Previous “Step Up” movies have starred Channing Tatum and Robert Hoffman. In each one, romantic drama is intertwined with the latest dance moves and music chart toppers.
“Step Up Revolution” is based in Miami. Emily (McCormick) is the daughter of Bill Anderson (Peter Gallagher), owner of Dimont Hotel. Friends Sean (Guzman) and Eddy (Misha Gabriel) work at the hotel as waiters during the day and dance with “The Mob” at night. The dance group catches Emily’s eye. The aspiring dancer is intrigued, much to the chagrin of her father. Conflict inevitably arises, and resolutions must be reached — in business, life and love.
McCormick is a Georgia native and competed on Season 6 of Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.” As a first-time leading lady, she said her dance background eased her transition to the big screen.
“I realized that being on a show like ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ you’re constantly put in a position to tell a story through your body,” she said. “I feel like that has prepared me in a way to connect my mind and life experiences to what I am actually doing and realizing that telling a story is greater than yourself because there are other people around you that need to hear it. Acting is more vulnerable. It shows a lot more about the person that you are.”
Guzman is a former model and mixed martial arts fighter with neither a dancing nor acting background. However, he said being aware of his body plus the support of the cast was helpful.
“You’re dancing with some of the best dancers in the world, and I’m not a dancer,” he said. “The best thing about it was that I was around all these people that were the best at what they did. You could pull from so much. I feel blessed, for sure, for the people around me. It was fun the whole time.”
While McCormick and Guzman were new to the screen, Sims is a veteran, although mainly behind the scenes. His accomplishments include choreography in 2011’s remake of “Footloose” with Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough, the Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour show by Cirque du Soleil and all four “Step Up” movies.
“When we started with the first one, we didn’t know the success it was going to have and how many people it would actually touch,” Sims said. “To see it grow each time, it just always keeps me coming back because I want to make better movies and get better dancing in there. It’s always a challenge because you don’t know how to top the last one because everyone is expecting you to. I live on challenges. I love it.”
This film and the third installment are both in 3-D, but Sims said this doesn’t pose major challenges to choreography. He said the flash mob aspect of “Step Up Revolution” will incorporate new things never before seen in the films that will make people look twice, such as dancers on top of bouncing cars with hydraulic systems.
Guzman said, “I don’t think anybody has seen anything like this in a movie. Dance is more than just dance. It’s emotional and spiritual. It’s a movement for sure.”
Dancing is still on McCormick’s radar, although she would like to explore acting. She said, “I’m still dancing. I’m in acting classes as well. I’m just trying to train and be prepared for any opportunity. I’m just riding with it, doing my homework and seeing where it leads.”
Although he hasn’t completely put fighting on the backburner, Guzman has developed an intense interest, inspired by this experience.
“Dance is a new love of mine,” he said. “I engulfed myself it and took it home with me so it’s pretty much every single day. But my main love outside of acting is MMA. My last fight was a loss — I can’t end on that!”
From professional dancers to rhythmless people, Sims said this movie has something for everyone: “The dancing in this movie is not just for one type of person. It covers the whole spectrum. Also, the music is current. You will feel like you are a part of something that is moving forward.”