By our guest blogger, Joel Crabtree
Actor Rick Malambri grew up breakdancing, but Malambri admits that even with that background he wasn’t fully prepared for the intense day-in, day-out dance regimen that his starring role in “Step Up 3D” presented. Needless to say, after his experience filming the movie, the 27-year-old has a newfound respect for professional dancers.
The break-out role, however, has done a lot more for Malambri’s career than turning him a suave dance machine. Malambri’s mug currently graces the cover of Da Man magazine, and with his 6-foot-2 athletic build, leading-man looks and cool confidence, it’s almost certain you’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the near future.
Malambri took a few minutes to talk with WeekinRewind. com about “Step Up 3D,” his intense training for the film and his odds of beating me in a dance-off.
JC: How does it feel to be on the cover of a major magazine and the lead in a highly anticipated movie all at once?
RM: You know what, it’s kind of crazy to me. 'Cause I never really expected any of this. I feel very fortunate to be a part of such a big franchise and to be given the opportunity to be in this film and make something great. It’s kind of crazy to me. I’m still kind of shocked and kind of, you know, feeling just in awe about the whole situation. It’s just crazy.
JC: So let’s talk about “Step Up 3D.” The role requires a lot of dancing, were you already a dance king before filming or did you have to learn a lot and train a lot to fit the role?
RM: No, I had to train a ton. I grew up breakdancing as a hobby, it wasn’t anything professional or something I really pursued as sort of a career, as much as these dancers in the film. It was definitely more of a feat for me to conquer the choreography and all that stuff than it was for everyone else. I did go through an intense training, which consisted of a month and a half of six days a week, 10 hours a day, mainly dance, but also a lot of strength training as well as capaweta and parkour, which is also in the film. We did some tango as well. A majority of it was the choreography, which is a whole nother animal for me, because I grew up as a freestyle dancer and being a dancer who has to learn these moves and be able to do these specific moves at these specific beats, it’s a difficult thing. I have a much more newfound respect for all these dancers who actually do this day to day as their career. I really respect what they do.
JC: You just mentioned that you learned a little bit of parkour. How was that incorporated into the film?
RM: We have this little parkour scene where Natalie (Sharni Vinson) and I are kind of competing, I guess you could say. It’s kind of just a funny little bit that we put in the film just to add to the whole street style. I feel like it has that raw feeling of almost being a part of dance, but it’s just more of a gymnastic, out-in-the-street kind of raw style that’s almost similar to breakdancing. We just wanted to throw something like that in there, I think it was a pretty cool idea. It’s also something that’s becoming a much bigger thing in our society and other cultures as well. We just wanted to throw something extra at you guys.
JC: Do you have a favorite style of dance? Is it breakdancing from where you grew up doing that, or did you learn something new that you really loved?
RM: I mean, that is a big part of my life. I think it’s something that will always be a major style in my choice of dance, but I fell in love with doing ballroom stuff, like the tango and things like that. I think that’s also something that can be very intimate especially with a significant other, or you know, something you guys can enjoy doing together. But I honestly enjoy every style of dance. Dance has always been a part of my lief, and I just love it.
JC: Now, let’s say hypothetically we’re both in the club and I challenge you to a dance-off. Is it safe to say -- especially after all your training -- that you would destroy me?
RM: Uh ... (laughs). I don’t want to measure you up, but it’s probably a good possibility. I went through a ton and ton of training, and I think I have come out a much better dancer than before.
JC: Yeah, my cabbage patch won’t hold up.
RM: Yeah, I don’t know about that ...
JC: Music is also an integral part to series’ success, what do you listen to to get amped up before a shoot like this?
RM: You know, we listened to a lot of hip-hop, we were listening to a lot of dubstep, which is a really raw kind of dark, jungle with a lot of bass. It’s another type of music that’s underground and it’s really coming out of its routes. We would get really hype with that. We’d do a couple cyphers, which are where we get prepared, you know, you get in a circle and you start doing some dancing with a friends. It’s kind of like a break dance circle, if you will. And just kind of get ready, get prepared that way.
Especially being on this film with a bunch of dancers, it’s not hard to get prepped and ready to get your groove on on-set.
JC: Other than being in 3-D, what separates the latest “Step Up” from the previous two.
RM: I feel like we have much more of a mature storyline for this film. You know, you have much more of a mature audience. We’re trying to branch out to a bigger audience with it. I think that considering the first two films were based in high school, and now we’re out of high school, we’re in real life situations. It gives it more of a better feel for everyone.
And you know, like you said along with the 3-D, I think that’s going to blow things out of the water as well. It really puts you in the moment. you feel like you’re there, you feel like you’re live watching this dance. I think we’ve put together something that ... outdoes the others. Hopefully everyone else sees that.
JC: The previous films have really helped bring the careers of its leading men -- Channing Tatum and Robert Hoffman -- to a whole new level. Do you think there’s a chance this film might do the same for your career?
RM: I would like to think so. You know, I take things day by day and hopefully this does take my career in a positive turn. I would love that. I would love to get more opportunities to do other things, especially since acting is my main forte, dance came after that. I’d like to say I’m a little more actor-slash-dancer in this film than dancer-slash-actor. I’m hoping that it just gives me the opportunity to keep doing what I want to do.
JC: What other projects are you currently working on?
RM: I just wrapped on a film called “Holiday Heist,” which is an independent film. It’s a Christmas comedy based on a group of kids who have to stay after in college over Christmas break to watch over this art gallery. A robbery ensues and we have to go through the situation of possibly saving the day...and I don’t want to give it away or anything.
I just finished that, and I have another TV movie coming out Oct. 9, which is called “After the Fall,” which is kind of a love story situation. It’s a family film for the Hallmark Channel. And then, just doing auditions and reading more scripts and seeing what’s out there.
JC: Is there anything else you want to add?
RM: Nah, I mean, tell all the readers that I hope everybody enjoys the film. This has been a year-and-a-half in the making, I’m excited for everyone to see it. And I hope everyone enjoys it. I hope everyone gets what they expect out of it. There’s a lot amazing dance in this film and a good little storyline in between, so I hope everyone enjoys it.
”Step Up 3D” is now in theaters. Check out the trailer below. What are your thoughts of it--and of Malambri?