According to Billy Ray Cyrus, there would be no Hannah Montana without Canada.
“That’s the reason we’re all here,” said the musician-turned-actor about the success of his daughter Miley and her hit TV series-turned-movie, Hannah Montana — in theatres next Friday. “If it weren’t for our Toronto, Canada, roots, I don’t think any of this would be going on right now.”
Cyrus spent four years in Toronto shooting Doc, a television drama. It was where young Miley would get a feel for the film set and where she, during a production of Mamma Mia! at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, revealed her intentions to her dad.
“Midway through the show, I specifically remember Miley leaning over to me, (and saying), ‘This is what I want to do,’” said Cyrus. “She started taking classes the next week.”
Since then, Miley has become a huge star with hit albums, movies and even a bestselling memoir. The incredible success may be a baffling phenomenon to anyone out of adolescence, but it can surely be attributed to the popularity of Hannah Montana.
“One of the realisms about the film and the magic of Hannah Montana is that Miley is undeniably the one and only Miley — that’s just who she is,” said Cyrus, who also plays her proud papa on screen.
“Part of what’s going on with the phenomenon of Hannah Montana, and particularly this movie, is there’s a realism that every kid can relate to.”
The story of a quiet country girl who leads a double-life as a crowd-chased pop sensation, Hannah Montana also cuts dangerously close to the truth. Cyrus recalls even having to move houses early on when fans began showing up asking for Hannah Montana.
“It was a really crazy, crazy time period,” admits Cyrus, before pointing out how reminiscent it was to his own skyrocket to stardom in the early ’90s with the overnight hit, Achy Breaky Heart.
“That was an incredible run of momentum and I felt that same momentum coming with Hannah Montana; although at this stage of the game, it feels like this has been four years building.
“I think I’m going to be fortunate enough to get to do it twice.”