Kelly Clarkson would like to clear up a few misconceptions surrounding her upcoming movie, “From Justin to Kelly.”
First, “It’s not an ‘American Idol’ film,” the singer explained recently on the set of the movie in Miami. “It has nothing to do with ‘American Idol.’ The only thing that does is that [our] names are in the title, and our characters in the movie are named that, but my character is nothing like me. … And it’s not about us trying to make it in the business or anything.”
Second, she and co-star Justin Guarini are not dating. “We’re like brother and sister,” Clarkson promised.
Then it’s a good thing the inaugural “American Idol” winner and runner-up have acting experience, since they play love interests in “From Justin to Kelly,” and kissing your sibling is hard to make look natural. (Click to see photos on the set. )
“We only actually kissed once in the movie,” Clarkson said, shrugging off the challenge. “And we’ve done stage kisses and romance scenes and everything before, so it wasn’t anything big.”
And if Guarini’s plot synopsis of the movie if any indication, “From Justin to Kelly” isn’t quite the typical sappy love story. Sure, it starts good and dandy with the two experiencing a sort of love at first sight, but they soon see spring break is not the easiest place to fall in love.
“The rest of the story is about how we sort of get together, or try and get together, but there’s this massive miscommunication and this evil friend gets in the way,” Guarini revealed.
Oh, and there’s one other thing that separates the movie from, say, “She’s All That” or “Boys and Girls” (“From Justin to Kelly” director Robert Iscove’s previous movies). It’s a musical.
Guarini and Clarkson sing seven new songs in the movie, plus a remake of KC and the Sunshine Band’s disco classic “That’s the Way (I Like It).”
Clarkson calls “From Justin to Kelly” ” ‘Grease’ on the beach,” but the movie is influenced just as much by recent musical movies “Moulin Rouge” and “Chicago” as by the classics. “It’s not so, like, musical, like jazzy,” she said. “It’s very hip-hop.”
After Clarkson was crowned the “American Idol” last summer, the show’s creator and her and Guarini’s manager, Simon Fuller, approached the two about doing a movie. They hesitated at first, but signed on when they learned it would be a musical.
Since then, the only obstacle has been finding the time to make “From Justin to Kelly.” Both singers spent the fall on the ambitious “American Idol” tour and have been busting their butts to get albums out by spring, which is already six months later than they had originally hoped.
“From Justin to Kelly” was shot in just six weeks, with the stars spending any free hours in the recording studio. Intending to capitalize on the popularity of the second season of “American Idol” airing now on Fox, the producers are working just as diligently to edit the film in time for an April 25 release, 10 days after Clarkson’s album drops (see “Kelly Clarkson Promises Blues, Ballads, Hip-Hop On Debut LP” ).
When the movie hits the big screen, all eyes will be on Guarini and Clarkson and how they transition from TV talent show winners to movie stars.
Clarkson admits it’s been a challenge, but she thinks they pulled it off.
“With the stage and theatre and stuff, it’s all about big movements, but film is just a lot more intimate,” Clarkson said. “It’s right in your face and you have to literally just tone down a lot more.”
The biggest difference between the two, however, is that with film, there’s no Simon Cowell there to insult you.
“If you screw up, they don’t care,” Guarini said. “Since we do like 5 million takes.”
— Corey Moss, with additional reporting by Nick Zano