Grammy-award nominated actress and singer Christina Milian has joined the cast of its re-imagined “Step Up” series on STARZ. Milian will take over the role of Collette, a role originated by the late Naya Rivera in the series’ first two seasons. Those seasons will be available to stream on STARZ across all platforms and airing on STARZ Fridays, beginning March 5th.
The network also confirmed that Ne-Yo returns in his co-starring role as Sage Odom, along with returning series regulars Faizon Love (“Uncle Al”), Jade Chynoweth (“Odalie”), Carlito Olivero (“Davis”), Terrence Green (“Rigo”), Eric Graise (“King”), and Kendra Oyesanya (“Poppy”) and previously announced Tricia Helfer (“Erin”) who joins the cast for the new season.
“I am so excited to join the ‘Step Up’ family,” said Milian. “I know I have massive shoes to fill. Naya was incredible. I hope to honor Naya, her family, friends, and fans with a great performance.”
“Naya’s death was a terrible loss to our world that we will, frankly, never stop mourning,” added creator and executive producer Holly Sorensen. “It was almost impossible to consider there could be someone so graceful and loving who could both help us honor our loss while also bringing a deep reservoir of talent to our show, in so many areas. Christina is an exceptional human and a dazzling performer, and we are so happy she has joined our family.”
The series is inspired by the “Step Up” movie franchise, which grossed over $600M at the worldwide box office. The original series centers on Sage Odom (Ne-Yo) as the legendary founder of Atlanta’s famed High Water Performing Art School. Collette is the Queen of High Water and Sage Odom’s partner in art, business, and love. Collette built and nurtured Sage’s visionary academy from the ground up. Grinding her way to the top with grit and resourcefulness, Collette earned a new role, manager of Sage Odom and his tour, all this while hiding a dark secret. As this secret comes crashing down on Sage, High Water, and the tour, Collette is tempted by an opportunity to step out of her role as the woman behind the man, to become the powerful woman in front of the man.
“There is no replacing Naya. Let’s get that straight. Her spirit lives on in our memories and every part of what this show is and will be,” said Ne-Yo. “Christina has big shoes to fill, and she knows it, which speaks to her poise and respect as a person and an artist. I’m more than certain of her ability to bring an energy and light to this character that Naya’s fans as well as the rest of the world, will love. We’ve welcomed Christina with absolute open arms and have rallied around her with love and support. I’m excited and can’t wait for the world to see this!”
The series, which originally aired on YouTube, began filming in Atlanta this month. Along with Sorenson, Adam Shankman, and Jennifer Gibgot, who served as producers on the original “Step Up” films, will executive produce on this latest chapter of the franchise through their Offspring Entertainment banner.
“Step Up has been an indelible part of mine and my partner, Jennifer Gibgot’s life for 16 years, and never did we think we would feel so much loss as we have with Naya’s passing,” said Shankman. “But speaking as her friend, colleague, and forever fan, nothing makes us happier then being able to celebrate the continuation of this story with the extraordinary Christina Milian and the brilliant, boundary-pushing team at Starz. We promise not to disappoint.”
Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan, who both co-starred in the original Step Up film, will also executive produce through Free Association production company and Everheart Productions, Inc., respectively. Erik Feig, who served as producer on all the films and oversaw the franchise while an executive at Lionsgate, is executive producing via his production shingle PICTURESTART. Bill Brown also serves as writer and executive producer, and Dawn Wilkinson will serve as director and executive producer.
The film franchise began with “Step Up” but went on to create “Step Up 2: The Streets,” “Step Up: 3D,” “Step Up: Revolution,” and “Step Up: All In.” The film series also inspired the live music and dance show “Step Up Dubai, All In!” at MOTIONGATE Dubai theme park.