BETTY: You were more than instrumental in getting this film made. In fact, it was actually written for you. What kinds of decisions did you make in terms of what you wanted on screen?
BRITNEY: Well, really… I had a lot to do with their characters and what each one was going through, but the whole storyline, as far as why Lucy was going and why Mimi was going, the writer (Shondra Rhimes) came in and helped me elaborate on that a little bit. It was actually a combined effort between both of us. I came up with the general idea, but the story and all the details and stuff, the writer came in and helped me with.
BETTY: Was it fun to have input in the casting of your leading man? And was it fun knowing you’d have to kiss him?
BRITNEY: No, it wasn’t fun doing that. (Laughs) No, he was a sweetheart. He was so nice and made me feel very, very comfortable. But the reason why I say that is, my initial attempt at the very beginning, with all the cameras around me at first, was a little nerve wrecking. But afterwards, he made me feel comfortable and it was totally fine.
BETTY: Your character, Lucy, keeps a diary in the film. Do you do that in real life?
BRITNEY: No, I don’t. Actually, I say my prayers in my diary because I usually fall asleep if I say my prayers out loud, so I write my prayers down in a journal, but I don’t write about my day or anything.
BETTY: What about writing songs and that kind of thing?
BRITNEY: Yeah, yeah, I write poetry and stuff.
BETTY: Since your so well known for your pop career, do you think you’ll ever play a character who doesn’t sing?
BRITNEY: Oh, I would love to in the future. At the beginning of making this film, I didn’t really know if I wanted to have singing in it. But then, once me and the writer started talking, we were just like, “It will spice it up a little bit to have a performance in there.” But, no, I would love to in the future. I think that would be very cool.
Britney Spears taking a peek behind the camera on the set of Crossroads.
Photo – Paramount Pictures
BETTY: Why do you think some singers have a hard time making the transition to acting? Can you avoid that?
BRITNEY: I don’t know. I don’t know how my movie’s going to do. I’ll just see how it does and if it’s a big flop, then I’ll know what not to do next time. (Laughs)
BETTY: How did you choose which Madonna song to be dancing to in the beginning of the film? And do you know if she’s seen it yet?
BRITNEY: I don’t think she’s seen it yet. The opening scene, I wanted it to be me jumping around and playing around and, honestly, that song (“Open Your Heart To Me”) is one of my all-time favorite songs…it’s a light-hearted, fun song and it’s something I think all girls will like and relate to.
BETTY: You were dressed in next to nothing for that scene. Why did you decide to have that scene in the film?
BRITNEY: Because that’s real. All girls wake up in the morning and I, personally, sleep in a t-shirt. She had her little guy briefs on and she was just chillin’, singing. I think that’s what we (girls) do. Well, that’s what I do, personally.
BETTY: Touché. But did it embarrass you at all to be in front of a whole crew of people?
BRITNEY: Well, I had been with the crew for awhile and we made sure that not that many people were allowed on the set, of course – but it’s part of the character and what she was about, so I thought it brought a realness to it.
BETTY: Your character, Lucy, puts a memento in a box that she opens up 8 years later. Have you ever thought about what you’d put in there?
BRITNEY: Right now? Ooh, that’s a good question. I would probably want to do more films. I would love that. Honestly, I have everything I want. I would probably say health, and for me to have healthy kids, and to marry the man of my dreams. (Laughs)
BETTY: Speaking of … a lot has happened since September 11th. Did those events change your relationship with your boyfriend, Justin Timberlake (from N Sync)?
BRITNEY: Between me and him? Well, you know, I think, after that happened, it really did put a lot of things in perspective for us. We just really wanted to embrace each other as much as we could, definitely.
Britney and Justin Timberlake at an ‘N Sync record release party last year.
Photo by Christina Radish.
BETTY: How hard is it to maintain a relationship with another high-profile performer and maintain a degree of privacy at the same time?
BRITNEY: It is kind of hard sometimes, just trying to see each other whenever we can…but we have such a major foundation and I think if you love that person, you just work it out.
BETTY: Did he get jealous during any of your love scenes in the film?
BRITNEY: You know, we’ve just realized — and I’ve come to accept, with him even too — that that’s a part of what we do and I accept that. I don’t personally like it. It doesn’t make me feel like a million dollars, but I do accept it. It’s just acting.
