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AT THE MOVIES

Miley Cyrus adds notch to her multimedia belt

Her 3-D concert film opens Friday. Another movie and a new album are in the works.

January 31, 2008|Sarah Tomlinson | Special to The Times

IS matinee idol the next frontier for Miley Cyrus? The tween queen's new 3-D concert film, "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert," shot during her 69-city winter tour, screens nationally for one week beginning Friday, and tickets are selling fast.

And that's on top of already being a TV idol, thanks to her Disney Channel sitcom, "Hannah Montana," which is among the top-rated kids' shows of all time, and a pop music idol with two hit albums. The latest, "Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus," debuted at No. 1 in June and has sold 2.5 million copies.

The film is a high-energy romp that deftly re-creates the concert experience, with 3-D effects that make the show's confetti, pyrotechnics and dance-move pop.

Behind-the-scenes footage shows Cyrus rehearsing and teaching her real-life dad and "Hannah Montana" costar, Billy Ray Cyrus, a song on guitar.

Also captured are the screams that greet her wherever she goes.

According to the 15-year-old singer-actress, there's an abundance of unused footage, which will surely make for a special-edition DVD.

"It was kind of like a 3-D reality show," she said last week. "It was wild, having them follow you around with their cameras, and, you know, me and someone would get in an argument or something bad would happen, and they would run up and be like, 'Can I mike you?' And it's like, 'Aw, come on.' "

What the film doesn't show is the one sector where the Montana momentum is waning -- with Cyrus herself. "Sometimes it's hard," she says. "In the middle of the show, you're like, 'I don't know if I can do another song, because my body is just tired, and this song, I mean, come on, I've done it like a thousand times.' "

Phase two of her cinematic strategy is the inevitable Hannah Montana feature movie, which will begin production in late spring or early summer.

She hasn't read the script, but she knows that the story draws on her experience of being homesick while maintaining the busy schedule of a successful entertainer.

She hopes to treat that homesickness by filming at least part of the movie in Nashville, not far from where she grew up before relocating to Los Angeles for her career.

FOR Miley Cyrus, going home means the chance to indulge at one of the restaurants she misses most.

"Cracker Barrel. It's my favorite. I'm like scared to go back to Nashville, though, I'm going to come back and no one's going to know who I am, I'm going to have eaten so much of that stuff."

When it comes to her other favorites, Cyrus can't easily choose between music and acting. She is eager to return to the recording studio, and she has already begun writing material for her new album.

"Me and my sister wrote some songs," she says, referring to 20-year-old Brandi.

"We wrote some really, like kind of listen-to-it-and-cry songs, and then, at the end, smile songs, and some jump-on-your-bed-and-scream songs."

While Miley Cyrus seems unstoppable now, it's hard not to wonder what her future will hold, given the messy public meltdowns suffered by former teen stars Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears.

Cyrus' two recent controversies have been relatively mild. Fans grumbled about the revelation that she used a body double to keep the show rolling while she changed costumes during the tour, which wraps up tonight in Miami.

A hubbub also arose when somewhat racy photos surfaced, which showed Miley Cyrus and a female friend at a sleepover. Cyrus has said the photos were misinterpreted and is nonplused about the body-double controversy.

"There was no reason to be freaked out at all. [Tour producer] Kenny Ortega is a genius, and he wouldn't put something in the show that wasn't brilliant."

And when it comes to maintaining longevity, she may have just the right role model -- another singer who acts and who has been Cyrus' favorite guest on her TV show.

"Dolly Parton. . . . She's an amazing businesswoman, and actress, and musician, and singer. . . . She's an amazing person."

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