If you’re not familiar with the name Ryan Guzman yet, you will be within the next year or so. Guzman has not one but three movies slated for release and he recently completed a stint on hit TV show Pretty Little Liars.
But his big break came two years ago in the form of the lead role in Step Up Revolution, the fourth in the Step Up film franchise which started with Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan. From watching him move rhythmically with ease in the movie, it is almost hard to believe that he had no inclination to be a dancer.
“I was into listening to hip-hop music and I would goof around but I definitely wouldn’t say that I was a dancer or into becoming a dancer before Step Up Revolution,” Guzman told Star2 over the phone from Los Angeles.
The latest instalment in the film franchise, Step Up All In, promises to be bigger and better than the last film. “I think audiences will like (my character) Sean even more in Step Up All In ‘cos now there’s a comedic tone to the whole film and it’s actually a fun movie,” said the 26-year-old actor who is open to doing another Step Up movie if the opportunity arises.
“It has all the dancing that everyone is used to and expecting so we’re not going to let people down with the dancing of course. We’re outdoing ourselves and we’re introducing new characters which are so rich and they bring to the movie something new, interesting and fun.”
Even though it was easier to slip into character a second time around, preparation time for Step Up All In was limited and the choreography more challenging.
“In Step Up Revolution, we had a bit longer to train and learn all the numbers and there wasn’t as many numbers to learn too. For Step Up All In, it’s just everybody doing everything. There’s just so much going on and it was a lot but everybody pulled through and worked together and I think gave it their best,” he explained.
No doubt, his roles in the Step Up movies and Pretty Little Liars, where he played a hottie named Jake, have elevated him to heartthrob status. “If people want to see me as a heartthrob, I kind of leave it up to them. I’m just good old, plain Ryan Guzman trying to do a job as an actor and grow as an actor. If that’s the other people’s perception, I’m flattered and thank you everybody for the support,” he said.
But, Guzman’s next role may surprise many because he chose this project over playing Christian Grey in the much-anticipated Fifty Shades Of Grey. He wanted something completely different and was drawn to play a dark teen character in the thriller, Boy Next Door. Furthermore, he gets to romance the beautiful Jennifer Lopez onscreen for the movie that is due out in January.
Funnily though, it was not the prospect of acting with a celebrity like J.Lo that he was most nervous about. “I was most apprehensive about – and I’m sure all the guys are going to kill me for this one – the love scene,” he revealed.
“Of course, it’s with Jennifer and every guy would be jealous but it’s actually nerve-racking. It’s not like everybody thinks it is. We choreographed it so it was certain things at certain times and only certain people could be on set. It’s just kind of a weird feeling to be honest. It’s not romantic at any point of time. The end result looks romantic but that was probably the one that I was the most scared about.”
Naturally, he also had to shed his clothes for said scene but he didn’t have a problem getting his body camera-ready. “Well, literally I came straight from Step Up All In so I didn’t have to do too much dieting or workouts because I’d been dancing non-stop for like two months,” he said.
“That cardio and that kind of workout just tones you up whether you like it or not. So yeah, I was in Step Up All In in Las Vegas one day and the very next day, I flew back to LA to film my very first day of Boy Next Door. Every now and then I would do like push-ups or sit-ups so that I keep a certain physique for the role. I actually gained a little bit of weight for the character and I had to do it in that first week or the continuity would be off.”
Also scheduled for release possibly as early as next summer is a live-action remake of the 1980s cartoon hit Jem And The Holograms. In the movie, Guzman, who plays Jem’s love interest Rio, sings for the first time.
“I have always been deathly afraid of singing and after hearing everybody else sing, I said to Jon Chu (the director), ‘Maybe I try it out one time?’ He set up a 15-minute session with the vocal coach for me and then, we recorded my very first track. And it’s the first time I’ve ever sung for anybody or in front of anybody. And it will be in a movie now so it’s kind of crazy. It’s a new experience yet again. And I loved every second of it.”
Guzman, who was born in Texas but grew up in California, used to model to finance his passion for mixed martial arts. One day, he might pursue his dream once again of getting into the Ultimate Fighting Championship but for now, he is happy living life as a working actor.
It was through modelling that he had the chance to do commercials and before he knew it, he was bitten by the acting bug. After months of knocking on doors and taking acting classes, he landed a talent manager and two months later, he was booked for Step Up Revolution.
“To be honest, I love that I had this kind of hard and amazing life prior to becoming an actor because now there’s just so much that I can pull from,” he disclosed. “I feel like a centred person, I’m not leaning on anybody else to make things happen. And I like who I am and I am just going to continue to grow as an actor right now.”
> Step Up All In opens in cinemas nationwide on July 31.