BETTY: Having become a huge success at such a young age, are you ever overwhelmed by your own stardom? How do you react to it all?
BRITNEY: I think it’s very flattering. Honestly, this is my dream come true. I can’t believe this is happening right now. I can’t believe I even have a movie, so I feel very blessed to be where I am right now.
BETTY: Were you ever given any advice early on by someone that still rings true for you today?
BRITNEY: Probably my mom. My mom told me, “Just always be true to yourself – do what you want to do – don’t take any bull from anybody – and show them what you’ve got.” (Laughs)
BETTY: You said that teenagers often make mistakes. What do you think your biggest mistake has been so far?
BRITNEY: My biggest mistake? Ooh. Well, I don’t want to say my biggest mistake! I don’t want to tell the whole world that. But, trust me, I’ve made plenty. But I don’t regret them because it’s made me the person that I am right now.
BETTY: Since you’re so hugely popular every tabloid’s running a feature on you. What has been said about you that’s really hurt you?
BRITNEY: What’s really hurt me? You know what? They can talk about personal stuff and whatever as much as they want, but as long as they don’t talk about my performance and what I do — that would hurt. That would really hurt. But, so far, they haven’t really gone there.
BETTY: What really makes you cringe in life?
BRITNEY: Makes me cringe in life? Interviews. (Laughs)
BETTY: Anything else?
BRITNEY: Probably not being able to be with my boyfriend as much as I want to be. That makes me really cringe, yeah.
BETTY: When it comes to music, what do you listen to that people might be surprised to hear you say?
BRITNEY: Hmm. I listen to Otis Redding a lot. I love him. I think he’s just awesome. There’s nothing better than putting him on and getting in the tub and lighting some candles and just chillin’.
BETTY: I’m sure you’ve read the criticism of the provocative stage persona that you’ve taken on and some say that that it’s not appropriate for somebody your age. How do you respond to that criticism?
BRITNEY: I say that everybody’s got an opinion, you know. I do what I want to do. I love to perform and you either come and watch it and you like it, or you don’t.
Britney Spears and Anson Mount at the premiere of Crossroads at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood on February 11th.
Photo by Christina Radish.
BETTY: What is it about Madonna that you dig and what is it about you that she digs?
BRITNEY: I don’t know what it is about me that she digs (laughs), but I just love the fact that, when she gets onstage, she’s so amazing. She is one of the best entertainers, I think, of all time and I just love the way she controls the audience. And, the fact that she’s been able to do it all. I respect that — that she’s been able to do movies and also have beautiful kids. I respect that a lot.
BETTY: Do you learn from somebody like her?
BRITNEY: I’m not going to follow in her footsteps completely, but it’s definitely an inspiration for me. Definitely.
BETTY: Do you have any plans to work on your next album?
BRITNEY: No, I think I’m going to try the acting thing for a little while, just to see. It will probably be awhile until I do another album.
BETTY: With it being Valentine’s Day, how can you best describe what romance is to you?
BRITNEY: What romance is to me? You know what? I don’t like big deal things. A guy doesn’t have to do all that for me. As long as I can just be with the person I love and be intimate with them and just have a good conversation. I find that romantic.
BETTY: Do you remember the first time you thought, “Oh, god, this is romantic”? What’s the craziest thing anyone’s ever done for love for you, or you in reverse?
BRITNEY: You know what? Oh, my goodness, Justin surprises me all the time with so many things, and I’ve never been in a relationship like that. He totally fascinates me on that level. He’s just a very cool guy and being able to be in his presence just makes me [happy]. I don’t want to go into detail about what he does! (Laughs)
BETTY: You can’t possibly have much spare time, but when you do, what do you really love to do?
BRITNEY: Oh, I just love hanging out — watching TV, ordering room service. I’m addicted to spas. I love going to the spa and just getting massages. Oh, my gosh, I love that.
BETTY: So, what’s your best disguise for going out in public?
BRITNEY: My best disguise? I have some really dorky glasses that I wear — they’re granny glasses — and I wear a big cap, and every time I wear it, nobody says anything…. Man, I shouldn’t have just said that! (Laughs) Damn! (Laughs)
BRITNEY: Thank you so much!