A princess in the making.
A decade after Bailee Madison stole scenes from her Just Go With It co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, the Wizards of Waverly Place alum is singing her way into the spotlight with the highly-anticipated film, A Cinderella Story: Starstruck. This is the sixth movie in the Cinderella Story franchise first made famous by Hillary Duff's 2004 runaway Disney hit. Selena Gomez, Lucy Hale, Sofia Carson and Laura Marano followed in her glass slipper-clad footsteps.
In Starstruck, Madison's Cinderella begins her story as small-town farm girl Finley who becomes connected with actor Jackson Stone (Michael Evans Behling) while his movie is filming in her Idaho town. After her audition for the big-budget flick goes sideways, Finley channels Amanda Bynes in She's the Man—and lands a role while undercover as a cowboy named Huck. Yes, it's ridiculous and adorable. Throughout, Finley dreams of stardom that will take her away from evil stepmother (April Telek) and step-siblings Saffron (Lillian Doucet-Roche) and Kale (Richard Harmon).
Madison, who is admittedly a "genuine fan of the franchise," grew up watching Duff's original A Cinderella Story. "It's so timeless," she exclusively told E! News. "They've done a beautiful job creating new versions of Cinderella. I feel like a lot of girls are able to relate to at least one of the Cinderella's in it, so I love that."
She was inspired by the magic of fellow Wizards star Gomez and her turn as the Disney princess too, especially when it came to the film's musical numbers. "It was exciting for me to get to play a character and sing in her voice but do a song that I genuinely would be a fan myself outside of filming," she continued. "There's a lot of great country nods and influences throughout the movie which is great for the setting of the film but also lovely for me who loves country music."
Her chemistry with her own Prince Charming, played by Behling, is also something Madison is confident audiences will fall for. "His heart is gold," she teased. "Everyone's going fall in love with him, rightfully so."
But don't be fooled: This isn't your run-of-the-mill Disney fairytale. According to the 21-year-old, the latest installment will tackle sexism and the obstacles women face.
"I think what I could relate to in terms of the Finley world was being in front of somebody, not having to say that she's not sexy enough to have the director's response to be that and then feeling what it's like to be a part of the men's world," she reflected. "Thankfully, the climate is changing, and wonderful conversations behind-the-scenes. I could totally understand that, and I was thrilled to be able to find the comedy within it, but then also tell that story."
As for Madison, her story is just beginning. The multi-hyphenate recently signed a record deal with the Jonas Brothers' dad and is working to put out more original songs.
"Music then always had to be on the back-burner for me," Madison revealed. "I knew if I was going to venture into music I wanted to do with someone who understood my heart and the stories that I wanted to tell...I'm just really grateful and very excited to go into this new adult world and start to take control the reins a bit more."
A Cinderella Story: Starstruck is available now on Digital and on DVD on July 13.