You know Ashley Tisdale from the High School Musical series. She’ll be back on TV in the new cheerleading series Hellcats. Already this is a tougher game than musical theater.
Ashley Tisdale One of the Hellcats
“Cheerleading is different form dance,” Tisdale said. “It’s stiffer. My sister was a cheerleader all through high school and college so she helped me out when I was auditioning, ‘put your arms this way.’ Everyone is open to what we feel comfortable doing and as an actor and a person I’ve always loved to challenge myself and when I saw one of the stunts for the second episode I said, ‘That looks kinda fun, I want to do it.’ They obviously take every precaution and we have coaches on set at all times so I’m actually flying. We have stunt doubles for the flips and stuff but we want to go out there and actually do it ourselves. Being up high is really scary. I think you have to be a little bit crazy to be a cheerleader. And I think I have a little crazy in me.”
The Hellcats will train for new routines each week and we’ll get to see their performances. Like Glee with cheerleaders, or so we thought. “No, I think it’s completely different. Lea Michele is a really sweet girl and she came up to me and was like, ‘Thank you so much, your show kind of paved the way for all of us.’ I love watching it. I think Ryan came up with really great characters and a really entertaining show. It’s funny and has all the makings of a great TV show. I’m really excited about the Britney Spears episode.”
The music will be a part of Hellcats though not with recording artist Tisdale singing. “I love music and I love doing my music but I was really looking for my next project that my passion was in. This is the first drama that anybody has seen me in. Everyone always sees me doing comedy, sitcoms, and it felt like this was the best choice. I love doing movies and I just started doing movies with High School Musical and Aliens in the Attic, but I like the schedule of being on a TV show. I’m a workaholic and I don’t like to sit around so I said, ‘Let me do movies during hiatus, I want to do a TV show.’ I read a lot of scripts this season and this was the only script I actually auditioned for. It just so happens that it has performance elements to it and it has such great music. Maybe it’s fate that I’m supposed to be surrounded by music. The performance makes it really positive which is something that draws people to the show.”
At first it might seem like Tisdale is playing another version of Sharpay, a squad star who’s not too happy about new talent coming through. Very early on you’ll get to see what a different character Savannah is. “In the second episode you kind of get into her family drama. She’s religious, she’s very Christian. You find out that her sister is the captain of the cheerleaders at Memphis Christian, the rival squad and that kind of brings the family into it. Even though Savannah is this sweet, Christian, naïve girl and she’s not as rebellious as Marti is, she’s rebellious to her family because they didn’t support her transferring to Lancer from Memphis Christian. Also she starts a relationship with one of the characters so we get into the boyfriend-girlfriend thing. It’s very new to her. She’s used to relationships that are put together by the church. There’s a reason why Savannah is the way she is and part of that does come from her religion but she’s now kind of stepping forward and wanting to grow and experience life in a different way from how she has been.”