Interview: Harry Shum Jr. of "Glee"
Tue, 17 Aug 2010 16:14:33
Harry Shum, Jr is an exercise in contrasts! The Glee star is a dancer who has shared the stage with Beyonce and he also reprises his role in the new film, Step Up 3D, as he initially appeared in Step Up 2: The Streets. While he loves to dance his ass off, he also is a tech nerd with a love of the latest gadgets that fill the shelves of the local Apple store, since he says he loves innovation. He interests lie in both the creative and the technical, which might seem to be in opposition but they are really not that disparate!
ARTISTdirect's Amy Sciarretto talked to Shum, Jr. about the phenomena that is Glee - sorry, no spoilers- and how having the third installment of the Step Up franchise be in 3D only enhances the experience for the viewer. He also talks about dancing among the divas and The LXD, the popular web series he also stars in and choreographs.
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You've danced alongside some A-list stars… like Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Jessica Simpson. I am going to ask: What's Beyonce like?
Beyonce is one of the bigger artists I've danced with. When we performed, it was nerve wracking, since she is one of the biggest stars of our generation and then you share the stage with her and you try to do your best, and she is a whole different person when she performs. It was a growing experience.
After shows, sometimes we'd meet with as dancers with her and her management, but it was not an every day thing. She is very professional and very sweet. I think that is why she is where she is today, because of how she is.
The third installment of Step Up is in 3D. Do you thin the 3D element enhances the dance moves?
I think with dance, it's one of the oldest forms of entertainment and it's the special effects that are used with the natural human body and I think when you put the CGI in, it's a great way to experience it, like you were there live and it was in front of your face. It is a natural progression and it turned out to be the third movie in the franchise and they could just put a D behind it, like a happy accident.
You're known as a gadget geek or tech nerd. Could I walk into any Apple store in the Los Angeles area and find you testing out new tech toys?
[Laughs] I can go into the Apple Store and roam around for no good reason. I love innovation along the lines of art, dance and acting. I love 3D and I love innovative things and that is what draws me towards gadgets and stuff like that. I am amazed at what people create. The iPhone andiPad are so revolutionary. You don't talk about what this thing does as much you see how much it enhances what we do in our daily lives, and what it can do just by touching it.
Is your love of innovation what makes you do the The LXD web series?
LXD is short for "Legion of Extraordinary Dancers" and it's a web series that is about storytelling through dance. Episodes have themes about good vs. evil. Step Up director Jon Chu created it, and the dancers are almost superhuman like superheroes. You put them in spotlight and create characters. You can watch it on Hulu.com. It is nine episodes deep and I think I am drawn towards it because it is another platform where content can be shown and it is a platform that is strong.
Do you think that a web TV format could replace the traditional boob tube?
I don't know if these medium will replace TV; it is just another choice. You can watch movies or programs on your TV or on the computer. It is great to have options.
How's life after the first season hoopla surrounding Glee?
LXD and Glee have taken over my life. I am filming Glee right now and I am writing and trying to put something together as far as a screenplay and being creative in that space. It's not dance-related; it is outside the genre. As much as I love dance and it'll always be a part of who I am, I want to venture off to things that have nothing to do with dance. Like comedy or drama.
Does it blow your mind that Glee took off the way it did?
It blew everyone's mind. It is creative and different and you hope that this type of show can stir the pot, and it is. We are surprised as the guy sitting next to us.
Care to reveal any secrets about this upcoming season? I am sure you can't, but hey, I have to ask. Like will there be a Justin Timberlake episode?
There are so many things out there, with the rumors and news. Who is coming in and guest stars…I tend to get overwhelmed, the whole cast does. When we hear, 'This person is coming…,' we will wait till we see them on set and then we'll get excited. As far as big names, like Leonardo DiCaprio, we're like, 'No, that's not happening.' It will be a great season. Writers are pushing limits and raising the bar on the writing and the musical acts will always be there, so I am excited to get started again and make a splash.
Anything else you want to say about LXD?
It's Not just a web series. I don't like the term. It's more of an online dance adventure. It is the origins of each character and the Easter eggs that people go to when they watch it, at LXD.com, they can find out what it is, you can find more. It is mystery, dance, comedy.