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Look out for more coverage of
Take the Lead in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Take the Lead

THE STARS:
Antonio Banderas • Alfre Woodard • Rob Brown
• Yaya DaCosta
DIRECTOR: Liz Friedlander

This is how it THE CONCEPT:
Inspired by the true story of dance teacher Pierre Dulain, who volunteers his time to teach ballroom dancing to a diverse group of New York inner-city high school students serving detention, and persuades them to hone their craft for a prestigious city ballroom competition.

U.S. RELEASE: April 7 2006, Nationwide • Rated: PG-13

THE COMMENTS:

ANTONIO BANDERAS (Pierre Dulaine):
“When I received the script, my son saw it and said, ‘Ballroom dancing?’ And I put it aside. Literally I didn’t read it until the producers called me and they asked me if they could come and explain to me face to face what they wanted to do. And they came and showed me a video of Pierre Dulaine and I started getting interested.”

LIZ FRIEDLANDER:
“Antonio was the first person we went to. He was in the middle of shooting Zorro 2, which was an extremely hard shoot and an extremely long shoot, and he was like, ‘I can’t sign on to something else right now.’ So we said, ‘Okay,’ and we decided to make a list of people who we thought could play the role aside from Antonio, and we all sat and looked at each other – there was no list, so we waited, because for me the criteria was who can do this and not look like an idiot? Who can convey an effortless elegance, who can dance, who can be believable? Antonio just has a loveliness about him, and he’s such a good guy.”

ALFRE WOODARD (Principal Augustine James):
“I knew about Pierre because my mother-in-law volunteered in public schools in New York, so I knew about his story and how remarkable the affects of it were. Diane Houston wrote an incredible script. And, of course, there’s Antonio. What’s not to go to work when Antonio is coming in? My sister is a principal of a school and she was my inspiration for Augustine.”

FRIEDLANDER:
“Casting the kids I would say was the easiest and hardest thing on this movie. We saw hundreds if not thousands of kids in New York, LA, Chicago and Toronto, and we started wondering, should we cast dancers who can act, or actors who can dance, and it was very clear we needed actors who could dance.”

YAYA DaCOSTA (LaRhette):
“I’d never done ballroom dancing, but I did ballet, modern and jazz. It was really exciting to do ballroom dancing; it was so different, dancing by yourself versus dancing with someone else, and having to do what he tells you to do with his hands. It takes a different kind of strength to follow, it’s a kind of abandon, and you know that it’s coming from a place of respect, he’s not trying to dominate you; he’s trying to dance with you.”

BANDARES:
“I remember the first time I took a girl dancing. She was called Liliana, and she was the first girl that I kissed. I think I was 14-years-old. And I kissed her and I got dizzy. I swear to God, dizzy to the point that I almost had to sit down on the ground!”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Take the Lead site
Images above © New Line Cinema
Feature © 2006 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #669, May 2006 cover

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