*Universal Home Entertainment’s “Honey 3: Dare to Dance” will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD September 6. The film is the latest in the popular hip hop dance franchise directed by Bille Woodruff. It was preceded by “Honey” and “Honey 2” and stars Cassie Ventura and Kenny Wormald. The dancer/actor is best known for his roles in the 2011 remake of “Footloose,” “Love and Mercy” and the MTV reality series “Dancelife.”
Filming for “Honey 3” took place in South Africa, and Woodruff explained to EUR/Electronic Urban Report why he selected Cape Town as the backdrop for the project, and what he looks for when selecting dancers. He also shares how Cassie came to be his newest Honey.
Woodruff is the director of all three films in the “Honey” series, and he called Cape Town “a magical place” — one he wanted to highlight the beauty of in “Honey 3.” Most importantly, he wanted American viewers to see a side of Africa that they may have a one-sided view of.
“I wanted people here to be able to see this and be like, ‘Wow! This place is amazing!’ And to feel the magic that I felt there, and to also realize that we have preconceived notions in America about other places in the world, especially Africa. And so I felt that it was a great opportunity to let them see a film and get the idea of like, ‘Wow, this is like me.’ That was very important to me. It was also one of the things that got me actually excited and made me feel like there’s really a reason to do a Honey 3.”
The audition process for these films must be overwhelming. What do you look for when selecting dancers?
BILLIE: It is overwhelming and this one was more overwhelming in a way cause we were shooting in Cape Town, South Africa. So all of these people in the States, they’re wanting to be in it but I’m like, ‘Sorry guys. We’re going over there.’ What I look for is just… a spark. I love working with dancers. I always give dancers that have never acted roles in these movies. I give them a chance to meaningful roles because dancers are just really special people. They have to have so much dedication and hard work and such a spirit to deal with so much rejection. Even more rejection than actors do. There’s so many more auditions that they go on, and such a grueling process. I look for people that have a fire. I like them to have a fire inside that just gets you exited, [and] people watching will get to see parts of themselves. I think that’s why the movies are so successful and people really relate to them.
Billie also revealed that some of the dancers he has worked with have come “from wealthy families and some are from places where they’re not sure where their next meal may come from.”
— Missinfo (@Missinfo) September 2, 2016
What advice would you give aspiring dancers? Ya know, something vital that you have discovered about this industry that you believe is worth passing on.
BILLIE: Figure out what your thing is. Whatever the thing is that makes you shine, figure that out and then live your passion and make that come through your dance. That’s what’s going to serve you. That’s what’s going to make people notice you in a room when you’re auditioning with 400 other dancers. The thing that’s going to make them notice you is that you’ve figured out that way to still bring your special thing out even when you’re doing someone else’s choreography.
You seem to have found “It” in Cassie. Explain how she came to be your newest Honey.
BILLIE: We met when she came out with her first album. She had this hit song “You and Me” on Bad Boy, and we crossed paths and I said to her — cause she had this certain energy — and one thing I am good at is that I do know stars. And there was something about her that was compelling and interesting, and I said, ‘You should make movies.’ I said this to her so long ago, and we hadn’t been in touch in forever. Then we got back in touch when I did this movie “The Perfect Match,” she’s one of the female leads. She was at place in her career where she was really ready to get into doing movies, and the fact that it happened with me. We were both saying, ‘Oh my gosh!’ She was like, ‘Do you remember what you said to me so long ago?’ And I was like, ‘I do! I didn’t think you remembered.’
It’s just an instinct thing with me. Like Jessica Alba. She walked into the room and I just knew that she needed to be Honey. It’s important to have someone that people are going to relate to. It’s a likability mixed with a certain mystery, mixed with a little bit of edge.
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“Honey 3” hits on certain social elements that many viewers will resonate with. Was it important to keep it fun and light while at the same time touch on serious issues that affect the black community?
Billie: Yes, I felt that it was important because of what’s going on in the world. We all live where we live, but the reality is that, the same kinds of problems that we’re faced with here, people are faced with around the world. So I felt like it was important to touch on that. I did actually delve into it more. I explored that more but, ya know — it’s a movie and things happen in editing and everything couldn’t fit in. So there was actually more of that-that was explored that I did shoot but we couldn’t keep it all. But it was very important to me to do that because it’s what people really are dealing with in their everyday lives.
According to the official synopsis, “Honey 3″takes place at a prestigious South African school, where Melea (Cassie) and her boyfriend (Kenny) imagine a hip-hop version of Romeo and Juliet, but Melea’s dreams are dashed when she’s unable to pay tuition and is forced to leave. Determined to fulfill her destiny, she persuades the community to support her artistic and unique vision. When adrenaline-filled rehearsals cause dance crew rivals and egos to get in the way, everything falls apart. Once again, Melea dares to dream and risks it all to put on a performance that Woodruff is hoping you’ll never forget.
Is there a particular message you’re hoping lingers with viewers long after the film ends?
Billie: The one thing with all the Honeys that’s a current theme is really about believing in yourself and overcoming obstacles, so that’s still true with this one. What’s unique to this one is that I feel it’s more about coming together. Ya know, people from different backgrounds and different cultures coming together through dance. At its core, it’s about all of these different groups of people coming together and relating to one another and having love for each other.
The director of “Beauty Shop” is also behind some of the most iconic music videos including Britney Spears’ “Overprotected,” Usher’s “You Make Me Wanna,” Nelly’s “Hot in Herre,” R. Kelly’s “Ignition” and Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” As a creator, Billie said he’s enjoying the cost efficient ways technology is inspiring how stories can be told now.
“Technology has opened up different avenues and ways to do more because technology has advanced.” Billie notes that with such advancements, filmmakers can “move a story forward” in ways that they haven’t been able to do before because technology “gives you more freedom in storytelling,” he added.
“Honey 3: Dare to Dance” arrives on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and Netflix on September 6.