I recently got the chance to talk to Ella Wragg about her role in new dance film, ‘StreetDance 2′. Here, Ella talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and what is coming up for her in 2012…
Hey Ella. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘StreetDance 2′.
Thank you Matt it’s my pleasure.
What’s the general plotline surrounding this instalment?
The story follows Ash (Falk Hentschel), an admirer and follower of the champion dance crew The Invincibles. He sees them competing and is so disappointed in their approach to the losers that he confronts them at the battle and they respond by ridiculing him in front of everyone. This gives him the idea to find his own crew to challenge them and their egos. With Eddie (George Sampson) as his side-kick and Manager, they travel the world trying to find the “crème de la crème” to take on The Invincibles and with the Latin fusion that they find along the way it’s looking promising that they can give this crew a run for their money.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
My character too is a fan and follower of The Invincibles. While we wait to enter a club where they are battling, the bouncers start to turn us all away for maximum occupancy so I flirt with the security to distract them so that Ash (Hentschel) can sneak in the back door of the club… I too somehow sneak in after and make it to the front of the crowds for the battle…not sure how cheeky character.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
Earlier on in the year before filming started for ‘StreetDance 2′, I became an instructor for the leading company in the country for street dance courses called Fresh Vibes. I took interest in street after being an accomplished Hip Hop and commercial dancer as they hold a lot of similarities in their styles. My love for street dance and it’s huge following excelled being linked to Fresh Vibes. By combining this with being an experienced actress it meant I fit the mould for ‘StreetDance 2′. So I contacted the casting directors and after meeting me I became a member of the cast.
How would you say this film series is different and unique? Obviously it’s got the dance element to it…
The fact that it’s a dance movie in 3D with comedy I think is what separates it from the rest. What the script writers did well was they played to our strength, which is humour. We undoubtedly have amazing skills in the dance world us Brits, but in order to do it differently from the Americans; to incorporate a comedic element it definitely makes this one stand out as different to your classic dance movie. On top of that, this film incorporates real dance crews as well as cast/crew members from all over the world, I’m not sure of another film that has done that? Max and Dania literally searched the world (like Ash the character does) to find the stars in the film.
The film stars George Sampson, Tom Conti, Falk Hentschel, Sofia Boutella, Stephanie Nguyen, James Michael Rankin and your good self – with Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini onboard as directors – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
Now, this crew and cast work HARD! It was an amazing energetic and positive set to work on. I miss it a lot! Everyone worked their butts off at their individual job for each 12 hour plus day and I really believe that’s what gives credit to the success of the films. There was such a lot of banter and private jokes on set, it would be hard to really describe anything in an anecdotal sense. Although there was one thing that was quite amusing that happened to me… so…after having danced all day for consecutive days under hot lights and on very little sleep (as I was a Mum to a baby at the time too) one afternoon I became very light-headed and was escorted off set to sit down completely out the way of everyone and everything…I was seated next to another obvious dancer who as he spoke I could hear was French. I asked if he too was woozy or had he simply been told off; we were both sat so out-of-the-way, we laughed as he was obviously just waiting to perform or was watching, although I was curious as to who he was and why he was sat there on his own. He got me some water like he was a member of the film crew and when my friends/dancers came over to check on me he gave them instruction to keep me rested and hydrated; definitely sounded as if his job was to look out for our safety. More French men soon joined us and I was introduced to the rest of his crew, his dance crew; he was just a dancer not film crew at all. Myself and my friends shared laughs with these guys all day in between shooting…and then we got to see them perform in the finale scene…and they were outstanding!
Now with how skilful these guys were you really would have thought they would have had an air of arrogance to them but they didn’t at all. The day ended we parted ways and when we returned to the hotel my friends and I googled this crew….and we simply couldn’t believe who we had been talking to with how modest mannered they had been…not only were they the most reputable and highest ranked dancers in the entire film but these guys were Lilou’s crew Pockemon; Lilou being one of the world’s top B-boys, who also plays the character Ali in the film…and the charming man with the water was Brahim Zaibat, dancer and boyfriend to Madonna! You would not have believed for one second that these guys were anything but average guys. Down to earth isn’t praising them enough. So yeah, we felt a bit silly not knowing who they were!!! Yet not once did they even hint about their lifestyles… #humble J.
Let’s talk a bit about you Ella. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
Well I’ve been an actress all my life (on and off camera some might say ) but mainly a theatre actress. After being offered a scholarship in the States at the New York Film Academy to study on-screen acting I absolutely fell in love with the screen! As well as being an actress I have been a dancer all my life too so when the opportunity for this film came up I was delighted.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Some might say don’t (get in to the industry). But I would say if you are willing to put in as much as you want to get out, then you have the strength to be in this industry. It’s not a glamorous lifestyle like so many think as it is super long hours and very hard work. But it’s a very rewarding one if it is your first love, like it is mine, because you are so grateful to get to practice your love, and with others that share your love.
What is currently on your I-Pod?
- The Ying Yang Twins
- Floorfillers latest (can’t remember it’s title now)
- Jessie J
- Cheryl Cole
- Ed Sheeran
A few off the top of my head…and I genuinely cannot wait for the soundtrack to ‘StreetDance 2′ to come out to add to my collection. The music featured in the film and used for featured crew’s battles on set are awesome; they are tracks that get in to your bloodstream they’re that good.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things could you not live without?
- It’s an obvious one I’m sorry but DEFINITELY my little family – my husband and my little boy. We do everything together and my son even at 1 is a blatant mover so I’m excited to teach him to dance
- A McDonald’s iced Coke (has to be with ice! has to be McDonalds!). You can ask anyone, they are my guilty pleasure.
- Fabreeze - (haha). May not seem an essential on a desert island but I have a real thing about smells. People and things have to smell good… I hate the smell of things on clothes or in hair like cooked food or smoke etc, if you want to be my friend you need to smell fresh weirdo? Yep I guess so
What is your favourite word?
Currently my favourite word has GOT to be…Wooda …. (hahaha). This is all my 1-year-old son says for everything at the moment and genuinely feels he’s communicating with people, and so everywhere I go, the supermarket, friends families homes, the doctors I hear adults saying “wooda wooda wooda” to communicate with him. They remember him and just start saying it to him. Very endearing .
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I’m excited about a role I have in another feature starting soon and I am still to hear who the well-known names are going to be as the leads, which in itself is exciting. I am also very excited about a possible lead in a serial being shot in Cuba for 6 months (sunnnn yessss) and also I have been shortlisted for a small role that I’m very interested in in Disney’s ‘Maleficent’.
Also of course in September this year is the release of another of Vertigo’s which is ‘The Sweeney‘…which I was also lucky enough to be involved in and I am a big admirer of both Ray and Damian, so I have got my seat on the front row at the cinema reserved for that one…!!
Thanks for the interview!