Robert Hoffman Is Chase
There’s no doubt about it, Chase is MSA’s star student. He’s got the charisma, the smarts and the skills to be a big-time professional performer, and he knows it. But that doesn’t mean the pressure’s off, because he doesn’t want to just be technically good; he wants to be different, he wants to stand out, he wants to find the strength to be his own person. Ultimately, he must stand up against his brother Blake, the school’s rigid, classically trained director, to change things up and restore creative freedom to the place he loves.
The filmmakers of STEP UP 2 THE STREETS knew that casting Chase would be key to forging their entire ensemble, as well as to setting off the sparks that heat things up between Chase and Andie, so, as production kicked into high gear, he was their number-one casting priority. A search led them to Robert Hoffman, who began dancing way back in kindergarten, mastering every form, from tap and ballet to jazz and all the way to hip-hop as he grew up, and much like Chase, winning all kinds of awards and competitions.
Hoffman went on to become one of the breakout stars from MTV’s hit series “Wild ‘N Out,” made his motion-picture debut in “You Got Served” and then lined up a major role in “She’s the Man,” starring with Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum. It was clear from his audition that he was on the cusp of something big.
“Robert is just so natural and so real,” observes director Jon M. Chu. “He has that schoolboyish- charm quality to him, yet he’s also a really special dancer. I knew he was the one who could pull this role off.”
Hoffman was able to nail the character of Chase so closely, in part, because he could instantly relate to him. “Chase is the guy at MSA who has it all going for him, but the one thing he’s never had, which is actually very much a parallel in my life, is someone to tell him to believe in his own voice as a dancer, to tell him to dance how he wants to dance, from the inside,” explains the actor.
“When Andie comes to the school, it’s through her that Chase gets rejuvenated. He finds his passion for dance again. She shows him what it’s like to dance from your heart, to really be an individual, and that changes everything for him.”
He continues: “As someone who grew up as a dancer only wanting to learn from people who inspire me and then to inspire other people—the whole experience of being part of this movie has been a dream come true.”
For Jon M. Chu, Hoffman’s real magic is worked when he starts to break out and follow the beat that’s in his heart. “When you see Robert as Chase really pour it out on the floor, it becomes clear that hip-hop is an art form, and even his brother can see the art in it,” says Chu. “Robert makes that transformation happen.
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