Christina Milian Talks About "Be Cool"

Singing, Dancing, and Working with Aerosmith

Steven Tyler Christina Milian Be Cool
Steven Tyler and Christina Milian in "Be Cool". © MGM
Getting Cast in "Be Cool" and Combining Singing with Acting: "I auditioned for the movie. I wasn’t offered it… I heard hundreds of girls auditioned, some of the usual, your R&B girls and your rock girls, everybody, it didn’t matter. They all auditioned.

My agent called me and told me they were doing the sequel to “Get Shorty” and John Travolta was doing it and they were looking for an R&B singer and I was like, 'Oh, that’s cool.' Then she said, 'F.

Gary Gray is doing it also. He’s directing it.' And I was like, 'F. Gary Gray? I’ve been wanting meet him my entire life.' Well, not my entire life, for a long time because I really enjoy his work and I wanted to work with him as a director.

I decided to go in anyway not thinking I was going to get it and I had to sing. I sang a gospel song and I sang 'I Will Always Love You' and I had to act out like four different scenes. I think the moment that I sang the gospel song, was the one moment I think Gary and the casting director really got it because the casting director cried. I was like, 'Yes!'"

The next thing I know I’m going in for a screen test. Had to do the same exact thing but F. Gary Gray, I think, really took a liking to me. He really helped mold me into this character and really helped me in my audition to do a good job. And he pushed me just to be normal because, at the end of the day, when you reading Linda, Linda Moon and I are very similar.

We’re kind of the same person so it doesn’t require acting.

I got the film, which I was really excited about. And acting and singing in one movie, this has been the most amazing opportunity for me because I’ve gotten a lot of scripts where it’s a singer in a movie but I always turned them down because I really want to be known as a real actress.

When I’m acting in a movie, that’s what I want to do mainly. So, this was the one opportunity, with this cast, John Travolta, you’re gonna win.

People know me as an artist more [than] as a performer. When I found out about the role, the type of person that she is, I really wanted t push myself to become a better singer. Vocally, I practiced a lot. I worked really hard. I had to learn to play piano for about three weeks, which I had learned a long time ago so that helped. As well as acting around all this cast, I had to stay calm because that was hard. I had to act as Linda and act like I wasn’t nervous. It was a lot of work for me."

Parallels Between Her Character’s Career and Her Own: "First, the way that I connected with Linda, her personality and where comes from, she’s a very humble girl. She’s very sweet. She has a dream. She has a passion for music and she’s just like a lot of us that move to Hollywood for music. It’s like, 'Where does it come from? What do I do?' She’s willing to do anything. Unfortunately, she ends up stuck in a really bad record deal and eventually she meets Chili .

For me, I moved here for a dream. I moved from Maryland to California to pursue my acting and music career.

I met a lot of the Nick Carrs, the Rajis, the Sin LaSalles, all the way until I got over here. Each character in this movie, Elmore Leonard did a great job of writing. He did his homework because I have met each of these characters. And, I’ve been offered the bad record deals that basically sign away my life, sign away my publishing. But, luckily, I didn’t sign them.

My Chili Palmer was my mother. Her name is Carmen Milian and she’s my manager. Before getting into music we actually educated ourselves and I went to college for music as a business, and learned the business side. And she read a lot of books. I think my climb right now is similar to the climb of stardom that Linda Moon is having. Linda Moon already reached it. I’m trying to get where she’s getting."

Singing with Aerosmith and Steven Tyler: "Steven Tyler, I love him.

…He is so cool, so humble, the sweetest guy ever. He’s another person, besides John , that I was so nervous about meeting. And he was so cool. He had these great stories to tell and when I found out we were going to be performing live in Boston in front of an Aerosmith crowd - it was 30,000 people at a real Aerosmith concert - I was really nervous.

Singing the song, 'Crying,' that’s another situation because that’s one of my favorite songs. I didn’t want to screw it up. When it came time, we didn’t rehearse it too much because if you overdo it, it’s really wack and I’m used to performing anyway. But by the time I got out on that stage, my confidence could reach the sky. I think having him up there, he really has got this energy about him that really pushes you and the chemistry was like that (snaps fingers). It was automatic. We shot it three times live and Joe Perry’s the bomb too, playing right next to me. I felt like a rock star and I’m officially an Aerosmith groupie now. It was great."