Step Up Revolution: Creating the Landscape
In Director Scott Speer’s feature film debut, “Step Up Revolution,” the fourth installment in Summit Entertainment’s sizzling dance and romance franchise, the story moves to sexy Miami, where a group of hot young performers takes to the streets to what they do best—dance!
Filmed entirely in the cities of Miami and Miami Beach, “Step Up Revolution” takes full advantage of South Florida’s unique and visually arresting locations, from the ultra‐modern skyline and iconic palm trees to the gritty, colorful ethnic neighborhoods and serene beaches.
The film is produced by the Offspring Entertainment team of Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot, along with Erik Feig and Patrick Wachsberger. Bob Hayward, David Garrett, Meredith Milton, Jon M. Chu, Matt Smith and Nan Morales are the executive producers.
In the film, Childhood friends Sean (Ryan Guzman) and Eddy (Misha Gabriel) work as waiters at Miami Beach’s ultra‐posh Dimont Hotel, owned by ruthless developer Bill Anderson (Peter Gallagher). In their off‐duty hours, they lead a renegade crew known only as “The Mob,” a group of cutting‐edge dancers, musicians and artists that captures the collective imagination of the city with dazzling, high‐tech, hit‐and‐run flash mobs that appear out of nowhere—and vanish in an instant.
The Mob’s outlaw performances attract the attention of Anderson’s daughter Emily (Kathryn McCormick), a gifted dancer in her own right. Under pressure from her dad to leave her lifelong dream behind and get a “real” job, Emily has reluctantly agreed to go to work for him unless she earns a coveted spot in the prestigious Wynwood Dance Company. But after witnessing a flash mob, she is determined to join in.
Emily’s impressive dance skills win her a place in The Mob, but her presence drives a wedge between Sean and Eddy. When Anderson and his young protégé Tripp (Tommy Dewey) announce plans to raze The Mob’s neighborhood to build a huge commercial development, the group begins planning their most daring flash mob ever to try to save the waterfront, forcing Emily and Sean to choose between family ties and their love for each other.
“Step Up Revolution” stars Kathryn McCormick, finalist on the hit television dance series “So You Think You Can Dance,” and Ryan Guzman in their feature film debuts. Misha Gabriel, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Tommy Dewey, Peter Gallagher, and real life choreographer Mia Michaels lead a rich supporting cast, with cameo appearances by fan favorites from the “Step Up” franchise.
The film’s instantly recognizable backdrops telegraph glamour, youth and the contrasts at the heart of the film’s story. Miami’s balmy climate and outdoor culture lend themselves to the wide‐open vistas that the producers envisioned for their flash‐mob settings.
Production Designer Carlos A. Menéndez is a Miami native who knows and loves his hometown, and enjoyed showing it off in “Step Up Revolution.” The city’s unique Latin flavor is most apparent on the set for Ricky’s Club Habanero, the old school Miami club that the lead male characters have been going to since they were children.
Menéndez infused the set with some of the city’s signature color and variety. The fictional Miami Museum of International Art and Culture was created on a soundstage for the ambitious, multi‐layered dance piece that first sparks Emily’s interest in The Mob.
And in anticipation of shooting the finale, Menéndez fabricated a scale model of the shipping yard so that he, Speer, Sims and cinematographer Karsten “Crash” Gopinath could coordinate the scene before ever setting foot on set. Each container had a platform mounted and secured for the dances.
The designer had to keep in mind that the 3D cameras came with extra equipment that needed to be concealed. Speer had never shot in 3D before and credits Karsten and the film’s stereographer Nick Brown with guiding him though the process. The filmmakers were able to maximize the adaptability of dance to 3D with innovative camera work.
To pull together all the various elements, the producers brought back Jamal Sims, the prolific actor, dancer and choreographer who staged all three earlier films as well the recent remake of “Footloose,” the Madonna: Sticky & Sweet Tour and “Hannah Montana: The Movie.”
The film also brought in a diverse team of choreographers to help realize Speer’s ambitious vision, including Chuck Maldonado, Chris Scott and Travis Wall. Wall was handpicked to choreograph Emily’s audition for a contemporary dance company.
The settings provided as much inspiration as the music for the choreographers as they carefully crafted each of the unique set pieces. With dozens of dancers, it all had to be precisely coordinated to work.
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