My day started with my aunt asking my mum why my family is always dressed up. My mum tells her that she tells me and my brother you never know when we might run into a film and we should reflect God's light. "Sure mum", I say like that's bound to happen. Well like they say "your mother is always right".
To my surprise that day at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus in Canada the sequel of Save the Last Dance which stars Isabella Miko from Coyote Ugly and Columbus Short from War of the Worlds. Singer, Ne-Yo, with his top ten song called "Sexy Love", also has a role in the movie. This is a production by Paramount Productions and MTV Films. The movie is in the top ten DVD sales at BlockBuster right now.
Isabella takes the role of Joan Bonista. While Columbus defiantly takes on the role of Miles Soltana. The movie shows Joan Bonista in the Julliard dance school, which if you remember is the school Sarah, played by Julia Stiles, who was trying so hard to get into last time. The movie shows Joan Bonista following her dreams in ballet. She meets Miles, and she grows up tremendously. There is more ballet then hip hop this time around.
I could not let an opportunity to score an interview pass, so when I finally saw the director free I went up to him. He was with two other men where I introduced myself. Eric Hetzel said he could help me who I found out was the producer of this movie. Eric said I could watch the next shoots with him for fifty minutes and I could interview the actors later. So as I watched and laughed as I diligently wrote down some questions to satisfy the readers quench for entertainment news. As I waited I asked one of the workers how long they worked so far. He told me they had done 21 shoots!
After the shoot was done, Eric told me I could come to dinner with them. As we walked to the next building I had to ask him some questions to get the full scope of a film environment for all those avid film students out there. Eric tells me he used to be a cab driver, and that he moved to Los Angeles at the age of 17. He kept on making the joke that once he totaled the cab he knew he had to be in the movies. He attended the University of Southern California. After his time as a scholarly student, he started making independent films, and then worked as an assistant to Paramount Pictures. And now as a producer he has been working there for the last 10 years. How does he feel about major actors doing independent films? He tells me "it's an inability of the environment to make good films. We can have a whole big conversation on this topic alone".
As we entered a room I glanced over the beautiful white linen tables and delicious catered food. Could I be in heaven? I think so. Eric asked me to eat but I declined because I did not want intrude. So, I waited on a far off table so they could eat their meal. Although, to my surprise Eric said I could join them on their table with him and Columbus and Isabella, and Columbus's wife, Tanee, and there 2 year old son. They were all so nice that I told them they did not have to stop eating that they could eat. I told them that when I am eating I do not like anyone talking to me. You all know the huge appetite university students have.
All of them are staying a Yorkville for there stay in Canada. This is Isabella's first time in Canada, while it's Eric third time. Eric will come here again to work on independent film in a few months.
I wondered how Isabella and Columbus got the passion to act. Columbus says with exuberance "acting is an algrenin rush. It hooks you". Isabella on the other hand always wanted to be a dancer and she did not want to act. She says "in acting you discover yourself. In real life you have to know yourself. In acting you can do things you cannot do in real life".
So now that they get to live and breathe their passion, how does it feel? Columbus says "when the creative and technical aspects line up it's magicial. It's like kinetic energy". "Wow", I tell him. How do you know the term "kinetic energy" when I just needed to know it for an exam the previous day I asked with astonishment? Columbus adds that "were so blessed we get to do this. I would do it for free". Eric quickly adds "so should we go over your deal again" he states with a laugh to Columbus. Isabella feels lucky like Columbus. She says "we get to do what we love to do, and we get to support ourselves. I'm happy". To hear how content she felt in her tone of voice made me feel good because you do not often find people who are fully content with life.
Being at a University filled with young adults, Isabella would crave to be a student. If she was a student she says she would take history and art. See all you students out there, someone would love to be in your position. So, the next time you complain about school... think again. Columbus says he would not go to school. He said his answer so fast before I had a chance to finish the question. He says he basically has a business degree with his life experiences. However, he adds he would take business in school. We could be looking at the next Donald Trump, but obviously with better hair.
Some actors/ actresses would feel nervous taking on a sequel because they would have to live up to many expectations, but not Isabella. She says she's a lot like the original character Sarah, that's why she wanted the role. She has a dance background, which is in ballet. In addition, she had changed her dream too. She also knew that the director and producer would be amazing, and that she would be in good hands. Seeing how Isabella talked about her life, I saw that she had a lot of depth to her personality.
In the original, Julia Stiles had to endure many long hours of rehearsing her dance routines of ballet, modern, and jazz even though she had a background in dance. Isabella being the gentle kind person that she is, was very modest and not boastful saying she practiced only 2 ½ weeks. However, Eric intervened and told me how she practiced for 6-8, and practically every waking hour. I said I believe it because I saw her during her break rehearsing her moves. With Isabella's dance background I pondered what she thought of dancers such as Britney Spears, Beyonce, and Shakira. Are they are too sexual, that they are ruining the purity of the art form? Isabella states that it's all different styles of dance. "I do get upset that people do not go to the ballet as much, but it is not because of Britney Spears" she quickly adds.
Columbus's wife, Tanee Short, majored in dance in university. You would think that she would teach his some moves for the movie. However, she says with a laugh she does not teach him, since he is a dancer as well.
Now your probably wondering who are Columbus's hip hop icons? He is quite to point out his favorites like Jay-z and Kanya West, which you probably have blasting in your i-pod right now.
As I chat with them, I suddenly realized I was interviewing these people, when I just planned to have a study day. All I said in my head was "Thank you God!" Life can really change in a matter of minutes.
As is left and said my good byes I mentioned to Coloumbus's wife, Tanee, that it's good to see a young couple supporting each other. She tells Columbus like every good wife should, "see Columbus" reaffirming my thoughts.
Everyone should see this movie. Not only is the story line great, but most importantly the people involved with the film are genuinely great human beings. You would think the success would go to theirs heads, but these folks were sooooo down to earth. We should all support excellent people like these.
As the day comes to an end my brother, Roy, reminds me that I just spent 3 hours from the day on the set, and the realization of what occurred just hit me. Somebody pinch me!
- Lolita D'Souza
Dont't forget to also check out: Save the Last Dance 2