Natasha Bassett, the 23-year-old Australian actress starring in Lifetime’s Britney Spears biopic, “Britney Ever After,” rigorously prepared to portray the pop icon.
But there was one scene in the movie (premiering Saturday at 8 p.m.) that no amount of training could prepare her for: holding a python.
“That was, hands-down, the worst scene to film, and I didn’t think it would be,” Bassett tells The Post of re-creating Spears’ famous 2001 VMAs performance with an albino Burmese python.
“I did a lot of survival trips in Australia. We witness brown snakes all the time and they’re lethal — but they’re not 7 ft. long,” she says. “We had to do about 10 takes [of that scene], so by the end, me and that python were best friends. It became easier each take, but I had producers to the side of the camera asking me these completely off-topic questions the whole time to distract me from the fact that I had this giant python wrapped around me.”
The two-hour movie follows Spears, now 35, through the highs and lows of her rollercoaster career: Her skyrocket to fame in 1998 with the hit single “… Baby One More Time,” her relationship with Justin Timberlake (the whole NSYNC gang is portrayed in the movie), quickie marriage to Kevin Federline (and subsequent divorce), her mental breakdown and infamous head-shaving incident, and the eventual career resuscitation that led to her current Las Vegas residency.
(The singer’s reps said in a statement when the movie was announced that “Britney Spears will not be contributing in any way, shape or form to the Lifetime biopic nor does it have her blessing.”)
Bassett (“Hail, Caesar!”) grew up listening to Spears’ music as a child in Sydney, performing catwalks in her bedroom with a fake microphone in hand, lip-synching her pop tunes in the mirror. But when the actress found out she got the part, she had only a week to become a Britney expert.
She set out to read every biography of Spears she could get her hands on and watched every TV interview available online to study the singer’s facial expressions, physical movements, and tone of voice. She immediately started taking dance lessons and talking in a Louisiana accent. She even created a collage of images that represented different moments in Spears’ life and hung a copy in her apartment and her trailer on the Vancouver set.
“If I wasn’t playing Britney Spears [music] in my car, I would feel guilty,” Bassett says. “Every second I wasn’t filming or rehearsing, I had headphones stuck in my phone and her interviews playing on YouTube. I didn’t break out of accent the entire shoot.
“I was thinking about Britney 24 hours a day.”
Bassett did go see Spears’s Vegas show after filming wrapped (“I was blown away”), but other than that, she hasn’t had any communication with her real-life alter-ego, though she would like to meet her someday.
“I hope she sees the film and knows how much respect I have for her,” she says. “I learned a great deal about her playing Britney. It’s really inspired me to become more honest and strong in the decisions I make in my life because there’s a fearlessness to Britney that I really respect.”
“Britney Ever After” 8 p.m. Saturday on Lifetime
Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.