Hannah Montana is arguably one of the most popular characters that emerged in the late 2000s. The popularity of the character is often attributed to how well-written she was while also being portrayed excellently by Miley Cyrus, an American singer who was the daughter of known country musician Billy Ray Cyrus and was an up-and-coming figure in Hollywood when Hannah Montana first aired in 2006.
This article delves into the captivating universe of Hannah Montana, exploring the intriguing facts that lie behind the glitter and glam of the iconic TV show. From its inception as a Disney Channel original to becoming a global sensation, Hannah Montana captured the hearts of millions with its unique blend of music, comedy, and teenage drama. As we peel back the layers of this much-loved series, we uncover the lesser-known aspects of its creation, the impact it had on its audience, and the legacy it left behind.
Hannah Montana as a Character
Hannah Montana is a fictional character that appears in the television show “Hannah Montana,” which aired on the Disney Channel from 2006 to 2011. The character is actually the alter ego of a teenage girl named Miley Ray Stewart, whose name is inspired by the real name of Miley Cyrus.
Miley Ray Stewart is a normal teenager who goes to school and mingles with friends, while Hannah Montana is a world-famous pop star who often goes to shows and concerts. Miley Stewart created her alter ego in order to separate her normal life from her pop star life, as she believed that people would only like her because she was famous if she revealed that she was Hannah Montana. So, Miley tries her best to be as normal as possible if there aren’t any performances, shows, and concerts for Hannah Montana.
However, Miley Ray Stewart would eventually reveal her secret in the episode titled “I’ll Always Remember You,” which was the ninth episode of the show’s fourth season that originally aired on November 7, 2010. In the episode, Miley Stewart revealed her secret on The Jay Leno Show by taking off Hannah Montana’s blonde wig and singing a song titled “Wherever I Go” as herself.
The show ended four episodes later, with the last episode being titled “Wherever I Go.” The 98th and final episode of the Hannah Montana show aired on January 16, 2011, and it involves Miley Ray Stewart getting an offer from Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg to star in a movie. The offer raised tensions with her best friend, Lily, who expected that Miley would go to college with her in the year when the movie was going to be filmed.
Eventually, Miley Stewart decided to reject Spielberg and Cruise’s offer and go to college with Lilly. At the end of the episode, Miley surprises Lily in their dorm room, where she declares that she is Lilly’s new roommate. The scene that follows is a montage of various images taken from different episodes of the show while the song “I’ll Always Remember You” plays.
Miley Cyrus’s Audition for Hannah Montana
Miley Ray Stewart was originally going to be named Chloe Stewart, but the creators changed it after Miley Cyrus was chosen to play the role. At the age of 11, Miley Cyrus learned about the casting for a new TV show for Disney through a talent agent in Nashville. Cyrus sent an audition tape for the show’s best friend role, but she was contacted to audition for the lead role. She would then send a second tape to audition for the lead role and was flown to Hollywood to continue the audition process.
When she was in Hollywood, Cyrus was told that she was too small and too young for the lead role, but through her persistence, great acting skills, and amazing singing ability, she was later invited back for further auditions.
The pool of auditionees was narrowed down to three actresses, which included Miley Cyrus and an American singer and former child actress named Taylor Momsen (who would later be the frontwoman of a rock band called The Pretty Reckless). Miley Cyrus would be chosen to play the lead role for the new Disney TV show. According to Disney Channel president Gary Marsh, Miley Cyrus was picked because of her lively and energetic portrayal of the character during auditions.
Besides the name change for the lead character, Cyrus also influenced the casting of the character’s father, as Billy Ray Cyrus was chosen to play it. Miley Cyrus was wary at first about the casting of her real-life father, as she thought that people would think that she only got the role because of her dad. However, the casting of Billy Ray Cyrus for the role led to Miley Cyrus getting proper guidance while away from other members of her family.
Interesting Facts About Hannah Montana
- Influence of Real Names: Miley Stewart’s character was originally named Chloe Stewart. However, after Miley Cyrus was cast, the producers changed the character’s name to Miley to make it easier for her to respond to her character’s name.
- Theme Song Success: The show’s theme song, “The Best of Both Worlds,” was not only catchy but also encapsulated the show’s premise. It became a huge hit, reflecting the dual life that Miley Stewart leads in the series.
- Guest Stars Galore: “Hannah Montana” featured numerous guest stars, including Dolly Parton, who played Miley’s godmother, and other celebrities like the Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez, and Sheryl Crow.
- Cultural Impact: The show had a significant cultural impact, particularly influencing fashion trends among young audiences with Hannah Montana’s distinctive style, characterized by colorful, sequined, and trendy outfits.
- Merchandising Boom: Hannah Montana merchandise, including clothing, dolls, video games, and home décor, generated substantial revenue, showcasing the immense popularity and commercial success of the franchise.
- Tour Phenomenon: The “Best of Both Worlds” concert tour, featuring Miley Cyrus as both herself and Hannah Montana, was a massive success. The tour was so popular that it led to a 3D concert film, which also did well at the box office.
- Series Finale: The series concluded in January 2011 with a special one-hour episode. The finale brought closure to Hannah Montana’s journey, showcasing Miley Stewart’s decision to let go of her alter ego and embrace her true self, a poignant end to a show that had become a staple in the lives of many young viewers.
- A Movie Based on the Show: A movie titled “Hannah Montana: The Movie” was released in 2009 and was directed by Peter Chelsom, who also directed comedy films such as “Funny Bones (1995)” and “Serendipity (2001).” The movie focuses on Miley Ray Stewart taking a vacation in her hometown of Crowley Corners, Tennessee, in order to stay away from the spotlight as Hannah Montana for a while. The movie would gross more than $150 million against a $30 million budget.
The Best of Both Worlds
In reflecting on the fascinating journey of “Hannah Montana,” it becomes evident how this groundbreaking show left an indelible mark on the landscape of teen entertainment. The series not only catapulted its young star, Miley Cyrus, to international fame but also resonated with a generation grappling with the complexities of identity and fame. The dual-life concept, catchy music, relatable