When Miley Cyrus was promoting 'The Last Song,' her first major movie outside of the 'Hannah Montana' franchise, she talked extensively to reporters about wanting to continue doing "serious" movies.

"Hopefully, people will take me seriously as an actress," she said at a press conference for the film.

And some reviews for the Nicholas Sparks-penned movie did highlight that Cyrus was pretty good. Entertainment Weekly called her "a really interesting movie star in the making," and Roger Ebert predicted she'd be playing heroines along the lines of Ashley Judd as she got older.

But could that path have been diverted today? Video footage surfaced of the young starlet smoking what sources say is the legal psychedlic salvia out of a bong at a party on her 18th birthday.

Though the drug is legal, and though Cyrus was of legal age, the (fairly innocent, if annoyingly giggly) video doesn't look good for someone who was once a 'Disney' commodity and a supposed role model for young people. (Although, come on, any parent "shocked" by this video should also get their eyes and ears checked out ASAP.)
Miley Cyrus Bong Hit Video

But what does this "revelation" say about Cyrus' plans for a budding movie career? For roles like the one she played in 'Hannah Montana' or 'The Last Song,' it's probably the end of the line.

But, come to think of it, that may not be such a bad thing.

Maybe this scandal-inducing clip will catapult Cyrus into darker, more mature roles. It could be just the catalyst she needs to leave her cookie-cutter roles behind forever.

She could play a hooker with a heart of gold, or a struggling teen mother, or a serial killer or, heck, even a drug addict (if it's not too soon to be tongue-in-cheek). She could get in with Robert Rodriguez or Zack Snyder -- even Quentin Tarantino.

She could make a movie like 'Half Nelson' (that's about drugs!) or one about debauchery in general, like fellow-former child star Macaulay Culkin did with 'Party Monster.' She could try to emulate Jodie Foster or Natalie Portman, who both matured from child actors to legitimate movie stars. Maybe she could even go for relevent comedy and try to snag a role in Judd Apatow's next stoner flick.

All is not lost!

Cyrus is young enough that a drug scandal will hardly taint her career forever (here's lookin' at you, Robert Downey Jr. and Drew Barrymore). But she would do well to focus herself on channelling that rebellion into better movie roles, instead of riding the Lohan-train to Disaster-Town, if she still wants to become a "serious actress."

Watch Miley Cyrus in 'The Last Song'

Hannah Montana: The Movie
Based on 25 critics

Soaring popularity threatens to take over the teen phenomenon's (Miley Cyrus) life. Read More

The Last Song
Based on 27 critics

A man uses a shared love of music to try to reconnect with his estranged daughter. Read More

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