Ashley Tisdale Gets Unpopular … In Leading-Role Debut, ‘Picture This’

'High School Musical' actress may even change her hair color.

LOS ANGELES — Following in the high-kicking footsteps of her “High School Musical” co-star Zac Efron, Ashley Tisdale has signed on to headline her very own feature film. Tisdale broke the news of her upcoming performance as an unpopular girl along with a promise: The character will be a long way from the snobby Sharpay.

“I’m doing a movie in August called ‘Picture This,’ ” the bubbly Disney star revealed. ” ‘High School Musical 2′ premieres August 17, I’m back with ‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody’ … and that’s pretty much all I can handle right now” (see ” ‘High School Musical’ Stars Dish On Sequel’s Showstoppers, Love Triangles” ).

The fast-rising star is keeping her schedule jam-packed these days, but is excited that the feel-good father-daughter flick “Picture” will offer her a chance to move beyond her “HSM” character and play something she isn’t accustomed to — the unpopular and unfashionable girl.

“I love the character because it’s so different than any of the other characters I’ve played so far,” Tisdale enthused. “[My character] works at Petco and she’s not popular. She’s kind of like the girl next door. She doesn’t really know how to put herself together.”

Supporting actors and director are expected to be announced soon.

Tisdale said the “Picture This” script captured her attention from the start. “I’ve been connected to it from the very beginning because I really love the script,” she said. “It’s a father-daughter movie, about a relationship where the daughter’s getting more mature and older, and needing the dad to let go — he’s very controlling. So, it’s that kind of movie.”

As such, you can expect lots of “She’s Out of Control”-type chaos mixed with some serious makeover scenes.

“I’m probably going to change [my hair], maybe go brunette,” she said excitedly. “I always like playing different characters, and changing your whole look too. That way, you don’t always look the same in each movie.”

Blond or brunette, as she nears the beginning of principal photography, Tisdale admitted that she’s already feeling the butterflies that come along with carrying a movie.

“I think since I’ve never really played the star before, it’s going to be something hard,” she grimaced. “I’m definitely nervous. Like, I’ve always been part of a cast — part of six in ‘High School Musical,’ part of four in ‘Suite Life.’ It’s definitely going to be hard!”

And if not? Well, with “High School Musical 3″ still in development, Ashley can always “Picture” herself back at East High.

Check out everything we’ve got on “High School Musical 2.”

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