Stan Walker struts his stuff on big screen

NEIL REID
Last updated 13:00 03/08/2014
Stan Walker

BEST FOOT FORWARD: Stan Walker will star as Benjy in the New Zealand-produced movie Born To Dance.

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STAN Walker's voice has taken him to the top of the charts on both sides of the Tasman.

And now Walker - who initially found fame after winning the 2009 Australian Idol reality TV talent quest - is set to unleash his dance moves in the New Zealand-produced multi-million dollar international hip-hop film, Born To Dance.

The 23-year-old - whose music hits include Black Box, Choose You and Galaxy - has been confirmed to play the role of Benjy, one of the male leads in the feature film.

Born To Dance will be choreographed by Parris Goebel ; who has choreographed for global chart-topper Jennifer Lopez and the North American-based Cirque du Soleil dance troupe, as well as recently acting and co-choreographing in the fifth instalment of the blockbuster Step Up movie series.

''We are leading in terms of hip-hop, especially with Parris and her success with working with people like Jennifer Lopez,'' Walker told Fairfax Media from Sydney.

''I am proud that not only is this a New Zealand film, but [it will] represent our talents. Being Polynesian, it's awesome to have a Maori director, a Samoan choreographer and the cast is predominantly Polynesian. It speaks a lot to the people who are going to be watching it.''

When asked about the quality of his own dance moves, Walker said jokingly: ''Terrible''.

But he said given Goebel's talent as both a dancer and choreographer, come filming time he would be in prime condition to unleash some killer moves.

''She is definitely a leader in terms of creative [work] ... she inspires people to be more creative than what they are,'' Walker said.

''The way her mind works is incredible. If you have seen any of her productions, her dancing is out of this world. I did a workshop with her and struggled with all my life because I am not a dancer. [But] if she can make me look good, that means the movie is going to be good.''

The team behind Born To Dance say they are hoping to announce ''an international Hollywood starlet'' to play the female lead role.

When asked who topped his wishlist of actresses to play the character, a laughing Walker responded: ''Beyonce... but she is too old for the role.''

The brains behind Born To Dance describe it as a: ''Coming of age tale told through the eyes of 'Tu', an ambitious young man from Auckland who dreams of being a professional hip-hop dancer.''

Benjy is a member of the group Tu hangs around with, with Walker describing his character as ''pretty relaxed, he's chilled and kind of just goes day by day''.

''He chooses a few things to get by during the day, obviously not good things to choose, but he has got to do what he has to do to survive,'' he said.

''He is dumb, but he is also a little bit wise because he teaches people through his bad mistakes. I guess he is the 'big brother' [of the group], he is the clown as well... he hasn't got time to be so serious.''

It is his second major film project, having starred in 2013 Kiwi box office hit Mt Zion .

''I got the buzz [with Mt Zion ],'' Walker said.

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''It is not saying I am a good actor or anything like that, but I have been given the opportunity so why not take a hold of it and run with it.''

Confirmation of Walker's starring role in Born To Dance caps a great two weeks for the chart-topper.
His new single, Aotearoa , debuted at No 2 on the official New Zealand top 40 singles chart last weekend.
Walker spoke to Fairfax Media on Thursday before flying to the US for three weeks.

On the agenda will be recording, song writing and meeting with record company executives.''Sometimes it's good to get out of your [comfort zone] to aid with the creative juices,'' he said.

He will return to New Zealand following his American trip to work on Born To Dance

The film will be directed by award-winning actor Tammy Davis; best known for bringing the character ''Munter'' to life in Kiwi television comedy-drama Outrageous Fortune.

He has also directed widely acclaimed short films Ebony Society and Sonny, My Older Brother .

Davis said he was hugely excited about the upcoming hip-hop production.

''This is a film that will totally connect with audiences here in New Zealand and around the world,'' he said.

''I can't wait to see what Parris Goebel does with the choreography, and with talent like Stan Walker on board you'd better book your tickets now because there are going to be queues around the corner to see this film.''

- Stuff

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