HOLLYWOOD, California — It's been awhile since we've heard from JoJo, and it's for good reason. The 14-year-old singer-turned-budding-actress has been busy shooting a new feature film opposite one of Hollywood's biggest stars for the last three months.
"I'm filming a movie with Robin Williams called 'R.V.,' and I'm having the time of my life," JoJo said at Hope Rocks earlier this month. The charity gig, aimed at raising funds for cancer research and benefiting the City of Hope Foundation, will air September 3 on FOX and feature performances by JoJo, Rihanna, Chingy, Jesse McCartney, Natalie and Frankie J, among others. The teen-pop phenom also emceed the event.
"The best thing is, Robin's just like a normal guy. He took [the cast] out to the movies, and he takes us out for breakfast or shopping. He just really cares about everyone he works with, both the cast and crew, and I really feel like we've all become a family," the singer said.
"R.V.," which has been filming in Vancouver, British Columbia, since May, tracks a dysfunctional family's two-week RV adventure en route to the Colorado Rockies. The film, helmed by Barry Sonnenfeld ("Men in Black," "Get Shorty"), features Cheryl Hines, Kristin Chenoweth, Jeff Daniels and Williams, who plays the household patriarch in the flick. It's due out next spring.
JoJo plays Williams' daughter, Cassie. "She is kind of an angsty teen," she said. "She doesn't like her father, and they've kind of separated themselves from each other, and the movie is basically about how they come back together and reunite as a family."
They may have some differences to settle onscreen, but off the clock, the pair have become just like a regular father-daughter duo.
"I've already learned so much from working with Robin. He's given me some great advice, and he's just a great person. I'm very inspired by working with him," JoJo said.
"R.V." will be the second movie role for the young actress. Last year she filmed the coming-of-age comedy "Aquamarine" with another young newbie, Emma Roberts (see "JoJo Says She's No Lindsay Lohan, Scrambles To Ready Herself For 'Aquamarine' "). The film, based on Alice Hoffman's novel, tells the story of two teen girls spending their last summer together, but when the friends discover a mermaid stranded in their beach club's swimming pool, they have to find a way to get her back to the sea. It is slated for an April 2006 release.
After "R.V." wraps, JoJo says she'll put her acting duties aside and concentrate on music.
"Next month I start work on my sophomore album, so I'm completely focusing my time on that," the singer said of the follow-up to her 2004 self-titled debut, which she recorded almost two years ago.
"You can expect some great people I'm working with on this new record," she hinted. "I can't really say any names yet, because I want to keep it on the down low, but I'm so excited." While JoJo isn't name-dropping at the moment, she admitted late last year that Dr. Dre is high on her wish list of future collaborators (see "JoJo Says She's 'Not That Kind Of Girl,' Wants Dr. Dre For Next Album").
The maturing teenager described her new album simply as being "more JoJo."
"There's just so much I'm ready to explore and so much that I've been through in the last two years since I recorded my last album that I've wanted to talk about," JoJo said. "I mean, I don't want to freak anybody out with the [content], but it's just a natural progression from then to now. So much happens in that time and I'm excited to put it out there."