Casting 17-year-old Lindsay Lohan in the title role of Disney's comedy ''Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen'' (in theaters) was hardly a stretch. Not only is the blond actress (and yes, soon-to-be singer) one of Gen Z's brightest stars, but she's also known for some real-life dramatics, thanks to an amusingly histrionic public feud with fellow junior celeb Hilary Duff. The ''Freaky Friday'' vet, who also stars in April's Tina Fey-penned ''Mean Girls,'' told reporters why she's sticking with teen movies for now, and why she's ready to stop quarreling with Duff -- even as she takes some new shots at her rival.
Are you planning a career as a pop singer?
I'm meeting with labels over the next weeks, so we'll see what happens. I want to do stuff that's a little different than pop. I don't want to be too pop -- my voice doesn't sound right singing pop.
You started in movies early. How did you handle the attention?
When I was younger, I didn't really know what was going on. When I did [1998's] ''The Parent Trap'' it was too much for me all at once. That's why I just went back to school, because it was really overwhelming. I left school for like seven and a half months, and didn't tell my friends I was going anywhere. I came back to school and they were like, ''Where were you?'' And I was like, ''Well, I was working.'' And then the movie came out and my friends were disappointed that I didn't tell them. So I just wanted to get back into being normal and being a teenager.
So what made you get back to acting?
I started seeing, like, other girls working more. I was bored just going to school, and I remembered what it was like working on movies. I kind of missed it, and I decided I wanted to do this again. So I went in for ''Freaky Friday'' -- which I didn't even want to do the first time I read it. But then they rewrote the script and I really liked it.
Both ''Drama Queen'' and ''Mean Girls'' are high school films -- is that something you're sticking with for a while?
I want to stay with my audience. And once I go do an older film, I can't really go backwards. It's not like I can do a romantic comedy and have young kids see it. The only thing that young kids can relate to is school stuff. I'm looking for a film that's a lot edgier, but I want to find something that's right. If I want to follow a Jodie Foster or Julia Roberts career, I can do romantic comedies. But I'm not going to be, like, taking my clothes off in a movie, that's not appropriate for me to do. [Laughs] I don't think you'll ever see me doing that.
Is there more drama in Hollywood or in high school?
I think it's the same on different levels. When you're an actress you have reporters writing about you, so it probably gets bigger when you're in the industry. Everyone reads about it, and everyone believes what they read sometimes. You have to brush it off, like, you know what happens. If you let it get to you, you'll never be happy.
So what about you and Hilary Duff?
I have no problem with her.
But does she have a problem with you?
Maybe, I don't know. I don't think she should. She doesn't need to do that. Her career's going great. I don't think it helps to try and get people kicked out of premieres and stuff like that. [A rep for Duff and her mother denied reports that they tried to bar Lohan from the L.A. ''Cheaper by the Dozen'' premiere.] I wish her the best of luck, there's nothing else to say about that. But if my mom got involved in something, I'd be very embarrassed. My mom would never do that.
Right. So what's the deal with ''Mean Girls''?
It's a cool script. It's a little bit more mature than ''Drama Queen'' -- I don't think I'd let my younger sister see it. It's a step up. It's kind of a dark comedy -- not ridiculously inappropriate or anything, but more like ''SNL'' comedy. I had a great time, and the best thing that's come out of it is being able to host ''SNL'' May 1. We'll have really funny skits relating to [the Duff feud].
So do you play a mean girl or a nice girl?
It's kind of cool -- my character changes throughout the film. She starts out really innocent, and goes into this school and falls into the wrong crowd, trying to take one of the mean girls down. But she becomes the mean girl, and loses her sense of who she is. Then her friends bring her back to being grounded. It's hysterical, but if you do have a clique of really mean girls in your school, it shows how you can handle them.