fans of The Umbrella Academy know that with each new season, the Netflix original superhero drama will find new ways to raise the bar for musical weirdness. But while Season 3 certainly delivered its share of unconventional needle drops and wild karaoke, perhaps the most standout soundtrack moment of the season occurs in the first episode, as the Umbrella gang comes face to face with an alternate version of their universe. own team of superheroes, and the ensuing showdown… turns into a dance battle.
Not just any dance battle, but a dance battle to Kenny Loggins’ iconic song “Footloose” – a two and a half minute dance extravaganza featuring both the new cast of Sparrows (Justin Cornwell, Justin H. Min, Britne Oldford, Jake Epstein, Genesis Rodriguez, Cazzie David and Christopher the Cube) as well as main cast members Viktor (Elliot Page), Luther (Tom Hopper), Diego (David Castañeda), Allison (Emmy Raver -Lampman), Klaus (Robert Sheehan) and Five (Aidan Gallagher).
It could technically be a fight, but the hallucinatory streak quickly turns joyful, and speaking to Hopper, Castañeda, Raver-Lampman, Sheehan, Min, and showrunner Steve Blackman, it becomes clear that it was truly a labor of love. (And a lot of work.)
Blackman says the train of thought that led to Kenny Loggins began with the opening confrontation between the Umbrellas and the Sparrows, specifically Sparrow’s spitting attack Jayme (David), which induces hallucinations. “It was Diego who was hit,” he said. “So I just tried to think, what would Diego have been hallucinating? And then I found it very funny that he might go to “Footloose”.
“There was a lot of thought to like, why does Diego have this specific dream? You know, what obsession does he have with Kevin Bacon or the Free from all ties movies ? Castañeda said.
“Fantasies, really,” Min interjects.
“Fantasms, yes. This dream of him maybe being a Broadway star,” Castañeda said.
According to Blackman, once it was in the script, “the actors were like, are we really doing this? I’m like, yeah, we’re really doing this. And to their credit, they did it during lockdown.
Hopper says his first reaction to learning the sequence was simply, “good song…It makes sense to Umbrella. Why would we be surprised? And then it quickly turned into fear when we found out what the dance was going to be like.
The memory of a video sent in by choreographer John Heginbotham, a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow whose New York-based dance company Dance Heginbotham demonstrated the full routine for the actors, “full speed,” Hopper notes, hung over everyone. the people involved.
“Nimble-looking, nimble young dancers, doing it effortlessly,” adds Sheehan.
“They do yoga for sure,” Hopper agrees.
“When they sent us the video, I didn’t open it because I was so scared. I’m like, ‘I’ll never learn these moves,’” Castañeda says. However, his terror diminished when he and the rest of the cast began working with Heginbotham via Zoom to master the choreography.
“It was pretty intense,” Raver-Lampman says. “We started conversations about dance in December 2020. And we didn’t start filming until mid-February 2021. So, you know, it was about two and a half months of conversations with [Heginbotham] just to get everyone’s comfort and special skills. And then, you know, once we all traveled to Toronto and were in quarantine, we were doing several rehearsals a week via Zoom.
Hopper notes that there was a chance at some point that they would have to shoot the sequence in small groups. “We had a situation in Ontario at the time where there was a rule due to COVID that we weren’t allowed to have a lot of actors on set. I think we were limited to six at one point – it looked like we had to do six or seven at a time and then the other seven. Then they lifted it, so we could do the whole scene with everyone.
Raver-Lampman says that once the cast came out of quarantine, there were about three weeks of in-person, completely masked rehearsals. “There were two dance studios across from each other,” she says. “One was for stunts and sparring and then the other was for dancing. And so we would just like to go back and forth in the room all day, just learning and practicing and repeating and over and over and over.