Why the ‘Center Stage’ Director ‘Didn’t Want an Actor’ for the Lead Role

by Jeremy Spirogis
Center Stage cast dancing

After its debut in 2000, the film Center Stage develop into one of the legendary dance films of all time. The story of a hopeful younger ballerina in New York City couldn’t have been instructed appropriately with out a lead who knew the drill when it got here to bounce. Amanda Schull, who performed the protagonist in Center Stage, was a skilled dancer — and in some ways, that was extra essential to the director than her performing abilities.

Center Stage cast dancing
Ethan Stiefel, Amanda Schull, and Sascha Radetsky dance onstage in a scene from the movie Center Stage | Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

The ‘Center Stage’ lead solid member was a real ballerina herself

Entertainment Weekly interviewed the star of Center Stage, dancer/actress Amanda Schull, for the 20th anniversary of the movie. While the 2000 film wasn’t precisely a “box office smash” on the time of its launch, for dancers throughout the nation, it turned “a beloved cult phenomenon.” Part of the explanation? Center Stage is among the few dance films that depicted the ballet world precisely.

“I was cast because Nick wanted to get ballet right,” Schull revealed. Rather than an actor who had dance coaching, the director Nicholas Hytner wanted a real ballerina.

“He didn’t want an actor,” Schull instructed the publication. The film studio was extra in favor of an actor who might be changed with a physique double for the extra technically tough scenes. But that proved unimaginable early on.

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“They actually went through a substantial list of actors who said that they could dance and realized quickly that it wasn’t going to work that way,” Schull instructed EW. The publication reported:

Schull — who had been dancing for the reason that age of three and had simply accepted a contract with the San Francisco Ballet on the time when she was supplied the lead function as Jody Sawyer in Center Stage — credit Hytner’s dedication to solid precise ballet dancers for the movie’s long-lasting legacy as an actual homage to bounce.

Amanda Schull credit the director Nick Hytner for his casting within the 2000 dance film

“He was a huge ballet fan,” the Center Stage lead defined of Hytner. While many different dance films have suffered attributable to substandard performing — or dancing — Center Stage toed that line very fastidiously.

“Somebody else who didn’t know ballet or wasn’t a fan of dance or didn’t understand it probably would have hired someone and just had dance doubles and it would have been a very different thing,” Schull mentioned.

Another motive Center Stage labored so nicely? The location scouting. Entertainment Weekly once more:

Center Stage starsCenter Stage stars
Amanda Schull and Peter Gallagher following the premiere of the film Center Stage | Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive by way of Getty Images

The filmmakers shot all of the efficiency and backstage scenes on location on the David H. Koch Theater (then known as the New York State Theater), a part of the Lincoln Center complicated, for over per week.

“It was beautiful to dance onstage there,” Schull recalled. For a long-time dancer, it was one thing of a dream come true. The Center Stage star mentioned:

I keep in mind getting actually choked up being onstage on the Lincoln Center bowing for this fictitious viewers. I used to be simply so swept up in your entire expertise that I didn’t have a possibility to assume to myself, ‘Am I worthy of being here on this stage with these people?’ The theater was so attractive, there’s Peter Gallagher and Julie Kent giving us a standing ovation, it was fairly emotional.

Since her time stealing the present in Center Stage, Schull has appeared in a number of tv initiatives. The actress took on roles in Pretty Little Liars, 12 Monkeys, and Suits, to call only a few.

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