by Jeff Niesel
Earlier this week, Misha Gabriel, one of the stars in the new dance flick Step Up Revolution, came through town on a promo tour. He hosted a flash mob (in the film, the dancers stage flash mob performances throughout Miami) on Tuesday night at Southpark Mall and then introduced an advanced screening of the film that played to a packed house at the theatre inside the mall. “We've been working with local dance studios across the country to put on an even that will tie in with the film and that was one of our best turnouts,” says Gabriel from the Renaissance Hotel the next morning.
For Gabriel, who has been a dancer since he was a child, the film represents a huge step (pun intended). While he’s had dancing parts in everything from Clerks 2 to Jackass 2 and Foot Loose, he hasn’t had any roles that required him to actually act. So playing Eddie, the protagonist’s surly best friend, was a challenge. “That was the thing I was most excited about for this film was that I actually got the chance to act,” he says. “It’s always been a dream of mine and I never knew that I could really do it until I landed the role and forced myself to believe in myself.” Gabriel admits that Eddie has “jerk tendencies” and “feels a little bit threatened” when his friend Sean (Ryan Guzman) falls in love with Emily (So You Think You Can Dance finalist Kathryn McCormick). “He’s very protective of the mob and he’s the kind of character who feels like he’s been dealt the wrong cards. He’s aggressive and fiery hothead. I connect with the character.”
Gabriel also connects with the movie’s theme about self-determination. “The film has a message of standing up for what you believe in and taking a stand,” he says. “That’s where the revolution thing comes into play. The story lets you become more invested in the movie whereas most dance movies are based on battles. I think in the back of our minds we always kind of know who is going to win. We know the underdog is going to win but we just don’t know how.” Set in Miami, where big business developers want to gentrify the poor neighborhood that the film’s protagonist calls home, the film also takes aim at the notion that all progress is good. "When we were filming in Miami, they were knocking all kinds of buildings down," he says. "The point of the film is that we can still build without having to tear things down."