No one who wasn't a tween within the last decade really buys Vanessa Hudgens as a movie star, or a star of any kind-- the actress broke out with High School Musical, became a tabloid fixture by dating Zac Efron, and her only non-HSM credits are the little-seen Bandslam and Beastly, a teen romance that was pushed from its planned release this summer. Still, there's reason to believe this can change-- she'll be part of the ass-kicking ensemble of Zack Snyder's fantasia Sucker Punch next spring, and now THR she'll be joining the kid-friendly but possibly interesting adventure Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.

The movie is a sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D, with Josh Hutcherson-- who played the kid sidekick the first time-- set to take over as leading man in a new adventure, with Dwayne Johnson on board to lend an adult hand. This time around they venture to the titular island to find Hutcherson's character's long-missing grandfather; Hudgens plays a Pacific Islander brought into the adventure who eventually falls for Hutcherson. Production starts this fall in North Carolina (presumably for the soundstages) and Hawaii (for everything else).

The R-rated Sucker Punch will make for a weird pairing with Mysterious Island, but Hudgens seems to be choosing her roles fairly carefully, and given what a good launchpad the original Journey was for Hutcherson's career, there's no reason it couldn't do the same for her.

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