Hayden Panettiere Discusses 'Ice Princess'

Hayden Panettiere on Ice Skating versus Riding Zebras

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Hayden Panettiere saddled up a zebra and tackled the world of horse racing in the family movie, "Racing Stripes." Now she straps on a pair of ice skates and takes on the competition in the Disney comedy, "Ice Princess," starring Michelle Trachtenberg and Kim Cattrall.

In this interview, Hayden Panettiere talks about preparing for her role in "Ice Princess," bonding with the cast, and working with her movie mom, Kim Cattrall.

INTERVIEW WITH HAYDEN PANETTIERE ('Gen'):

Was it the skating that attracted you to this project?
Oh, it was definitely a plus. I had just come off “Racing Stripes” and​ ice skating sounded like a blast to me. It sounded like something new and exciting and fun. I'm very much an athlete. I'm a big jock and I love sports, and so, to be able to put another sport underneath my belt, and to learn something new, was amazing.

What's your favorite sport?
Gymnastics was my favorite sport. If I wasn't an actress, I probably would have been a gymnast. I swam for years, I played volleyball, I played softball and baseball. That was great. Ice skating is a very beautiful sport. It's a very artistic sport. It takes a lot of work.

Have you kept up the skating since completing the movie?
Yeah, I've kept it up. My brother likes hockey a lot. We live in the woods so we have some ponds that get frozen over in the wintertime.

(Laughing) They always drag me out to play hockey.

Which was more difficult, ice skating or riding a zebra in “Racing Stripes?”
You can't even compare these two sports. It's crazy. I definitely went through much more being sore in the racing, just because you're constantly using muscles, really, really strenuously.

But with ice skating, I definitely went through many more bumps and bruises on my legs. (Laughing) And my rear-end went through a beating.

Did being a gymnast help you with the ice skating?
It helped so much because I really enjoyed spinning and stuff. The gymnastics really helped with the ability and comfort of throwing my body in the air.

Did you have a skating double?
You know what? I did do most of my skating. And, I actually taught myself a scratch spin, which is the really fast blur spins. There's one at the end of the performance in the movie that I do and they actually show it. It's me and I'm so excited! But I did learn most of my tricks, except for the triples, for which I had a brilliant double. The weirdest thing about it was that she spun and jumped to the left, and I did it to the right. So, I had to relearn everything and do it all to the left, which was a little bit of a pain in the rear.

Are you more like your character or Michelle Trachtenberg's character in real life?
You know, I think I'm somewhere in the middle. I am more of a laid back girl that ‘Gen’ is. She's definitely a girly girl, very into her looks. I'm not saying that I'm not, but I definitely like sweat pants and my comfy clothes - my Uggs and my pajamas.

But I like school and I'm pretty good at school. I get A's. I do like science, too. I love science and I can do math relatively [well]. I just have a great teacher. When you have a great teacher, then it makes the world [of difference]. I really didn't like chemistry when I first started it this year. I have to say, I really didn't like it because I was on my own, doing it with the homeschooling program, and I was sitting there looking at my book going, "This is total mumbo-jumbo. I have no idea what they're talking about." It made no sense. And then I got a chemist, who is actually my tutor, to come to my house to do school. He makes things so easy and it's so fun to learn. I do like chemistry now.

What was Kim Cattrall like to work with?
She's phenomenal. She's amazing. She's the sweetest person.

She was just such a love to work with. All I'd ever seen her in was “Sex and the City” and so going into it, I didn't really know what to expect. I went to the table reading and she was just amazing. ‘Samantha’ totally left my mind. It was hard for me to think of her like that anymore. She's such a sweet person and she's really good in this film. She and I have the same birthday, so it was exciting. I and Kim have the same birthday, and Joan [Cusack] and Michelle have the same birthday. Crazy!

What did you guys do when you were just hanging out on the set?

We spent a lot of time at the craft truck. The craft truck is definitely your friend when you're on a set. We had a very tight schedule and we were coming and going and doing a lot. We had sports doctors, athletics therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, nutritionists… We had everything. We were training, we were acting, we were schooling, we were doing all of the above.

Was there any free time to go hang out?
There definitely was. One of my best friends on the film was Juliana Cannarozzo, who plays Zoe. She was a sweetheart. I adored her. We were very much together, constantly. And, it was great being in Toronto in the summer because it was beautiful…

Are you and Trevor Blumas good friends?
Yeah, Trevor is a good friend of mine. He's a sweetheart. We just had a really, really good time, just going all over. I was back and forth from Florida. My aunt lives in Florida and we were taking some vacations down there. It was all good.

It was all a blast.

How was fun it to have a song in the film?
It's very, very fun. I have been recording some songs for this. I sing a song at the end credits called "I Fly," and it's on the soundtrack. It's produced by Jamie Houston, who's amazing. He did such a phenomenal job. It's really exciting. I've been in the studio a lot with my voice manager, Valerie Morris, who's phenomenal. I've spent a lot of time on the mic, even recently, and have just been really looking for the type of music that I want to do and looking for the right record company, and everything. It's been exciting.

Is being involved with music something you always wanted to do?
Music has always been a passion of mine. I love music, more than anything. I really love music -- just listening to it. Five For Fighting is one of my favorite bands, and I love everything from Alison Krauss to Josh Groban to Faith Hill and Jessica Andrews. It's pretty much a place to be free. Being in the acting business, you're portraying roles that aren't yourself. So when you get in the studio and you get to sing these songs, you get to put yourself into them.