'So You Think You Can Dance's' Nigel Lythgoe Attends 'Step Up Revolution' Premiere
So You Think You Can Dance creator Nigel Lythgoe attended the Step Up Revolution premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on Tuesday night to support his Season 6 favorite, Kathryn McCormick in her lead film debut.
When McCormick first competed on FOX’s SYTYCD in 2009, she initially made a dramatic impression with her high-pitched voice and ever flowing tears. Yet the contemporary dancer collected votes for excelling in all genres of dance and placed third in the show’s sixth season. Such a performance can be considered a very early audition for the lead role in Step Up Revolution.
“There’s all different styles of hip hop, contemporary, contemporary jazz, salsa -- all different styles of dancing, which you don’t normally see in a dance movie,” McCormick told The Hollywood Reporter. “The first Step Up, where everyone fell in love with Channing [Tatum] and Jenna [Dewan-Tatum], you only see a lot of contemporary and hip hop.”
Seasoned SYTYCD choreographer Travis Wall, responsible for the film’s contemporary routines, praised McCormick’s abilities on the red carpet. “I was so blessed to have her as the actress I had to work with. I was nervous coming into it because I was like, can I get the best product that I want? Because of her, my dreams came true on this movie.”
Fellow choreographer Chuck Maldonado echoed the sentiment. “I didn’t know who the lead was until I got to Miami,” he told THR. “When I found out it was her, I was excited because I knew that we had a lead that can really dance.”
SYTYCD choreographers and alumni competitors came to back McCormick in her lead debut, including Kent Boyd, Jeanine Mason and Nick Lazzarini. Additionally, previous leading ladies of the franchise, Sharni Vinson of Step Up 2: The Streets and Alison Stoner of Step Up 3D, attended to support their former costars in the fourth installment.
“I’ve only seen a few of them since the last movie, so it’s been a rekindling of friendships and a reunion,” said Stoner to THR. “[I’m looking forward to] all of my friends tearing it up like they’ve never done before.”
Stars of various dance-related projects also attended, ranging from Kenny Wormald of Footloose and Nicole Anderson of Make It or Break It to Robbie Jones of Hellcats and Abby Lee Miller of Lifetime’s Dance Moms. The film’s soundtrack -- featuring a mix of hip hop, dubstep and a ballad by The Cinematic Orchestra -- blasted loudly while fans cheered in front of the theatre.
The red carpet kicked off with a live mural spray painting and a flash mob routine, choreographed by head choreographer Jamal Sims, Dondraico 'Draico' Johnson and Christopher Scott.
“The group that performed pretty much learned that whole routine in about two hours,” explained Justin ‘Jet Li’ Valles, member of America’s Best Dance Crew’s winning group Poreotics who appears in the film. Dressed in white button-downs, black trousers, Converse All Stars and matching fedoras, the film’s dancers hyped up the fans with a routine set to Timbaland’s “Hands in the Air,” complete with stunts on jumping stilts.
In Step Up Revolution, Jon M. Chu steps down from the director’s chair after directing the franchise’s second and third films. He still serves as executive producer alongside Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot, while his colleague from the popular web series, The LXD, inherited the top title.
“I think every filmmaker that comes to Step Up has the exciting challenge of doing something different and unique,” said director Scott Speer, who attended the premiere with girlfriend Ashley Tisdale on his arm. “I think that Anne [Fletcher] did that, I think Jon did that, and I really wanted to step up -- no pun intended -- and put in my chapter and what I could do differently that’s new and fresh.”
The shift in leadership didn’t shake anything up on set. “It was a very smooth transition,” said choreographer Christopher Scott of Chu and Speer. “They have the same mentality that I love, which is to show dance and make it beautiful. They’re very involved in every single shot. It felt like home, both times.”
Speer’s “tremendous challenge” was not only filling Chu’s shoes, but also focusing on a very specific -- and timely -- dance format and storyline.
“There’s no more battling in this movie at all,” Ryan Guzman told THR of Step Up Revolution’s premise. “We’re doing all flash mobs right now, so, I think it opens it up a little more. We’re doing protest art and showing you what we’re all about through our dance.”
Speer called the film’s spotlight on collective action coincidental. “When we wrote the script, it was long before Occupy Wall Street. [Youth protest] wasn’t very much in the public consciousness at the time, but it just felt right; it felt like what kids are about -- they’re on Facebook, they’re on Twitter. I wanted to make this a movie for the digital age. I wanted to make this a movie for the Millennial generation. I think if kids are faced with a challenge these days, that’s how they would react. And indeed, that’s what they’ve done.”
Head choreographer Jamal Sims thoughtfully considered the attitudes of today’s youth when designing the film’s dance sequences. “I always say, ‘If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.’ That’s an old saying, but it’s the truth,” he explained to THR. “Hopefully, people will see these dancers being passionate about what they do, and hopefully it’ll resonate with them to want to go out and make this world a better place. Period. I know it sounds corny, but that’s what it is.”
The film was screened in 3D, complete with glasses branded with the film’s title and Miami palm trees. Exciting dance moves, romantic film moments and cameos from previous Step Up characters were met with shouts and cheers from the audience. Afterwards, the cast and crew crossed Hollywood Boulevard to celebrate at the Tropicana at the Roosevelt Hotel.
Step Up Revolution arrives in theaters nationwide on July 27, 2012.