Cassie Ventura Is Sophie

When Andie arrives at MSA, she finds herself in a rivalry with one of the school’s most promising and confident female talents: the “triple threat” actor, singer and dancer, Sophie, who also happens to be Chase’s jealous ex-girlfriend. For this key role, the filmmakers chose another newcomer to the screen, Cassie Ventura, the R&B recording artist who makes her feature-film debut and also contributes a song to the soundtrack.

Although, like her character, Cassie is a natural singer, she turned out to be the only member of the astonishingly accomplished cast who had no real dancing experience. But this turned out to be only a minor hitch for Cassie, who honed her natural talent in intensive rehearsals. “I think I was the only untrained dancer in the production,” she admits, “but I knew that if I put my heart into it, people would feel that—and so I just went for it.”

Jon M. Chu was impressed with not only Cassie’s bravery in jumping into the role but with her strong presence that captures Sophie’s intensity and fury. “When Cassie walks into a room, right away it feels like she really owns the space,” he notes. “And I think she really enjoyed playing a kind of bad-guy role, because she herself is so sweet. She also really understood that Sophie has her own arc in the story. She’s not really a villain because, deep down, she’s a lost soul, too, and eventually she is pushed into doing something nice for the first time in her life.”

Cassie loved taking Sophie through major internal changes, from self-centeredness to seeing the bigger picture. “In the beginning of the story, Sophie is a very strong-willed, focused girl, almost like a machine,” she observes. “She has shut down her emotions, but her relationship with Andie forces her to rediscover her feelings and the importance of other people.”

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