Hilary Duff and Amanda Bynes are about to graduate to the big time. On the heels of ”Agent Cody Banks”’ $14 million weekend, Disney Channel staple Duff is gearing up for the May 2 big-screen version of her quirky comedy ”Lizzie McGuire” and is set to star in Warner Bros. ”A Cinderella Story.” (We’ll see whether she appears in MGM’s just-announced Banks sequel.) ”It’s her combination of empowerment and vulnerability that’s accessible,” says Disney Channel exec Rich Ross, who agreed to end McGuire’s 65-episode run so that Duff could launch her film career. ”She’s authentic – you won’t see her on the cover of Maxim.” Meanwhile, Nickelodeon alum Bynes, who now stars on The WB’s ”What I Like About You,” plays a free-spirited teen in ”What a Girl Wants,” opening April 4. ”Everyone wanted this part,” says director Dennie Gordon. ”Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Alexis Bledel…but when I met Amanda, I knew she was the one to carry the movie. The boys think she’s hot, and the girls think she could be their best friend.”
(Hilary Duff: Paul Smith/Retna)
Posted March 26 2003 — 12:00 AM EST
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