Rick Malambri’s Three-Step

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Published August 2, 2010

PHOTO BY MARC CARTWRIGHT

John Travolta, Kevin Bacon, Fred Astaire–never underestimate the power of a leading man with moves. This week, Rick Malambri, the star of Step Up 3D, will be the next guy to put on the dancing shoes. The third film in the Step Up series centers around Luke, played by Malambri, the leader of a limber, ferocious underground dance group. As usual, the dance sequences involve movements that appear to break the law of physics, and they’re all the more impressive with the addition of 3-D technology. We talked to Malambri about his first staring role and doing choreography in yet another dimension.

 

RICK MALAMBRI: It’s been a crazy week .  We just got back from Amsterdam on Tuesday and we had a block party-release party for the CD and a screening of the movie.  Now we’re getting ready to prep for the movie premiere.

 

GILLIAN MOHNEY: So no sleep then. 

 

MALAMBRI: No, no sleep.  No sleep ’till release. 

 

MOHNEY: How did you start dancing? 

 

MALAMBRI:  At the age of thirteen, I started studying break dancing. A group of my friends got together and we just kind of fell in love with it.  We actually got on the internet and looked up how to do the moves. We didn’t know anyone who could do it we had to teach ourselves.  There was a website that showed us different moves and how to do them step by step. Anywhere we could we just practiced and kept with it. It was just something I did as an extracurricular activity, it wasn’t like, “Oh, this is what I want to be professional or in a career!” But it stuck with me and it helped me get this part. 

 

MOHNEY: What’s it like to shoot a dance movie in 3-D?  

 

MALAMBRI: [Director] Jon [Chu’s] vision of this movie was “What’s the best way to watch dance? You want to feel like you’re there.  You want to feel like a part of it.” Instead of throwing all the gimmicks in your face, their main reason for doing this movie was to give you a different feel for watching dance. You feel like you’re on stage with us.  I feel like we’ve captured that essence of being there live.

MOHNEY:  How was your preparation? Did you have to learn a lot of new moves?

MALAMBRI:  I definitely learned a lot.  I had never done choreography before.  But working with all these dancers, which was a month and half of ten hour days. Pre-production was all dancing.  It was six days a week, ten hours a day of choreography.  We had personal training and Capoeria and Parkour.  All this training for hours upon hours. For me, coming into this not knowing a single bit of choreography–I’ve never taken a choreography class in my life–they put me through the ringer.

MOHNEY: What was it like to work with such a large ensemble of dancers?

MALAMBRI: I’m sure there were times where we just wanted to strangle each other. But the cool thing about the pre-production was we had a month and a half to get to know each other. We spent so much time together, ten hour days almost every day of the week. We really got to make connections with everyone….When we were shooting the movie, it felt like we weren’t there to work.