And while it's much more risque than anything she's done in the past, it was her mom (yes, her mom) who gave her the extra boost she needed to agree to it.
"Well, my mom is actually a big Harmony Korine fan, and we got the script through my agency," she told MTV News during a chat at South by Southwest. "I read it, I watched all of his movies with my mom and [watched] interviews, and I wanted to be a part of it."
Once her mind was made up, she met with Korine, the mind behind other controversial flicks like "Kids" and "Trash Humpers," and his wife, co-star Rachel Korine. "So I actually flew to Nashville, to Harmony and Rachel's house, and auditioned with him for about an hour and half," Gomez recalled. "I actually read with Rachel too, and I got the part."
"Spring Breakers" opens in limited release Friday (it goes wide on March 22), the same day Gomez revisits her clean-cut Disney alter ego Alex Russo in the "Wizards of Waverly Place" movie "The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex." Gomez said she didn't take the role just to show that she can play a naughtier character; it was the chance to expand her skills as an actor that drew her to the Harmony project.
"It wasn't necessarily about the reaction as it was just for me wanting to do something that was creatively challenging for me, because acting is everything to me," she said. "And it's the reason why I'm here."
She hoped the role would "really challenge myself and to see how far I could go. I thought Harmony was the perfect director to trust. And these girls were amazing, and James [Franco] is obviously incredible in this movie, so it was kind of a no-brainer for me."
"Spring Breakers" might be rated R, but soon it will also be "Rated MTV: Movie Awards Edition." MTV's Josh Horowitz will sit down with the ladies for an upcoming edition of "Rated MTV." Nick Offerman kicked off the six weeks of sit-downs last week when he chatted about "Somebody Up There Likes Me," and this week, Olivia Wilde joins us to open up about "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone."
The specials lead up to the third annual MTV Movie Awards Sneak Peek Week, which will run from April 8 through April 12, with a special airing every night at 11 p.m. ET. The cast of a film will be on hand to present an on-air clip before heading to MTV.com for a 30-minute sit-down interview with Horowitz. Stay tuned for more information.
Also, don't forget to tune into the Rebel Wilson-hosted MTV Movie Awards on April 14, airing live from the Sony Pictures Studio Lot in Culver City, California, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.