Sunday, May 13, 2007

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Interview from MediaBLVD.com

Check out this Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan interview that I just found where they talk all about how they get their parts and about the dancing in the movie Step Up. Enjoy!!!

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Talk About Dancing In 'Step Up'
By Christina Radish

When a defiant rebel from the wrong side of Baltimore’s tracks meets a privileged dancer from an elite performing arts school, they quickly discover that their worlds couldn’t be more different. But, when their fates collide, the sparks begin to fly. Featuring an exciting cast of multi-talented young newcomers, the Touchstone Pictures feature Step Up is a gritty story of transcendence driven by music and dance.

Already on the path to establishing himself as a breakout star, 26-year-old Alabama native Channing Tatum plays Tyler Gage, who has grown up all his life on the rough streets of the city. After a brush with the law lands Tyler with a community service gig at the Maryland School of the Arts, he meets Nora (played by dancer-turned-actress Jenna Dewan), the school’s prima ballerina, who is desperately searching for someone to replace her injured partner before the school’s Senior Showcase. Spying Tyler’s moves, Nora can’t help but notice that he’s got a raw but natural gift, and she decides to take a chance on him for the showcase.

Sporting a black suit coat and slacks with a knit vest and white shirt, Tatum, a former model and athlete, sat down with MediaBlvd Magazine at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, to talk about his latest role.

“The audition was different than I thought it was going to be,” says Tatum, “but it was still nerve wracking. Going in and auditioning for [director/choreographer] Anne Fletcher was a huge thing for me because I’m pretty insecure about my dancing. I had never been trained before. But, I know what I like to do. And, she said, ‘You know, you’re good.’”

Wearing a vintage Betsey Johnson purple and white sundress, 25-year-old Connecticut native Jenna Dewan had the dance training that Tatum lacked. Dancing since the age of 5, Dewan has been seen in dozens of music videos and toured with P. Diddy and Janet Jackson as a dancer, before breaking out into films.

“I went in and, first, auditioned the acting,” the petite beauty tells MediaBlvd. “I screen tested with Channing because he had already gotten the part. It was a chemistry test with him. Then, I did a dance audition the next day where a choreographer taught me something and I danced, and they put me on tape. After that, there were various different callbacks, talking to the producer, and changing my hair color. After about three weeks, they said, ‘Okay, you’ve got the part,’ and I screamed and jumped up and down, and was very relieved.”

Surrounding Tatum and Dewan in Step Up is an accomplished cast of multi-talented newcomers, all of whom had to rehearse, in order to prepare for their roles. “We had four weeks of rehearsals before filming began, so we danced eight hours a day,” says Dewan, who can next be seen in The Grudge 2, due out in October. “On top of that, we had scene rehearsals with the director and the cast. For me, it was just about creating the layers of a character that is somebody you can relate to. Although Nora was very similar to myself, when I was her age, there were a lot of differences that I wanted to create. I did a lot of scene work, backstory and character development, that I had been training for, when I got into acting. On top of that, we had tons of scene rehearsals with the director and the script changed so many times. I had a backstory and character developed for every situation, so I was prepared.”

Tatum admits that he was quite nervous about working with so many trained dancers. “I had to learn how to count music. I didn’t know how to do that at all. Your body has to learn the choreography and your mind has to learn it, and you’ve got to connect the two sometimes. One of them always remembers it more than the other, and just getting them to work together is the big key. Aside from that, you learn the dances in a closed environment, like a dance studio, and then they throw you out in front of people, and you’re like, ‘You all are going to be here while I’m doing this?’ It’s really strange. It makes me pinch myself every day that I did a dancing movie. It was an amazing experience.”

Most recognizable for his work in She’s The Man, as the object of Amanda Bynes’ affection, and last year’s Coach Carter, opposite Samuel L. Jackson, Tatum says that, if it wasn’t for Dewan, he doesn’t know how he would have made it through the dancing in Step Up. “I was nervous with the partnering at first, but I actually got the partnering better than some of the other stuff. It’s easy for a guy to be a partner, especially if he’s working with someone that knows what they’re doing, like Jenna does. I don’t know how much partnering she had done before, but I don’t know how I would have done it without her. We were auditioning other actors that didn’t know how to dance, and it just would have never worked, in a million years, because they’d have had to get a dance double, which would have been fake and unbelievable. Jenna walked in and gave an amazing read and, after she danced, it was all over.”

“You can find an actor that knows how to dance or freestyle a bit. But, as far as finding an actor that had done professional, technical stuff, that was a huge thing. Tyler takes the choreography and makes it his own, so I could manipulate it. Jenna had to be dead on. And, I learned so much from her. I was falling on my face every five minutes, or would just forget the steps, and she just said, ‘You just have to make it work. You have to plunder through it, whether it’s good or bad, and just get it done.’ You want to make it as good as possible, which is why you work so hard, so I was nervous.”

Dewan, who counts Dirty Dancing, Cry Baby, Footloose and Flashdance among her favorite dance films, has nothing but praise for her co-star. “Channing is such a good dancer on his own. He really has so much natural talent. He had danced in clubs and had done street dancing, so when it came to the partnering and the more technical side of dance, Anne would teach him the choreography and then, if something just didn’t feel right, I’d help. But, he actually picked it up really quickly. It wasn’t something that was hard for him. It was pretty fun and we got along great.”

The success of such recent dance films as Honey and Save the Last Dance shows that it is a subject that resonates with audiences. “Dancing movies are good because they have a formula,” says Tatum, who will next be seen in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, due out in late September. “Step Up sets itself apart because we do all of our own dancing. There’s not one take in this whole movie where we’re not doing our own stuff. We didn’t even have dance doubles. There have been movies that were incredible dance movies that had some of the most amazing dancers in L.A., but some of the story could have been better. And, you have some other dance movies that don’t have much dancing in them. I hope that we have an even keel. I hope the story is good and I hope that the dancing is enough. We didn’t want to make an hour and a half long music video. We wanted to have a decent story with no gratuitous dancing.”

“I think that dance is universal,” says Dewan, of the appeal for films about dance. “People love dance. Who doesn’t like to go watch dance movies, whether you can do it or you just want to see someone do it really well. It’s a way of expressing yourself creatively. Dance is something everybody relates to. You leave with that uplifting, invigorating feeling when you see a really good dance performance.

Source: MediaBLVD

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