The idea for "Raise Your Voice" came from New Line music executive Mitch Rotter. "We had wanted to do a truly music-driven film, something just short of a 'sing at the drop of a hat' musical, where the music was as much a part of the narrative as any of the other elements, says Rotter.
Hilary Duff was approached for the starring role in "Raise Your Voice" before cutting her first album, and after finishing her "Lizzie McGuire" movie. Producer Sara Risher feels the camera really loves Hilary and says, "She has such a dynamic screen presence and it was just very serendipitous that it all came together and we were able to cast her in this film." Once Hilary was onboard, the film, which had been stalled in the pre-production phase, began picking up speed. Co-stars, including Oliver James, John Corbett, and Rita Wilson, were cast and filming began in January 2004. While filming, Duff had the difficult task of balancing her acting career with her singing career, but managed to handle both despite her seemingly non-stop schedule.
INTERVIEW WITH HILARY DUFF ('Terri'):
Is it normal for you to have so many projects going on in one year?
You know what? It seems kind of normal now. I think that theres really no way to prepare yourself, to say, Oh, Ive got all this going on. You just do it. Its like I want to be able to do all of these things, and I have to be really prepared to do it. It doesnt really bother me, every day thinking that Im going to have to switch modes to singing or acting or traveling, or this, that and the other. You just kind of do it. Its just kind of natural.
Is it the nervous, raw energy that keeps you going?
I think so. The energy is addicting almost. Even though its really hard work, I dont think you could do it unless you loved it. I love it, but it definitely keeps me going. A new place every night doing this, doing that its crazy.
In Raise Your Voice, youre playing the outsider. In real life, youve been a star a while. How do you get those feelings of not belonging to come out for an acting job?
It was hard. People have been asking me today like what the most challenging part of the movie was, and it wasnt the crying scenes. I think thats much easier than trying to make people laugh. Crying on command is not that difficult. But the parts that were harder for me were after the tragedy happens to Terri in her life, its kind of like just like a closed-off, numb feeling. She doesnt feel any emotion no happiness, no sad. Shes kind of like nothing. That was the hardest thing for me. And then going to the school and feeling like the outsider, I kind of learned how to do that a lot with Lizzie McGuire because she was the dork that didnt really fit in. And everybody kind of made Terri feel very unwelcome at the school at first.
Do the singing scenes reflect your real process as far as what you go through to get to a certain point with your voice?
I think so. Its a little more difficult in this movie because I was singing arias and stuff I never have to sing for the type of music that I sing. But theres definitely times that I get that frustrated when I cant sing something that I want to or I cant hit a certain note that day. Theres definitely a process where Im writing and Im like, This is stupid. Why did I write this? Lets start from the beginning. And Ill end up throwing something away that I really did like, just because it didnt sound that great that day. Theres definitely some challenging parts.
Are you active in lessoning to tapes or are your producers so good they find your material on their own?
On the second album I worked with a lot of people that I worked with on the Metamorphosis album. And when I worked on Metamorphosis I was so nervous and shy about going into the studio and working with people, they eventually toward the end made me feel so comfortable and so secure with myself. I loved working with them. I have a great relationship with them. I talk to them [all the time]. When we started talking about the second album, I was like, I want to work with all the same people. They knew what was going on in my life, what I was going through. I would call them and say, I feel like this right now. I want a song about this I never really felt like I had enough time to write my whole album and I dont know if Im secure enough with myself to do that. But I wrote three songs on the album, one I wrote with my sister. Its so personal and these people really got what I was going through and how I feel inside. I think thats what makes it good and thats what makes me relate to them.