Olesya Rulin is best known for playing the girly Kelsi Nielsen in the "High School Musical" franchise, but this 25-year-old beauty is moving beyond the song-and-dance routines that first caught our attention. Her new movie, "Apart," is the polar opposite of "HSM," and it's going to put her on the map in a whole new light.
The mysterious drama follows the journey of Noah Greene (Josh Danziger) and Emily Gates (Rulin), two BFFs (and maybe more) linked by a rare psychological disorder classified as ICD-10 F24, madness of two. As the name implies, this isn't a great disorder to have -- especially when you're sort of in love with the other half of the twosome. So when others try to keep these two kindred souls apart, it's probably no surprise that it doesn't go so well.
We caught up with Rulin to talk Zefron, new challenges and why she once spent eight and a half hours at Applebee's.
"Apart" is very different from pretty much everything you've done before. What made you want to do it?
I wanted to do it because it's a psychological thriller; it's kind of Hitchcock-ian. I wanted to try something different and completely challenging. I didn't even get the script until a week before they were starting to shoot, and they hadn't found their main character Emily yet. I didn't know if I could pull it off and that really pushed me to try.
And how was it working with Josh Danziger? He's also a relative newcomer.
Josh was great. We got along really well. He's still one of my best friends. We love to banter back and forth. We sat down together the first of shooting at a nearby Applebee's and sat there for eight and a half hours drinking margaritas and just building a bond because our characters are so close, so we needed to trust each other. We shot for 20 hours a day, for 16 hours a day, so we needed to have a strong understanding of each other. We are still really good friends. I adore him.
How was it different on set for "Apart" than "High School Musical?"
Well, they're pretty much total opposites. "High School Musical" is really musical theater on film, while this is an intense Hitchock-style piece. There was definitely a different vibe on set. There was more room to breathe. That was nice.
Do you still keep in touch with Zac Efron?
Oh yeah! Totally! I was supposed to see Zac on Sunday. Once you make movies like that together, you're pretty bonded. That's like, forever.
You were born in Russia. How did you get discovered?
I was in one of those model searches where you go to the mall and get picked out.
What was your first acting gig?
I was in a commercial for the Disney channel. I was the camp leader for the campers.
What did you buy with your first Hollywood paycheck?
I upgraded my house to a 2-story condo in Beverly Hills and I bought a new car -- I went all out.
What kind of car did you get?
A BMW. [laughs] It's L.A. You spend a lot of time in your car.
Who is your dream love interest on screen?
Ryan Gosling. He's got those abs.
What's your dream role?
I think an "I Love Lucy" character combined with Carrie Bradshaw -- basically an amazing wardrobe with lots of comedy, something funny and quirky.
Do you have any nicknames?
Yeah, like the rodent.
Umm ... how did you get that nickname?
I'm a little untidy and my favorite color is gray, and I'm always scurrying around in a panic.
Mac or PC?
New York or L.A.?
"Harry Potter," "Twilight" or "The Hunger Games"?
Neither? [laughs] I guess I'd pick Harry Potter.
Rock or rap?
Beer or wine?
Twitter or Facebook?
Bieber or Timberlake?
Vampires, zombies or werewolves?
I would say werewolves. They just seem sexier.
Lady Gaga or Madonna?
Oh, Madonna. For sure.
Apples or oranges?
Whose career in Hollywood would you like to have?
Kate Winslet or Leonardo DiCaprio. I would take his career in a heartbeat. He's done pretty well.
What would you be doing if you weren't acting?
I would probably work for the UN or Greenpeace.
What's coming up next for you after "Apart"?
I have a film coming out in the fall called "Family Weekend" with Kristin Chenoweth and Matthew Modine. I play a competitive jump-roper, which is an Olympic sport, by the way! I take my self-absorbed family and tie them up to show them how to be better parents. It's a really dark comedy. It's great.
"Apart" will be in select theaters and available nationwide On Demand and on iTunes March 9.