Adam Shankman On Ryan Guzman, ‘Step Up: All In,’ ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ [VIDEO EXCLUSIVE]
Adam Shankman, the producer for Step Up: All In, the fifth installment in the Step Up franchise, knew he had something special with star Ryan Guzman. “Ryan has a one of those ‘it’ factors. I remember when we cast Channing Tatum,” Shankman told uInterview, “You know, there is just an ‘it’ thing going there that I found really, really compelling.”
The Step Up films are known for the extraordinary dance numbers that have dazzled audiences with each film. Although the dancers handle the routines with ease after numerous rehearsals, Shankman reveals that the choreography behind each piece is more complex underneath the surface. “The choreography process in this is very tight, and particularly where budgets are headed and things getting tighter and tighter and more difficult,” he said.
Step Up: All In is currently playing in theaters.
Ryan has a one of those “it” factors. I remember when we cast Channing Tatum. You know, there is just an “it” thing going on there that I found really, really compelling. I mean, he is an authentically passionate guy, he’s super talented. He’s a cage fighter who auditioned pretending he had dance lessons, and he won us all over and he’s pretty remarkable.
I think that audiences keep coming up is that the dancing is extraordinary and the music is great and they’ve fallen in love with these characters. It’s sexy and it’s fun, and at the end there is a lot of wish fulfillment. There’s just this enormous amount of passion underneath all of it and really authentic hard work. I think that audiences feel that from these and they have a super-charged experience in the theater.
Like I would ever say who is the best dancer among them—are you out of your mind?! I would have dance shoes, Nikes with bricks attached to them, flying through my windows! They’re all incredibly talented. That would be like asking me what my favorite TV show or movie is. It’s sort of like “well, on what merits?” So everything has its own place in my heart. In terms of egos, I think these movies are a little too hard to have big egos in. Making them is not easy. The hard work that gets poured into the rehearsal process, because it’s very, very condensed. And then the actual shooting of it makes it pretty impossible for egos to flare up. Which is not to say they haven’t ever. People get antsy when they’re really tired, and they can be tired on these movies.
I think I sort of started it. After my first season of judging So You Think You Can Dance, I think offered the winner a Step Up featured role in Step Up 3. And so that’s when all then intertwining started. So, uh, I think I was sort of part of that happening?
There are sequences when there is some improvisation and there are other sequences when there are no improvisations. The choreography process in this is very tight, and particularly where budgets are headed and things getting tighter and tighter and more difficult. When the script is published, and the choreographers are engaged, the choreographers then have to come up with ideas where they’re sort of like pins with designated numbers. It’s really not up to the writer to decide what is the choreographic content, and we know they’re just placeholders and the choreographers and the directors come together and talk about what they really want those numbers to look like.