Corbin Bleu, Jump In!
, who unwittingly amassed quite the following as a star of High School Musical
, now has fresh Disney Channel fare to share. Premiering this Friday, Jan. 12, at 8 pm/ET, Jump In!
finds the almost 18-year-old actor playing Izzy, a boxing hopeful who gets a ropeful when he begins moonlighting as (gasp!) a competitive double-Dutch ringer. (Bleu's real-life pop, David Reivers
, plays his dad in the movie.) TVGuide.com asked Bleu about how he prepared for his latest Disney gig, as well as how he is dealing with the High School Musical
phenomenon, which is about to spawn a sequel.
TVGuide.com: Those Disney Channel people, they put on a darn good show, don't they?
Corbin Bleu: They really do. They really do. This movie is awesome, it's very different.
TVGuide.com: Did the Jump In script pull you in the way the actual movie pulls the viewer in?
Bleu: Yeah, it's kind of the same thing. When they told me the premise of the story, I was sitting there going, "OK, jump rope... this should be interesting." [Laughs] But after reading the script, I was like, "Wow, that was a great script." I really, really enjoyed it. I just loved the character of Izzy. He seemed like a lot of fun.
TVGuide.com: For High School Musical, you had to learn basketball and, of course, the songs and dances. What did you have to learn for Jump In?
Bleu: The boxing and the double Dutch. The double Dutch came a little bit easier for me than the boxing did, because it's very similar to movement in dancing, where you have combinations and it's all about rhythm.
TVGuide.com: Jump-roping, I think, is one of those things where either you can do it or you can't. Me, I can't do it at all.
Bleu: It's funny, with double Dutch, as long as you have good turners you can make a good jumper out of the worst jumper. Double Dutch is all about the turners. Even if you have an amazing jumper, if you have a bad turner, you can't jump.
TVGuide.com: And here I thought the girls working the ropes were getting short shrift.
Bleu: Which is true, and for most people it's always about the jumping, which is kind of sad. But people who know about double Dutch respect all the turners. It's a lot of work. I can't turn. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Was it a bit of a factual leap that a guy could join a girls' team?
Bleu: There are mixed-sex teams, yeah. And there are [teams with] just guys, with just girls....
TVGuide.com: And realistically, wouldn't you have to tie down or rein in that famous hair of yours, for fear of the rope snagging on it?
Bleu: [Laughs] Realistically, yeah.... I was able to do it with my hair out, but when I went to a real double-Dutch competition in Canada while filming, every person braided their hair and had it back, because the rope does hit it. Every once in a while the rope would swing at my hair, but that didn't matter for us because we could do it over again. But in a competition situation, where every moment counts and you can't mess up, yes, I would put my hair back.
TVGuide.com: How has your life changed since this High School Musical thing hit?
Bleu: Well, I used to be able to go to a mall, and now I can't! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Well, you can, it's just there'd be the deafening screams of girls.
Bleu: Exactly. But it's been so much fun, a life-changing thing for me. For everybody in the cast. None of us a year ago would think that we'd be doing a 43-city tour across the country, with 15,000 screaming fans a night. I definitely wasn't expecting to get a record deal out of this, or two Emmys and the Billboards and the Guinness book and the AMAs and the Teen Choice [Awards]....
TVGuide.com: Now, when you were doing it, you probably thought, "This will fly under the radar, but it will be fun to do."
Bleu: You know what, I knew it was going to be big, because kids always love Disney movies. But this has gone beyond the extent of just the normal Disney viewers. I have people in their forties coming up to me to say, "Aww, I love that movie!" I go, "Oh, cool. Do you have kids?" and they go, "No." [Laughs] The amount of people who have fallen in love with this movie is quite amazing.
TVGuide.com: Do you think the Disney conglomerate was kicking itself for not releasing HSM theatrically?
Bleu: No, I don't think so. I can't be sure, and it's definitely a movie that could have been a very good feature. But I think it does better as a TV-movie.
TVGuide.com: Has Disney been taking good care of you, or just throwing you some menial scholarship dollars?
Bleu: Oh, no, they're definitely taking care of me.
TVGuide.com: Good to hear. What can you preview about High School Musical 2? What's the setup?
Bleu: We still haven't gotten scripts, but the basic premise is that it takes place during the summer, while school is out, and at the country club owned by Ryan and Sharpay. So there will be a lot more singing and dancing, and probably some golfing, swimming....
TVGuide.com: It's High School Musical meets Caddyshack meets Dirty Dancing.
Bleu: Dirty Dancing is the perfect comparison, especially since Kenny Ortega, our director [choreographed Dirty Dancing].
TVGuide.com: What's the time frame for premiering it on TV?
TVGuide.com: Oh! You better get "jumping" then!
Bleu: I know!
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