Paul Becker (Choreographer - 'Sucker Punch')
'The Art of Sucker Punching!'
Paul Becker has etched a very unique career for himself as of one
Hollywood’s busiest choreographers, working in both feature film
and television. From hip hop and capoeira to ballet and tap, Paul
uses his vast knowledge of dance, multimedia and film making to
create elaborate spectacles.
On the big screen, he has two major motion pictures being released
on March 25, 2011. Look for his elaborate musical numbers in
Warner Bros’ SUCKER PUNCH starring Vanessa Hudgens, Jena Malone and
Carla Gugino. Paul also lends his talents to Fox’s DIARY OF A
WIMPY KID: RODICK RULES.
You can also see Paul’s talent every week on the CW series,
HELLCATS starring Ashley Tisdale. He serves as lead choreographer
on the series which features a weekly dose of dynamic dance styles
meshed with an astounding athleticism and gymnastic technique that
turn simple cheerleading into spectacular performances.
Chatting recently with Paul Becker himself, I first wondered, as he had discovered dance at an early age, what it was about dance (and all that encompasses it) that got him so hooked so early? "I started out as a b-boy. Whenever I danced I felt free. It wasn't until I got pulled into actual dance class that I really got hooked. It became an addiction. I think it was an outlet for me away from the madness of life. There were times when I could have been in lots of trouble with my brothers or friends, but intead I was distracted by dance."
Indeed, you are considered (in the press) to be a protégé of the great Kenny Ortega - is that correct or too much? "Kenny is a great friend and mentor to me. The man is a genius and I will continue to learn from him always. He supports my career very much. The beginnings of my career is very similar to his. I see myself following in his foot steps."
And so, to your current project and your were hired by director Zack Snyder to choreograph the elaborate musical numbers of the brand new film, 'Sucker Punch.' How did you receive that phone call and is it the first time you've undertaken such a big screen venture? "When Zack's office called me I literally jumped up and down. It is the largest budget film I have choreographed so far."
When you were told of the films premise, 'an Alice In Wonderland with machine guns and brothels,' did you (before you committed to it) second guess just what you could do for Zack? "I never second guessed this. I have a fighting and martial arts background. I knew I was the only one for this job. I knew it would be something that I could really be creative with."
In reflection, what was one of the most difficult scenes to get right? "The most difficult scene was probably Abbie Cornish's number. She had to fly in the air and get thrown into a pit of fire while dancing a contemporary piece!"
You also work on 'Hellcats' (CW) as the show's lead choreographer alongside Ashley Tisdale, amongst others. My God, that show has some moves incorporated within each episode, so how do you keep it fresh each week? "Each week we are producing 2-3 production numbers or cheers. I have to continue to stay inspired. Amongst my busy schedule I always make time to admire art and great films."
Weirdly, you've also carved yourself a unique niche as a brilliant horror movie movement consultant, working as a movement coach and choreographer for movie monsters! You've worked on such movies as My Soul To Take, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Cabin In The Woods and the upcoming Scooby-Doo: Curse of the Lake Monster! Please explain this 'movement consultant' gig a little more! "Every horror film or film with creatures in it, usually needs someone to develop or create those moves. That is where I come in. Weather it be a zombie or a dog, I can teach actors to get into that character and move in those ways. It is quite fun and very strange."
And so, what is upcoming for you next project wise? "Right now I am working on Twilight!!!! It is very Hush Hush! And I can't say what I am doing on it either:)"
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine LOVE penguins ... do you, perhaps? "I do like Penguins...I wouldn't say I LOVE them!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
Contest to win some signed posters coming soon ...!
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