Lionsgate+ - season three eps releasing weekly from Sun 16 Oct
When Glee star Naya Rivera died in a tragic boating accident just over two years ago, she was about to start filming season three of Step Up.
After much soul-searching, and with the blessing of the performer’s family, the production team decided to go ahead, with actor-singer Christina Milian replacing Rivera as Collette. But it was a tough shoot for all concerned.
‘It felt bittersweet because it was such a great opportunity, but also knowing why it was happening,’ explains Christina. ‘It took some time to be comfortable with it, but I tried to honour her memory by playing the character and having a good time with it. Making the cast comfortable with it was also really important to me.’
Holly Sorensen, the show’s creator and writer, admits there were difficult times, but is certain she made the right call. ‘There will be people who won’t like it, but really honouring her meant going on, and it’s so clear it was the right thing to do. It was a process of a family mourning, moving forward and creating something new, as much as it was making a television show.’
The future of Atlanta’s High Water performing arts school hangs in the balance at the start of season three, with founder Sage Odom (Ne-Yo) under investigation for murder, leaving fiancée Collette Jones – who’s harbouring a huge secret – to try and steer the ship.
‘Playing this working woman who’s so strong and sexy, that’s so exciting,’ says Christina, who was in the late stages of pregnancy during filming. ‘Two weeks after we wrapped, I was having a baby! When you see me in those seven-inch stilettos, know there was Spanx and a baby behind that really nice Fendi bag!’