Although he's responsible for helming the [movie id="238948"]"Dawn of the Dead"[/movie] reboot, filmmaker Zack Snyder's considerable talents have been somewhat limited by the fact that all of his films are based on someone else's material — until now.
The director behind [movie id="283480"]"300"[/movie] and [movie id="302856"]"Watchmen"[/movie] is hard at work on his first original film, [movie id="420671"]"Sucker Punch,"[/movie] co-starring Vanessa Hudgens and opening March 2011.
The "High School Musical" alumna, who will likely shake off her squeaky-clean image with the release of the ultra-violent flick, had high praise for Snyder. "Zack is such a genius," Hudgens said. "He's such a visionary. The things that he thinks of, I'm just like, 'You are my hero!' "
Hudgens appears alongside Jena Malone, Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jon Hamm and Carla Gugino in the action film Snyder described as " 'Alice in Wonderland' with machine guns." Based on his original story, the flick tells the tale of a young girl confined to a mental institution, who retreats into an imaginary world as she plots her escape.
"Zack has created these scenes of high heels with shells falling down from our guns," Hudgens said of the memorable visuals. Hudgens plays Blondie, one of a group of gun-toting friends out to save Baby Doll (Browning) before she is lobotomized. Snyder has dreamed up lots of "cool things," Hudgens teased. "I can't give it away too much, because I don't know how much I'm supposed to say.
"My favorite part ... is me [with] the .50-caliber gun, Hudgens said of her character's enormous weaponry. "And yeah, I'm shooting at something even bigger."
Since the film takes place in an imagined alternative reality, the training wheels are off for Snyder. Early reports have the filmmaker reaching into his special-effects arsenal, sprinkling Nazis, dragons, aliens and more throughout the movie. The action will be intense, Hudgens said.
"[My .50-cal gun] is actually stationary," Hudgens said, "but I carried around a [Squad Automatic Weapon machine gun], which, oh, man, is really heavy. It's probably about 15 or 20 pounds when it's loaded. I'm literally running around with it, shooting at Germans. ... It's crazy."
Currently navigating the murky terrain between teen star and adult actress — on the horizon are romantic drama "Beastly" and a stint in "Rent"— Hudgens said "Sucker Punch" should reveal a different side to her fans. And if sweat is any indication of success, she'll be able to make the transition.
"We trained really hard," she said. "We worked with Navy SEALs for five months so I could handle it."
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