George Sampson Interview
George Sampson Interview
George Sampson hit the headlines back in 2008 when he won the iTV talent competition Britain’s Got Talent with his streetdance performance to a remixed version of Singing in the Rain. Having gone onto to gain a role in the BBC’s school drama Waterloo Road and star in the dance-themed Streetdance film of 2010, he’s back once more in the sequel, alongside various other renowned international dancers. He spoke to View’s Matthew Turner about making the move into acting, the difference in dance between Britain and France, and the joys of a flash mob.
Did you expect to be doing Streetdance 2?

George Sampson

I never expected to be doing Streetdance 1! I never expected to do any of them, no. I'm made up though, absolutely made up. I mean, the change from the first one is amazing. They've done really well. I was honoured when they asked me. Completely honoured. Yeah, but if I look back five years, I never would have dreamed of it, never.
The first film was a surprise success ...

George Sampson

Yeah, it was. It was to everyone, to us all. No-one expected it to do so well. And I hope people watch this one as well and jump onto it, because it's a good movie and we worked hard, so I hope people are there to see that.
How much rehearsal goes into a film like this? How long did you rehearse for?

George Sampson

Well, we shot for a good three months and I think we rehearsed for about two beforehand and it was literally twelve hour days Monday to Sunday, we were just dancing, dancing, dancing and the choreographers, Rich and Tone, the American guys, they're really military over there, they proper love it like, they get the best out of you. Which is good. But a couple of us were sick here and there because they did work you very hard. So yeah, lots of preparation. We even worked through the Royal Wedding. That was unfair. Everyone in the world had a bloody day off and we were dancing! It was a nightmare, but I loved it.
It says in the notes that the dancing came as a surprise to you ...

George Sampson

Oh yeah, I wasn't meant to. When they told me, at first they said, 'You're playing Ed, you're not dancing at all, it's just an acting role.' I thought, 'Great – piece of cake.' And they had a workshop before the rehearsals where they were getting all the crew together to pick the dancers – it was like a six hour class with the American guys. And the producer called me, and he said, 'Why don't you come out to Paris? Just come and watch and check the dancers out.' I thought, 'Oh, a free trip to Paris, great.' I got there. It wasn't. It was, 'Hey George, welcome to the workshop, get involved.'

So I got stuck in with the dancing and I learned it and we created the team and they were like, 'Right, we're going to put you in the crew now, you're going to dance in pretty much every scene.' I was made up by it. I was made up. Not for the fact that I was dancing because dancing to me is just dance – I dance or I don't dance, I'm not too fussed. But to be dancing with the guys that I danced with, they to me are like the Gods of dance. They're the people that I get starstruck by. I watch them on YouTube all the time, so to be with them, yeah, it was good, I was so happy to be dancing with them.
You were familiar with some of the other cast members before you met them then?

George Sampson

Yeah. None of them knew me, but I knew them. All the YouTube names. One of the guys, Lilou, the small guy in the movie who plays Ali, he’s the current world champion, he's the best there is, ever. I've every video of his on YouTube, bit of a stalker. I didn’t tell him that, though. Don't want his head to get too big.
He'll find out now though ...

George Sampson

[Laughs] I know, I know. No, all of them, they were all absolutely wicked. And they're all really well known within the dance scene. The day before we did that workshop there was this thing called Juste Debout, which is the biggest kind of dance celebration in Paris, every year. There was like 20,000 people there and these guys – they were like Brad Pitt and his boys walking round there. These guys are just – they are, really, like Gods of dance. It's amazing.
Is Streetdance bigger in France than here?

George Sampson

It's not that it's as big, I think it's bigger here, like it's more known, obviously with the reality TV shows, there's myself and Diversity, I think it is more renowned over here, but in terms of people dancing, we're quite lazy over here. We are, we're very lazy. I mean, I'm very lazy. I'm speaking on behalf of myself.

But in places like Paris, they really go hard - they live, eat and breathe dance. And of course, dancing's more respected in terms of the government and stuff in France, they really look after dancers, like with an athlete. And it's not like that over here yet. I mean, I think it will as it gets bigger and bigger but over there they're really well looked after. So yeah, in terms of people actually dancing, in France they're more advanced.

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Content updated: 17/12/2017 15:32

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