Xtina gets sexy

 

After years of resisting it, Christina Aguilera is making her feature film debut in the big-screen musical Burlesque, starring opposite musical icon and Oscar-winning actress Cher.

After years of resisting it, Christina Aguilera is making her feature film debut in the big-screen musical Burlesque, starring opposite musical icon and Oscar-winning actress Cher.

``I was just waiting for the right project to feel really passionate about,'' says Aguilera, who turns 30 next month. ``I just didn't want to be that music-to-movies artist who just had to do it to do it.''

Aguilera plays Ali Rose, a small-town Iowa girl with a big voice and big dreams. So she heads to Los Angeles, where she happens upon a burlesque lounge and immediately sets out to become one of the girls, who are ruled by the club's glamorous owner, Tess (Cher). There is, of course, rivalry with another dancer, Ricki (Kristen Bell), and love is in the air, with a bartender (Cam Gigandet) and a charismatic entrepreneur (Eric Dane) vying for her attention.

Aguilera became heavily involved in the (reported) $55 million project, from choosing costumes to writing and performing songs, including the title number.

The part also jibed with the singer's own passion for old Tinseltown. She lists All About Eve with Bette Davis, Meet Me in St. Louis with Judy Garland and ``a lot of Marilyn movies'' as among her favorites. In one scene, the girls in the club even dance and lip-synch to the classic Monroe and Jane Russell number Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend.

``I love old Hollywood glamour and the screen sirens, the way things were shot back then through those star filters,'' she says.

Though she's been in the spotlight for more than a decade, Aguilera says making the transition to the big screen was tough for her: ``I'm used to music videos, but doing a movie musical, that's a whole different animal.''

Aguilera's acting experience has been pretty much limited to her days on The Mickey Mouse Club. She says producers weren't anxious for her to take acting lessons before shooting because they preferred her to ``stay fresh and organic.''

``But I actually met with a couple of people anyway because I felt that if I'm really going to do this . . . I wanted all the info I could possibly get.''

She also avoided watching herself in dailies. ``I wanted to stay focused on the work and not get caught up in anybody's reactions or start to get on myself. I'm an extreme perfectionist. I just wanted to focus on being Ali and not be swayed.''

The singer even found that performing the music was different.

``I had no mike. It wasn't like a live performing-type situation where I concentrate on vocals first, dancing second. Here, we recorded the vocals first and then solely, wholeheartedly concentrated on the dancing.''

Aguilera has more big news -- filing for divorce last month from her husband of five years, music marketing executive Jordan Bratman. The couple have a nearly 3-year-old son, Max.

``The most important thing is that my son is happy and he always will be. He's surrounded by love,'' was all that the diva would offer on the subject.

Aguilera says she's not rushing into anything and will start looking at other film projects after she's done promoting Burlesque.

``I'm in a very introspective place in my life right now,'' she says.

``I'm just really excited about what this next chapter of my

life has in store for me.''

-- ROB

LOWMAN

-- Los Angeles

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