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Jeff Bridges • Missy Peregrym • Maddy Curley
• Nikki Soohoo
DIRECTOR: Jessica Bendinger

Jeff Bridges and Missy Peregrym THE CONCEPT:
Rebellious 17 year old and former Junior National Gymnastics Champion, Haley Graham (Peregrym) finds herself in juvenile court, where the judge sentences her to do time at VGA, an elite gymnastics academy run with military regimentation by legendary coach Burt Vickerman (Bridges).

U.S. RELEASE: April 28 2006, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13


“My character has got some conman in him, and I think that he was probably quite a bit like Missy’s character when he was her age, very much pushing the envelope and testing himself. He ended up getting hurt, and that kind of dampened his spirits, and that’s when he got into coaching. That’s all back story and isn’t necessarily in the movie, but the way that I figured it he probably encouraged the girls to do it like he did it; then he started to get some of his athletes hurt and get a bad reputation, and so he pulled way back and was most concerned about safety and giving the judges what they want rather than doing what the athletes wanted to do.”

“I was very nervous to work with Jeff in the beginning. I had admired his work and this was my first movie. I remember when he first came into the gym he was so friendly and so open. I remember we immediately started talking about the characters, and he was very encouraging to me. We wanted to make sure that our characters had some similarities. He didn’t always want his gymnasts to do the safe thing, but when they got hurt he got burned so he conformed to what the rules were, and I did the same thing – I quit.”

NIKKI SOOHOO (Wei Wei Yong):
“Jeff is such an amazing person. One day I was having a bad day and he came into my trailer and serenaded me on the guitar until I stopped crying. I thought that was the sweetest thing anyone had ever done and it really showed me a different side of him.”

“It’s almost like a reflex action. You get a girl that is that age and they start to cry, and you just go, ‘Come on, let’s play. Let me show you how to play the guitar.’ So we played some guitar. I thought that she was wonderful in the movie too.”

“[Because I was a gymnast] Jeff would ask for advice on being a coach. ‘Maddy, Missy’s character is about to do this vault, now what would I say to her?’ And he’d take everything I said to heart. It was pretty cool to have this amazing actor, I’m like, ‘The Dude is asking me how to coach gymnastics!’”

“I went to a great gymnastic meet here in Los Angeles. I must have looked peculiar because I had my video-camera and there were all these girls doing their routines, and I’m videotaping the coaches and how they use their hands, how they had their feet. I was hunting in the early days to find out what my coach was going to be like!”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Film Review, #670, June 2006 cover

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