UPDATE: Vanessa Hudgens will NOT be joining the cast of New Moon.

From Entertainment Weekly via SHH!:

“Sources inside Summit Entertainment and Hudgens’ camp tell EW that the filmmakers aren’t looking at the star (best known as High School Musical’s Gabriella Montez) for any role in the soon-to-be-shooting Twilight followup.”

Original post continues…

Just when you thought the Twilight franchise couldn’t possibly get anymore appealing to the intended demographic… News has come out regarding the anticipated vampire sequel New Moon that High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens is possibly being cast in the role of Leah Clearwater, a character described as “a feisty werewolf.”

The reaction to the news/rumor that Hudgens has auditioned for the role has been mixed, with some web commenters saying things like, “I cannot picture her being mean or aggressive as Leah,” and, “…Of course she can’t look like Leah — no one can. You know why? ‘Cause it’s just a book, and these are actors trying to portray the roles! I think she would be great.” “Twilight actress Ashley Greene spoke positively of the notion commenting, “I think she’d be great.”

Yeah, but doesn’t a potential fellow cast member have to say that?

Since I haven’t read the original books I can’t comment either way on whether or not Hudgens would be a good pick to play the role. I then have to go purely on descriptions given (such as “feisty werewolf”) and simply whether or not I think Hudgens is a good fit for the next instalment in the movie franchise.

And I am definitely on the “poor choice” side of the fence.

I just can’t see her portraying what is supposed to be a “mean and aggressive” werewolf – she just seems too delicate and cutesy for that kind of thing.

However from a money-making point of view I can totally see why the studio would consider casting her. She’s already a huge draw because of the ludicrously popular High School Musical franchise and it therefore would bring any of those devoted fans (and I don’t need to tell you there are legions of them) over to the Twilight franchise (although most of those are probably fans of it already).

Personally I don’t like the direction they’re taking this franchise with the next installment – first they get rid of Catherine Hardwicke as director and replace her with someone else (I can’t quite figure out why they did that, giving the job to the director of the not very well received The Golden Compass – Hardwicke did a perfectly good job translating it onto the big-screen), then they push for a late 2009 release date effectively rushing the production of it and now they are thinking about casting someone simply because of their popularity.

Is it just me or does this collectively all sound a bit iffy?

Whatever happens, Hudgens or no Hudgens, New Moon is going to make just as much, if not more, than the first film – which did very well especially considering it was just an introduction to a new movie franchise. It looks like the studio has really struck gold with these books.

So what do you make of Hudgens possibly being cast as Leah Clearwater – think she’s a good fit for the character?

New Moon is set to hit theatres on November 20th this year.

Source: MTV