Saturday, February 23, 2008

Chu Steps Up

When it came time to take the Step Up franchise to a whole new level, they called in Jon M. Chu.

Although Step Up 2 was originally slated to be a direct-to-DVD movie with a measly $7 million budget, director Jonathan Murray Chu stepped in to make the sequel to Step Up a bigger, better update. Unsatisfied with the original script and the shortage of dance numbers, he upped the dance scenes by almost three times as many and even
increased the necessary budget to that of the original, $22 million.

Chu loved the first Step Up, but he knew his version needed something different. "It's about a crew, and being a family in this crew, and what takes to be a family," says Chu. "We also wanted to take it out of the dance studio and bring it out back to the outside -- bring it back to the city -- so we could bring in all types of dance and all types of people."

Hence, the addition of "The Streets" to the title of the film. However, Chu did want to keep a few elements from the first movie.

"We definitely wanted Channing (the lead actor in Step Up) to be a part of this," says Chu, "but we didn't want him to just come in and say hello and leave. We wanted him to do a dance number. So it was fun that we got to give him a good goodbye with a big dance number. But then once we ended that, I wanted this movie to be on its own."

It was nice of Step Up 2 to remind us of its predecessor, but the difference was noticeable. Instead of focusing on a love story, with ballet moves incorporated into all of the choreography, Chu emphasized breaking and pop locking in his new movie, shining a spotlight on the dance as its main objective.

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