Nicholas Galitzine on ‘High Strung’ by Uinterview

Nicholas Galitzine stars opposite ballerina Keenan Kampa in the new dance flick High Strung.

Nicholas Galitzine On ‘High Strung’

In High Strung, Galitzine plays Johnnie, a young British violist busking in the New York City subways to make ends meet, and with the hopes of somehow making it as a musician. Eventually he meets Ruby (Kampa), a classical ballerina, who is his opposite in myriad ways. Despite their differences, they’re drawn to one another, and Ruby ends up helping to devise a plan to get Johnnie into an elite conservatory.

CHECK OUT: NICHOLAS GALITZINE’S uBIO – THIS HISTORY, IN HIS WORDS

“[Johnnie] teams up with this hip hop crew that lives on the floor above him and, obviously, with Ruby, who’s a stunning ballerina,” Galitzine explained. “So you eventually have this very crazy fusion of classical music meets hip hop music meets hip hop dancing meets ballet.”

While Galitzine appears to be an accomplished musician himself playing Johnnie in High Strung, the actor was unfamiliar with the instrument before landing the part. Prior to his casting, he had only played guitar.

“They gave me some time before and during the filming where I had very extensive crash course training. I had an amazing tutor in London, and then throughout the filming, sort of day and night whenever I wasn’t filming I was kind of practicing to make it authentic,” Galitzine told uInterview. ” [Director] Michael [Damian] is a musician as well, and we kind of spoke to each other and I think sort of he understood my musicality and what I could bring to the role acting-wise. So, I mean, eventually it worked out quite well ‘cause I think most people think I actually play the violin, which is great. [Laughs] Mission accomplished.”

Keenan Kampa On Ballet, ‘High Strung,’ Co-Star Nicholas Galitzine

In addition to having to learn the violin, which Galitzine believes might be one of the most difficult instruments to learn, he had to learn how to Tango. And, he had to lead a professional dancer in the Latin dance.

“We had like about a week or something before that of learning all the moves. And it’s very difficult because in a Tango, the man’s supposed to lead, and, you know, if you’re not a dancer and they kinda tell you to lead this very accomplished dancer, it’s kind of scary,” Galitzine admitted, adding that Keenan “is an exquisite dancer in kind of pretty much all forms,” including, “a pretty mean robot.”

High Strung is currently in select theaters.


Q: Who is your character in the film? -

So, it’s basically about these two characters, Ruby Adams and Johnny Blackwell. I play a character, Johnny, who is a British violinist asking for money in New York. He doesn’t have a green card to be there, so he can’t really earn money any other way. She is, basically a polar opposite: works very, very hard, but has kind of trouble letting go. And these characters are basically polar opposites. They meet each other, and though you kind of think they wouldn’t go together, they have this immediate, very, very strong connection. They then kind of hatch this plan—because Johnny’s running out of money and, you know, could get departed—to enter this competition called the Peterson Foundation, where he would get a very big cash prize and then a scholarship to the conservatory. So he teams up with this hip hop crew that lives on the floor before him and, obviously, with Ruby, who’s a stunning ballerina. So you eventually have this very crazy fusion of classical music meets hip hop music meets hip hop dancing meets ballet.

Q: Were you really playing the violin in the film? -

So, I’m actually a guitar player. I don’t play the violin. (Oh, you don’t?) No. So, basically what happened is they gave me some time before and during the filming where I had very extensive crash course training. I had an amazing tutor in London, and then throughout the filming, sort of day and night whenever I wasn’t filming I was kind of practicing to make it authentic. I mean, I play the guitar most of the time, and the fingering is kind of similar. But, you know, you’re using muscles in your body you don’t really know you have. I have to commend all violinists because I think it’s probably the most difficult instrument to play. Cause I know they spoke to a lot of people, a lot of actors. They auditioned a lot of actors in the casting process who were actually violinists, and then they were kind of thinking… the acting wasn’t quite there on that side, maybe. Michael [Damian] is a musician as well, and we kind of spoke to each other and I think sort of he understood my musicality and what I could bring to the role acting-wise. So, I mean, eventually it worked out quite well ‘cause I think most people think I actually play the violin, which is great. [laughs] Mission accomplished.

Q: Were the dance scenes challenging for you? -

So, we did a tango scene as well, which is crazy cause I’m really... I’m not a dancer, I’m not training or anything. I mean, I love dance. And you know when I’m like alone, chilling in my bedroom then I’m like the best dancer in the world. So uh, we had some extensive training in that before, me and Keenan. I mean Keenan is an exquisite dancer in kind of pretty much all forms. She does a pretty mean robot as well. If you meet her, ask her to show you that. So we had like about a week or something before that of learning all the moves. And it’s very difficult because in a Tango, the man’s supposed to lead, and, you know, if you’re not a dancer and they kinda tell you to lead this very accomplished dancer, it’s kind of scary. But, hopefully that came out in the end. There’s a lot of footwork that I mastered, which they didn’t show, which I was very upset about.

Q: What was the most challenging scene for you? -

The dancing was mostly the problem. I mean it just… I think I ripped my trousers on one occasion, my jeans, because I stupidly thought that wearing jeans to a dance rehearsal would be appropriate. It was not. And there was this one big dip I have to do, I have to stick my leg out, and I heard a little tear. So that was probably… I know I probably stepped on Keenan’s feet on a few times. I think musically, well, no one else… well none of the dancers could call me out on it, so I think like, you know, that wasn’t too bad.