'High School Musical' Star Jumps for New Film
No dancing, but there's still fancy footwork
"Jump In!," which premieres Friday, Jan. 12, stars Bleu as Izzy, a promising teen boxer who discovers that instead of his hands, he'd rather work with his feet as a double Dutch competitor. The sport, which uses two jump ropes, combines agility, acrobatics and a healthy dose of attitude.
When Mary (KeKe Palmer) asks her neighbor Izzy to fill in on her four-girl double Dutch team, he's surprised at how much he enjoys it. The problem is, not only is he afraid of his peers making fun of him, he doesn't want to destroy his dad's (David Reivers) dreams of raising a boxing champ. Izzy has to make up his mind fast, though, since the citywide double Dutch championships are rapidly approaching.
Double Dutch, which had its heydays in the early '80s, has been enjoying a resurgence lately. To add authenticity to the action, "Jump In!" features real-life Japanese double Dutch team Ashigarami, Cincinnati's Ropin' Rockets champ Marcus Taylor, Kim Bradshaw and her Greenbelt Sity Stars and the Snazzy Steppers from Central Islip, New York.
On the boxing side, Bleu trained at Los Angeles' Wild Card gym with Justin Fortune and Bridgett "Baby Doll" Riley, a boxer who has worked on several feature films, including "Million Dollar Baby." Youth boxing trainer Johnny Kalbhenn will also appear in the movie.
The movie's "pop-hop" soundtrack features Bleu's "Push It to the Limit" and Palmer's "It's My Turn Now," with the videos for both songs currently on rotation on the Disney Channel.
Bleu, 17, is best known as basketball player Chad from "High School Musical." His other credits include "Hannah Montana," "Flight 29 Down" and "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide." On the big screen, he's appeared in "Mystery Men," "Galaxy Quest" and "Catch That Kid." Reivers is Bleu's real-life father and an actor who's appeared in "Poseidon," "After the Sunset" and on numerous TV shows.
Palmer, 13, is most recognized for her star turn in "Akeelah and the Bee." She's also appeared in "Madea's Family Reunion" and "Barbershop 2."