Ashley Tisdale is ready to get down and dirty with the bad boys of FX’s Sons of Anarchy. Tisdale has been cast for a multi-episode story arc in the upcoming fifth season as Emma Jean, who has been described as “a high-priced desirable escort” who complicates life for the already strained club.

The racy new role marks the twenty-six-year-old’s transition to a more “mature” actress, having been known primarily for her portrayals of glitzy drama queen, Sharpay Evans, in Disney’s High School Musical franchise and the candy-counter girl on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. Tisdale’s most recent TV role was on the CW’s short-lived cheerleading dramedy Hellcats.

The High School Musical star will join previously announced guest stars Jimmy Smits (as gang member Neron ‘Nero’ Padilla), real life biker-turned-actor Chuck Zito, and former Lost star Harold Perrineau (as Damon Pope, an ex-drug kingpin who has his sights set on SOA and its new president).

New season 5 cast: Jimmy Smits, Chuck Zito and Harold Perrineau

The casting of Tisdale may come off as a weird and completely unexpected choice, but this is hardly the first time the series has made somewhat unusual casting choices that turned out to pay off in the end (David Hasselhoff and Tom Arnold both appeared in previous seasons). Zito’s upcoming appearance follows a (failed) lawsuit against FX in 2010, which led to a disagreement between Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter and Zito. The two have since resolved their disagreement.

Whether or not you’re in the age group to fully appreciate the talents of Ashley Tisdale, she’s actually a fairly versatile actress who will probably pull off a sexy escort rather convincingly. Following in the footsteps of Zac Efron, her new edgy role is a step toward becoming better known by a more mature audience for something other than teenybopper projects. As a fan of Sons of Anarchy, I trust the producers’ casting decisions, so I’ll give Tisdale a shot and wish her luck.

Season five of Sons of Anarchy premieres on FX this September.

Source: Zap2It