Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez star in ‘Princess Protection Program’

By Bill Brioux – 1 day ago

You wouldn’t think playing a princess would be that much of a stretch for Demi Lovato, the 16-year-old Texan who stars opposite real life BFF and fellow Disney protege Selena Gomez in “Princess Protection Program” (premiering Friday night at 8 p.m. on Family Channel).

Lovato plays Rosalinda Marie Montoya Fiore, teen princess of the fictional land of Costa Luna (the TV-movie was shot in Puerto Rico). Her life threatened by one of those annoying mad dictators, she’s hustled into the Princess Protection Program, where she’s thrown together with Louisiana tomboy teen Carter Mason (Gomez). Pretty soon Carter is teaching Rosa how to act like a typical North American teen and Rosa is teaching Carter how to act like a princess (it is at this point where many parents might ask: “There’s a difference?”).

The two teen actresses certainly were treated like royalty during a promotional swing through Toronto in June. Their young fans (along with dozens of dutiful parents) scrambled to get into a special screening of “Princess Protection Program” held at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on the CNE grounds.

Lovato and Gomez worked the press and red carpet while in town and both sang from the Disney songbook, politely acknowledging their good fortune, praising their co-stars and pledging allegiance to The Mouse, as well as all things Jonas.

Lovato said she had a chance to meet real live royalty up close recently, when princess Caroline of Monaco came to see her perform in concert with the Jonas Brothers. “She’s totally chill and down to earth, not what I expected from a princess,” says Lovato. “She was beautiful but she was dressed like a normal person.”

Which is how you might describe Lovato and Gomez. The two Texans met when they were seven, in line to audition for the kiddie series “Barney & Friends.” Gomez says Lovato “turned around and asked me if I wanted to colour and it all began from there.” Both won roles in the cast, singing and dancing through two seasons and generally basking in the purple glow of the big, fuzzy small-fry superstar.

That “I love you, you love me” beginning must have seemed like a pretty good deal to Lovato and Gomez because from there, it has been a steady parade of auditions, beauty pageants, TV shows and movies. “It’s kind of crazy to see us walking the red carpet together, doing a movie together,” says Gomez. “It’s definitely been a whirlwind.”

Especially for Lovato, who has even worked in Toronto before. Last summer, she starred opposite Joe Jonas in “Camp Rock,” the Disney movie that reached “High School Musical” heights in Canada and the U.S. (a sequel, again starring Lovato and Jonas, is in the works.) “Camp Rock” was shot in Toronto and north of the city in Minden, snuggled in the heart of Ontario’s cottage country. Lovato was just 14 during that production; besides the rush of being in on the Jonas explosion, she remembers Minden for its rustic beauty as well as for its spotty cell phone coverage (like being cut off oxygen for a Hollywood teen).

Being young Disney stars, Lovato and Gomez also have well-managed music careers, with Lovato’s resume suggesting the piano and guitar protege has written over 100 songs. Some were penned with her Jonas pals (she sings one she co-wrote with Nick, Joe and Kevin – “When Worlds Collide” – in “Princess Protection Program”). She’s toured with the Jonas’ boys and kicked off her own 45-date headline tour late last month in Toronto, singing songs from her solo album “Don’t Forget.”

This is all while she’s on hiatus from her own Disney Channel TV series “Sonny With A Chance,” a hit in Canada on Family Channel. She plays a kid from the Midwest who moves to LA and makes it big on TV, so it is pretty much a reality series for Lovato.

Gomez has not exactly been slumming, either. She has her own Family Channel fan base, from two seasons of the “Wizards of Waverly Place,” and has worked on both “Hannah Montana” and “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.” A veteran of two Vancouver shoots, her feature credits include “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over” as well as voice-over work in 2008’s “Horton Hears a Who.” She’s busy recording her own album for Hollywood Records.

“I’m very blessed,” says Gomez, who admits that, like her character in “Princess Protection Program,” she was a bit of a tomboy growing up. “I was not really a girly-girl,” she says. “Now I love dressing up and getting in touch with my feminine side.”

But won’t there eventually have to be a falling out, a bitter rivalry between these two? Won’t the tabloids have them scratching each other’s eyes out over some Jonas before they’re 17? Not a chance, they say.

“Other people will try to pit us against each other sometimes but we have a great friendship that will outdo all of those things,” says Lovato. “She’s awesome, I love her.”

Barney would be proud.

Source: The Canadian Press

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