There's just something about Ashley Tisdale. Somehow, the actress whose career was launched by roles in films like High School Musical and on television programs like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, has managed to win the attention of people like Kurt Sutter: The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the mind behind the dark, gritty, and thoroughly interesting Sons of Anarchy has enlisted Tisdale for a dark role. Tisdale is setting up to guest star on two episodes of the forthcoming fifth season of the FX series, playing a high-class prostitute named Emma Jean. That's not quite in the same realm as "Bop to the Top."
In addition to this role on SOA, Tisdale was slated to star on a CBS sitcom which was being developed by the great Louis CK and The Late Show and Seinfeld writer Spike Feresten, until CBS failed to order the pilot to series. But the question is: what exactly do the dark minds of Sutton and CK — two men who bleed artistic integrity, and fly as far from mainstream TV as the confines of the the medium will allow — see in a young actress whose primary connotations are with Disney and Nickelodeon?
Of course, this isn't to say that Tisdale hasn't done a good job with the roles she has been given. She's energetic and spirited as Maddie Fatzpatrick, and bubbly and funny as High School Musical's Sharpay Evans. But these are nowhere near what fans should expect to see in SOA's fictional biker town of Charming, Calif.
Tisdale did enjoy a more adult role on the short lived CW dramedy Hellcats, which earned a fair share of positive critical reactions. But this doesn't seem quite enough to fancy the Suttons and CKs of the world to Tisdale's manner. Going through her professional history, you'll find the mystery only thickens. Credits include Phineas and Ferb, Kim Possible, and a one-off appearance on the only late-'90s Nickelodeon show that you don't remember fondly, 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd. There's nothing there to really spark the interest of the guy who shot an episode of TV about a homeless man getting his head run over by a truck.
There's only one possibility, dating back to the actress' very first role on the big screen: Donnie Darko, the twisted, nightmarish mind-bender that was a fixture for emotionally tormented high schoolers through 2006. Tisdale had a brief scene as a harassed nerd named Kim, melding some mean-spirited humor with the film's pulp of drama and psychological horror. Perhaps this small role was enough to instill interest in artists like Sutton and CK for the following decade. Perhaps both men saw this movie and thought, "This girl is going places." And then proceeded to wait ten years to cast her in a project.
In any event, it's encouraging to see the young starlet stretch her wings and try a new variety of work. Are you surprised by her next role?
[Photo Credit: David Edwards/Daily Celeb]