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About The Production
On the heels of executive producing "Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” STEP UP producer Erik Feig wanted to make the kind of classic, music-driven, character-focused movie that he and his friends had found so mesmerizing while growing up. Having been inspired by such entertainments as "Saturday Night Fever,” "Fame” and "Dirty Dancing” — and moved by recent films that ventured realistically into the hip-hop world such as "8 Mile” and "Save the Last Dance” — Feig felt it was time to bring back the genre with a fresh, gritty take inspired by today's youth's issues and styles.

"This is an idea that I'd been thinking about for many years,” says Feig. "I remember that era when great music-oriented movies were not just aimed at girls but had a guy's point of view, too, and that really interested me. There's something so universal in the love of music, and I wanted to make a movie that would appeal to everyone, as much to men as to women. That's why I liked the idea of setting STEP UP around a scrappy underdog who finds an unlikely dream and gives it his all to make it happen.” It was from a true-life, pivotal moment that the character of Tyler Gage — who gets his one shot at a different future and an unlikely romance when he is forced to do community service at a performing-arts school — was born.

Along with his Summit Entertainment producing partner Patrick Wachsberger, Feig began to search for a director. It was then that Feig had a stroke of luck — running into renowned choreographer, director and producer Adam Shankman at his local gym. "Erik ran up to me and actually said these words: ‘Who's the next you?'” recalls Shankman. "Why, I wondered, have I passed on? Am I done? But I came to realize that he was asking who was going to be the next great choreographer who wanted to break out as a director, and if I knew that person.”

It turns out that Shankman definitely did.

He immediately had in mind Anne Fletcher, one of the contemporary film world's leading choreographers who made her debut with the hit "Bring It On” and has gone on to choreograph key sequences for some two dozen film and television projects. "I've worked with Anne since 1990 and we were dancers together for Paula Abdul on the Oscars®. She has been one of my best friends and was my assistant when I was still a choreographer,” explains Shankman. "When I started directing movies, she sort of took over my choreography career. Then, she absolutely exploded artistically.”

He continues: "When Erik told me about STEP UP, I knew it would be perfect for Anne because she has always been incredibly strong with actors, she's deeply passionate and, most of all, she's a really good storyteller.” Fletcher met with the producers and they were instantly won over by her rapidly flowing ideas and enthusiasm. Eager to work with his protégé in a whole new capacity, Shankman also came on board as a producer, bringing with him his producing partner and sister, Jennifer Gibgot.

Gibgot, who has danced all her life, fell in love with the story's mix of music, romance and explosive cultural tension — and made a catalytic suggestion: to turn the story, then focused on a young musician, into a dance film. The final decision to do so was made in part because she felt it was important to draw upon Fletcher's incredible knowledge of and enthusiasm for the world of dance. "I think love and dance will always be a winning combination,” she observes. "But this story also has a really modern, raw feel. It's a morality tale, a movie about a kid versus the streets, about a kid who has only one chance at a long-shot dream. I think it's a story that appeals to both young and old because it's about having hope and finding the strength to dig yourself out from the hole that you're in.”

The filmmakers began to work with screenwriter Duane<

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