise and couldn’t have been more excited about this role.
Can you talk about filming? How was it working with the rest of the cast?
We had an absolute blast! Working with Will and Martin was, of course, a dream and the other members of the squad were amazing! It was never a dull moment on set.
There was a part in the movie that Will Smith’s character references High School Musical. Do you still like being associated with and remembered for that franchise, after so many roles you’ve accomplished playing over the years?
I hear a High School Musical reference multiple times a week. However, I find joy in it–it allows me to reminisce a bit and connect to my younger self. That project opened up so many doors for me and I’ll always be grateful for that.
This is more of a statement than a question, but I’ve always wanted to be just like you growing up! I saw myself in you, being part-Filipina who loved singing, dancing, and the spotlight. And yet, even with your ‘don’t f*** with me attitude,’ you still remain humble and grounded. How do you do that?
I think a lot of that comes from the way I was raised and the people I surround myself with.
Do you have a dream role you have yet to accomplish? What can we expect from you this coming year? Any future projects you’re excited about?
I am going to be shooting my next project, TICK TICK BOOM over the next few months. I am so ecstatic to be working alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda and my fellow cast members. My next Netflix film, The Princess Switch: Switched Again will also be released later this year!
In Philippine cinemas January 22, Bad Boys for Life will be distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.