High School Musical 3: Senior Year stars Ashley Tisdale, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens have, with the help of some fantastic song and dance numbers, transformed a generation of teens with their made-for-the Disney Channel films, and all while maintaining a squeaky-clean image.
Now the teenage trio are displaying their fun-loving comraderie in a new photo shoot for Elle.com and share their thoughts on everything from a fourth movie to why they think it was necessary for Troy and Gabriella to wait until the end of HSM2 for their first kiss.
"The Disney Channel has done movies where the guy and girl kiss, but Kenny thought it would be really nice if you didn’t actually see that," says Tisdale, who plays Sharpay Evans, the couple’s nemesis. "It left fans saying, ‘Wait, we have to see them kiss!’"
While the new third installment will cover both prom and graduation, the East High Wildcats will remain in that pre-teen fantasy of high school.
"I mean, you’re not going to see Sharpay smoking or anything!” Hudgens says. Regis will surely get to second base with Kelly long before you’ll ever witness Troy getting his paws anywhere near Gabriella’s bra strap!"
The success behind HSM is largely due to the films’ director and choreographer Kenny Ortega.
Ortega demonstrates he understands that every great teen movie–whether it’s Sixteen Candles, Grease, or Westside Story–succeeds not because the lovers eventually get together but because they are kept apart for so long.
Zac Efron has seen his star rise practically overnight, being compared to icons like Elvis Presley and John Travolta circa the Grease and Staying Alive years.
Efron himself says he looks up to, "Leonado DiCaprio. He did it flawlessly, starting out with a teen audience and making the transition."
A cash cow like HSM could conceivably continue for years, but Efron says don’t bet on it.
"It feels to me like making number four might be gratuitous," he says. "I think this is the final adventure for the Wildcats. But who knows?"