Disney enlists 250 dancers from LXD, So You Think You Can Dance and around the world for first 3D dance film
by Julie Roth
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Today) 8/15/2010 – “Adam Shankman told us it would be one big boot camp and that’s exactly what it was,” says Step Up 3D star Sharni Vinson who hadn’t danced in five years. “That went on for weeks before shooting so by the time we got to that first day of filming, we were ready.”
“Casting for this franchise is always complicated,” says Step Up 3D producer Adam Shankman. “We needed people who can act and dance alongside the best b-boys and b-girls. It’s wonderful to showcase the kinds of dancers that you don’t get to see as often. These kids are incredible athletes.”
“To be able to deliver these dancers and New York into an audience’s lap in 3D so they can feel the rush and get sucked into this world was an opportunity we couldn’t miss,” says Step Up 3D director John Chu. “Dance really lends itself to 3D technology,” says Shankman. “It’s very exciting to marry the two and be the first to use this kind of technology to highlight this art form.”
“Dance is huge passion for Jon so what better director can you have for this film?” says Vinson. “He knows what he wants, he knows what looks good and he gets it. It’s exciting for the actors and dancers to bring what we can to the table and trust that he is going to turn it into this incredible movie.”
Shankman has experience auditioning dancers. He’s a judge on the Fox television series So You Think You Can Dance. One of the dancers from the series who was cast for Step Up 3D is season 4 runner-up Stephen “tWitch” Boss, with a co-starring role in Step Up 3D as Jason, the b-boy graffiti artist in the Pirate crew. More than 250 dancers were needed for the film’s six huge dance sequences.
“Our Los Angeles audition was so huge that we had to add multiple days,” says Chu. “There were thousands of people who turned out in each city to show what they could do. Then we hit the Internet and opened up auditions to anyone who wanted to submit their own dance audition video online. As a result we have dancers from all over the world in the film. It’s one of the most amazing collections of talent in one place at one time that’s ever been assembled for a movie.”
“The idea for the movie came a lot from LXD,” says Chu. “We were doing a show in my hometown, and the dancers were all staying at my house. Because they were always around, naturally, they were always moving or dancing. We had b-boys in my pool, poppers in my living room, contortionists in my kitchen…When it came time to cast, I had lots of ideas of who I wanted to recruit from the LXD and put in Step Up 3D.”
LXD: The League of Extraordinary Dancers, is Jon Chu’s online video series that already had 50,000 fans on Facebook before it even launched. After directing Step Up 2 the Streets, Chu created the online series to keep the dancers together and provide an outlet for dance. The series shoot on an Old West backlot.The group has performed on So You Think You Can Dance and at the 2010 Academy Awards.
Jon Chu is currently directing Paramount Pictures 3D feature film about Justin Bieber. The teenage singing sensation is already being filmed for behind-the-scenes footage, from his concert in Nashville to his August 31st performance in Madison Square Garden.
Step Up 3D strives to bring a passion to the screen that goes beyond the dance community to bring together a diverse audience. “The message is consistent in all three films…believe in yourself,” says producer Jennifer Gibgot. “If you believe in yourself, you can overcome any obstacle that you are faced with in life and acheive your dreams. And, it’s an incredibly fun way to spend an hour and a half…watching amazing dance and listening to great music.”
Step Up 3D
- Running time: 1 hr. 37 min.
- Release date: August 6, 2010
- MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language.
- Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures