Ryan Guzman and Kathryn McCormick in "Step Up Revolution" (Sam Emerson, SMPSP )
In 2006, "Step Up" didn't just jumpstart the career of Channing Tatum (who's having a banner year with
"The Vow," "21 Jump Street" and "Magic Mike") and introduce him to his wife, "Step Up" co-star Jenna Dewan. The film sparked a franchise whose fourth installment,"Step Up Revolution," opens Friday.
"Revolution" features"So You Think You Can Dance"standout Kathryn McCormick and Ryan Guzman (a commercial actor and print model) in their first major film roles. McCormick plays Emily, aspiring professional dancer and love interest of Sean (Guzman), a lowly staffer at Emily’s father’s hotel who dances with a local group called The Mob. They show off their skills through flash mobs around Miami; first, the pop-up performances are just to seek exposure, but they turn into a protest against a hotel development that would bulldoze the neighborhood Sean and his friends grew up in.
Before talking to the co-stars about filming in Miami, the variety of dance styles in the movie and whether Guzman intends to follow in Tatum's "Magic Mike" footsteps, we kicked off our recent interview at the Trump Hotel with a dance battle.
Well, sort of. Since Guzman, 24, and McCormick, 22, weren't permitted to dance for our camera, we asked them to choose who would win a faceoff between dance movie stars of the past, ranging from Ren McCormack in "Footloose" to Jody in "Center Stage." (Click on the video above to hear their picks. Spoiler: They don't always agree!)
The first three movies in the franchise rely on a school dance recital or a competition/battle to give a reason for the dancing. That's not the case in this movie, right?
Kathryn McCormick: The movie wouldn’t be possible without dance. It’s dancing for a greater purpose and standing up for something that you really believe in, knowing that dance is something that you can use to do that, and that’s completely different than all the other “Step Up”s that we’ve had.
Ryan Guzman: And I think the last dance, the one that actually ends the movie, it's actually a callout to speak out about what you believe in, so I don’t think they prepare for it really, during the whole movie and that’s what I love about it. It’s not just leading into this finale--it's actually what they felt at the moment.
I think when our readers think “flash mob,” they think of the kind that Oprah did on Michigan Avenue. What can you tell us about the difference?
RG: Our flash mobs are pumped up like a thousand times, so we’re jumping off of cars … we got every style of hip-hop, we got contemporary, we got salsa.
KM: It’s people that have trained their whole lives. And flash mobs, people will be like, “Another 'Step Up' and they have flash mobs? Come on?” And it’s like, no, flash mobs are actually really relevant in the sense that people do them all over the world and it brings people together. It unites people through dance. But on top of that, we have dancers who have trained their entire lives to do this in those flash mobs, so it’s not necessarily the ones where you’re like waving your hands, but we’re putting on full shows for people.
It’s also not just street dance in this “Step Up.” Can you tell us about the variety of dance people will see?
KM: We have a contemporary duet for the first time that you’ve never seen in a film before, which I love. Jazz, salsa, all forms of hip-hop. You have every single different style that you can imagine, and on top of that, it brings so much versatility to it. And the music, if you think about it, so many times you see battling and it’s always the same type of music throughout the entire movie, but this one has all different styles of music because it has all different styles of dancing.
Kathryn, I think a lot of our readers will remember you as a finalist on the sixth season of “So You Think You Can Dance,” and you’ve also come back to the show as an all-star. Who else from “SYTYCD” can our readers keep an eye out for in the cast?
KM: There are a lot, actually. Twitch has been a part for 3 and 4. Phillip Chbeeb, Tony Bellisimo. Billy Bell plays a small role in the contemporary [scene], so does Nick Lazzarini. Travis Wall was a choreographer on set, so was Chris Scott. Mia Michaels. Jamal Sims, who has choreographed on “SYTYCD,” Chuck Maldonado who has choreographed … everyone kind of choreographed on “SYTYCD!”
RG: And we’ve got a little secret: We’ve got one guy that’s on “So You Think” right now, that actually you can look out for: Brandon Mitchell. Yeah, he’s doing amazing on the show. We hope the best for him. We hope he does great on it, but he killed it in this movie.