WHEN it was time for singing sensation Britney Spears to make her debut movie she was adamant ... the Louisiana lady didn't want "just a simple teen movie" ... she wanted "to touch Hearts, and say to other girls out there that they're not alone in what they're going through."
Thus, in Crossroads, Spears plays Lucy, who along with childhood friends Kit (Zoe Saldana) and Mimi (Taryn Manning), re-united at their High School graduation prom, decide to hit the road with Mimi's handsome and mysterious friend, Ben (Anson Mount), in his cool convertible ... they are making good on a childhood pact to go in search of their destiny.
"There's fun, laughter, love - and a few songs - as the girls rediscover their friendship," says Spears, who was born on December 2, l981 in Kenwood and who began her career on stage at the age of nine in the off-Broadway production of Ruthless.
It was producer Ann Carli who felt, from the outset, that Spears was who she wanted: "We attended one of her concerts in Chicago and, sitting in the front row, at one point I turned around and saw thousands of screaming teenagers ... and their parents. There was just so much love there it was amazing. I mean, those kids respect Britney. They want to be just like her. And when I met her backstage, I found out that even though the persona she projects on stage is very powerful, what's really powerful is Britney herself. She's a very real, very natural, normal girl. She is just a normal teenager who just happens to have a whole lot of talent ... she was so likeable, and I knew that if we could put on film what she projected, we could make her film debut a rousing success."
Spears didn't want to minimise how important true love is to young people: "I wanted to show that teenagers aren't just facing whether or not to have sex, they're thinking about a relationship's future."
Lucy, she adds, is the "personification of that teenage girl on the edge of growing up and becoming a woman. She is someone experiencing many of the emotions young people feel when they are leaving High School and coming into their own.
"Lucy is very confused with her life. She wants to please her dad, who has a dream of her becoming a doctor, but then again, she wants to fulfill her own dreams, and for now, her dreams are to be reunited with her mother and to become a singer.
"I really love the message of the movie, about friends sticking together and helping each other through their problems, and pursuing their dreams."
OK, so when it comes to the movies, as we saw at the recent, emotional and tear-stained Oscars, performers do often talk a load of tosh, but Crossroads, and Spears, does try to make something more out of its so-so 'road' storyline, and there is nothing wrong with chasing your dreams.
Lining up in the movie are Kim 'Sex and the City' Cattrall and Dan Aykroyd (Lucy's father), who throws in the comment: "I was attracted to Crossroads not only because I saw it as being as up and positive as its young star, but also because the script struck me as a very honest and truthful piece of work.There is a certain purity to this film, with a sense of fun and adventure."
So what more could you ask for in a movie?