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Ashley Tisdale and Aly Michalka Cheer on 'Hellcats' - TCA Report

by Laura Prudom, posted Jul 30th 2010 12:40AM
HellcatsNot content with just being the small screen's Superman, Tom Welling was on hand at the CW's TCA panel to promote 'Hellcats,' the new cheerleading show he's producing with Kevin Murphy.

Stars Ashley Tisdale and Aly Michalka were also in attendance on the panel, which was peppy as a pep squad with reporters talking all over each other to put their questions to the cast.

Some of the highlights are included below.

-- On the comparisons with 'Glee,' Murphy said "I'd never have the temerity to compete with 'Glee' in terms of razzle-dazzle. While the dancing is a huge component of the show, it exists with one foot in the world of the characters -- no-one will tune in for the awesome three minutes of dancing we'll provide without that."

More after the jump!

-- Producer Welling said that he is able to pull double-duty on 'Hellcats' and 'Smallville' since both shows shoot in Vancouver, only about 10 minutes from each other. "Everyone understands what's going on, it's just about facilitating what each show needs from me," he explained.

-- The choice to make Michalka's Marti a pre-law student will be utilized throughout the series. "It'll be interesting, watching her trying to balance cheerleading, which is so frivolous, with something as dignified as a law degree," Murphy reflected. "Having the law element allows us to have a bit of a franchise -- we'll see Marti involved with a legal case to do with the Three Strikes Laws in Memphis."

-- 'Queer as Folk' and 'Desperate Housewives' alum Gale Harold will guest star as one of Marti's professors.

-- On why he cast Tisdale and Michalka, Murphy said, "With Ashley, I laughed my ass off and wanted to get up and hug her at the same time; she can hold multiple colors in the same palatte." Casting Marti was "a long and arduous process" but Murphy said that after they saw Michalka, there was no-one else. "She had determination and grit and assertiveness and vulnerability."

-- Though both Tisdale and Michalka have a musical background, Michalka said "it was a cool coincidence, but it was mostly something where we happened to be right for these roles and happened to fight for them really hard." She cited the need to dispel any preconceived notions that people had about cheerleaders, insisting "cheerleaders are badass, they're athletes."

-- Tisdale said her character was wholly different from her infamous 'High School Musical' character, Sharpay. "Savannah is a lot less selfish than Sharpay," she said. "She's the team captain, she's a team player. She's been in her own little bubble that Marti pulls her out of; she's naive, she's Christian, the pair of them grow together."

-- Michalka agreed: "There's this connection that the two characters have -- what pulls them together is their passion for what they love; in Marti's case it's law, in Savannah's it's the nationals and her team."

-- Michalka admitted that she had no formal cheerleading experience. Her mother was a cheerleader, but Michalka was trained in hip-hop and was part of dance companies as a teen.

-- Since Tisdale and Michalka have musical backgrounds, they were both open to the idea of singing on the show, but said that they planned to keep their music careers separate. Michalka will sing in a "relaxed setting" coming up in a future episode.

-- Murphy said that they won't be married to always chasing a national title in terms of storylines; they want to do part of the season at cheer camp and see what happens to cheerleaders in their downtime between competitive seasons.

-- Tisdale and Michalka are apparently obsessive about doing their own stunts, like flying and helicopters. They will have "eclectic dance numbers" populated by all-star cheerleaders, tumblers and street dancers.

-- Welling said he was attracted to the project because of the "heart" of the script. It was based on a book called 'Cheer' and they felt it was a world that hadn't yet been tapped into on TV.

Follow Laura on Twitter @LauinLA for all your TV and movie needs.

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Gale Harold is what will get me watching.

August 03 2010 at 11:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

ashley so cute............

July 30 2010 at 10:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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