Is Lifetime's '#PopFan' Based on a True Story? Chelsea Kane Opens Up About Her Disney Roots
As the name subtly implies, Lifetime's TV movie #PopFan stars Chelsea Kane as — you guessed it — a pop star, with a dangerously obsessive fan played by Nolan Gerard Funk. In a conference call with reporters, Kane discussed how her firsthand experience working with Disney stars helped influence her role as a music celebrity. "I was lucky enough to have kind of a front-row seat ... back in the Disney days," she says. #PopFan starts off with Ava (Kane) releasing a new over-the-top, sexy music video and the backlash that follows. Definitely sounds like a former Disney star-turned pop star that we know all too well.
Kane, who starred on the Disney Channel show Jonas with the Jonas Brothers, talks about her early acting days as she watched the transition of boys turning into huge celebrities. "When we first shot the pilot for Jonas it was before they had gone out on tour with Miley or really had done anything and were fairly unknown. It took for the pilot to be picked up ... [and then] they were on the cover of Rolling Stone and it was, you know, Beatlemania with them."
And Kane got to be the envy of all the girls in the land since she played Stella Malone, childhood friend and love interest of Joe Jonas. (Four-year-old Disney Channel-spoiler alert: she even ends up with him.)
"I kind of saw the struggle ... [of] trying to figure who they are while being under a microscope of the whole world — and same with Demi and Selena," Kane says.
Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Selena Gomez are definitely three of the big names that come to mind when thinking about former Disney Channel stars turned pop stars. At the beginning of #PopFan, Ava discusses her career with her manager Damon. He implies that she doesn't need to keep making overtly sexual videos, saying she successfully left the role of Polly Plymouth on that "stupid TV show." Ava says it's the video that helped her leave said stupid show. This definitely screams of Hannah Montana, but it could also be referencing Gomez's Wizards of Waverly Place or Lovato's Sonny with a Chance, as all three ladies later broke away from their clean-cut, kid-friendly images.
It doesn't seem to be an easy life to transition from being a child TV sensation to growing up in the limelight. Kane herself refers to it as a "struggle," and how could it not be? Through the media, we have seen girls that got their start on Disney go through personal turmoil time and time again. Of course, not all Disney stars cause scandal.
Kane is so personable and bubbly, and she definitely has compassion for her former cohorts. Since Jonas, Kane has stayed with pretty light fare, including ABC Family's Baby Daddy. "I love that I had my start on Disney. You know, I was a kid, and working with kids, so it was a perfect start for me," she says. "I just feel like I’ve slowly grown up on television. You know, going into ABC Family, yes it still falls under the Disney umbrella, but my character Riley on Baby Daddy is older and a lawyer and has scenes in a bar. It’s the first time I’ve ever been seen on television like holding a drink instead of a backpack at a high school locker."
Kane herself seems to have made the transition from teen to adult pretty well. Of course, it couldn't have always been easy — especially with juicy gossip like the fact that she dated Lauren Conrad's ex-boyfriend Stephen Colletti from Laguna Beach floating around. But about her growth from Disney to Lifetime, Kane says, "I just have been really lucky that there’s always kind of been this natural progression with my career — like fans have kind of been able to grow up with me and it seems like the right roles have come along at the right age."
From the look of #PopFan, we'll be seeing Kane take on something darker and more twisted than ever before when it premieres Saturday night at 8 p.m. I mean, it is Lifetime: Television for Women after all. This ain't no kids stuff. But it may be the first and last time. "I feel like I’m a pretty bright, colorful, happy person," she says. "I do feel like comedy is where my heart is ... I would always love to have a home in the sitcom world."
Images: shhennig/Tumblr; Quinn Bender/Lifetime