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STEP UP REVOLUTION

About The Production
Starting with the 2006 debut of Step Up, producers Jennifer Gibgot and Adam Shankman have created a series of ultra-popular hip-hop fairy tales that blend the urgency of the latest street dance with the romance of "Romeo and Juliet." Each new chapter in the franchise has brought to the screen even more astonishing choreography and imaginative scenarios than its predecessors.

With Step Up Revolution, the fourth film in the series, Gibgot and Shankman unleash the biggest and most challenging film they have made to date, packed with gravity-defying production numbers and talented, red-hot young performers. The producers have pulled out all the stops for the story of a daring and innovative group of performance artists called The Mob. Using the streets of Miami as their staging grounds, The Mob blends music, dance, visual arts and cutting-edge technology in extravagant flash mob performances that appear and disappear in moments.

"We all gravitated to the notion of the flash mob," says executive producer Matt Smith. "That is a meticulously planned, well-organized form of dance performed publicly and made to appear spontaneous. It's done live and on the fly, so it's also got an 'anything can happen' feel that we wanted to capitalize on. Flash mobs are so much of the moment in our culture right now. People are out there doing it in the streets, but I don't think anybody has ever done them on this scale with top flight dancers and choreography."

The scope and ambition of the film's flash mob dance numbers are unprecedented. "They are not like anything you've ever seen in a movie before, even in the earlier Step Up films," says Gibgot. "It's no longer about two teams battling each other. We've taken something exciting that is the Zeitgeist right now, amped it up and put a whole new spin on it."

Taking dance into the streets of a major metropolis opens up the movie in a way that makes it very different from the earlier films, according to Smith. "We go outdoors in front of huge crowds, instead of the club battling you've seen in earlier films. That takes it to a whole other level. And unlike the choreography of the average flash mob, which is pretty rudimentary, we are showcasing some of the greatest dancers in the world doing these elaborately choreographed and staged dance numbers in some very surprising settings."

Eventually, Smith observes, the performances turn into something more powerful than just eye-popping moves. "As the character Emily says in the movie, it's time to go from performance art to protest art. That's a turning point for all of our characters. The art form can be used for something greater than just, 'Hey, look at us.' It can be used to deliver a message. And they take that message and then deliver it in really fun, unexpected ways all over the city."

The Step Up franchise has already launched the careers of two highly successful movie directors, Anne Fletcher (who went on to helm 27 Dresses and The Proposal) and John M. Chu (director of the upcoming GI Joe: Retaliation and creator of the successful web series, "The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers" or The LXD). To meet that innovative, highly energetic and creative standard, the producers of Step Up Revolution recruited Scott Speer, an award winning director who has collaborated with Cho on The LXD, and directed videos for Blake Shelton, Ashley Tisdale, Jordin Sparks and Mexican pop sensation Belinda.

"Scott understood what this movie needed to be," says Gibgot. "He was constantly working to make each number bigger than the one before and give this movie greater scope than any previous Step Up has had. He was always trying to outdo himself, which was really inspiring to the cast and crew."

The energy and audacity needed to create a flash mob drove his vision, says Speer. "The Mob completely takes over the world for a moment. It's an aggressive and liberating form of expression, which is a relatable concept for a lot of young people. You just go into a place, and while everyone else is concerned with their lunch or their work or getting where they are going, you remind them that they could break into dance at any time. And dance is about joy. Life is about joy."

The filmmaker's passion for dance was another factor that made him the ideal director for this film, say the producers. "Scott is a lover of dance, as John Chu was," says Gibgot. "He is Jon's protege, but when he came in, he was clear about wanting to make his own movie, while still paying homage to the earlier films. That was important to us."

Speer stages each of the film's dazzling productions numbers with the precision and scope of an adrenaline-charged battle scene. "He has the potential to be a great action director," says Smith. "He envisioned the dance numbers like action set pieces. It felt like he came in every day with something to prove."

But he also excelled at finding the humanity and romance that are the hallmarks of the Step Up franchise. "Scott cared deeply about the actors and the characters they play," Gibgot says. "He said from the beginning that he wanted to keep what made the last three movies special, which was the love story and the chemistry, as well as the great dance."

To build camaraderie within the cast, the director encouraged them to spend time together on set and off. "One thing that is special about a dance movie is that you don't meet at the table read and then go your separate ways until you get to the set," he explains. "We had a lengthy rehearsal process. The cast was hanging out after work, eating together every day. By the first day of production, everyone had bonded through that months' worth of rehearsing and training. It began as a mandate that they spend time together. Eventually it took on a life of its own. They formed a little family."

The way the company came together was a new experience for producer Smith. "This is my first Step Up," he says. "I couldn't have asked anything more. There were no egos. Everybody just wanted to make this the best Step Up film there could be."

Even producer Adam Shankman stepped in to help, volunteering to run the second unit for Speer. "Adam just brings such enormous spirit to everything he does," says Smith. "Whether it's directing Rock Of Ages and Hairspray or producing the Step Up movies, Adam's energy is off the charts and it's infectious. To have someone with his experience on second unit was invaluable."

The finished film depicts the world of the flash mob in a way that has never been seen before, says the producer. "You will be going on a ride during which you'll see some of the best dancing and the most amazing dance sequences in the world. And in addition to that, you will see a great young love story in the Step Up tradition. You're going to have a great time!"

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