While filming exciting dance sequences is nothing new to Jon M. Chu, who got his directorial debut with Step Up 2 the Streets, the California native faced some new challenges with the next instalment in the series, Step Up 3D.
“I’d been to all the lectures, read all the books, read all the articles, but you really don’t know 3-D until you literally have it in your hands and you’re playing,” he says. “If you mess up focus [on a regular film], you can fix that later. You can say, ‘Oh, it’s my artistic choice to make it out of focus.’ But in 3-D, your audience is going to throw up.”
Luckily, there haven’t been any reports of audience members losing their lunch just yet.
Chu insists that, the learning curve aside, he was excited about working with the new technology.
“This is a fantasy movie,” he says. “We got to push it. The 3-D really helps develop that tone of fantasy.”
It also gave him a chance to have some fun at the expense of his young leads, breakdancer Rick Malambri and Australian actress and singer Sharni Vinson.
Beyond the two leads, Chu needed to find a veritable army of dance talent, and he and his team went to great lengths to do just that.
“It’s crazy. The dance world is huge,” he says. “We did live auditions in New York and L.A., where thousands and thousands of people came out.”
The director, whose YouTube dance battle from a couple of years ago became an online sensation, turned to the Internet for casting help as well.
“I also released it on my YouTube channel,” he says. “It wasn’t a contest, it wasn’t anything like that. I just literally said, ‘Hey, if you can dance, show me.’ And we got thousands and thousands of submissions through that. We hired a couple of people from there.”