“Bring It On” brought in millions by exposing the sassy lives of sexy cheerleaders. “Stick It” is currently earning high scores for its eye-popping portrayal of cut-throat, leotard-flaunting gymnasts. With people finally appreciating the high-demand lives of women who are both athletes and students, moviegoers seem to be saying to these kinds of stories: “Give us ’All You’ve Got.’ ”
Now a pop singer with delicious “Goodies” and a “Napoleon Dynamite” dork are all too happy to oblige.
“The one thing about this to me is that it’s real,” Ciara said of her acting debut in the offbeat volleyball drama “All You’ve Got,” which lands on DVD May 23. “It’s a coming-of-age movie, and I think it talks about things teenagers go through.”
The film tells the story of upper-class high school volleyball players who, after a fire scorches their campus, are forced to relocate to their rivals’ school in the barrio.
For “Dynamite” actor Efren Ramirez, his first major post-breakthrough role had him stealing scenes again, this time from sexy ladies like Ciara and co-stars Adrienne Bailon and Sarah Mason. “[’All You’ve Got’ is] about girls not getting along with each other. You see, these girls get into catfights all the time, and I guess I’m the Casanova,” Ramirez laughed. “To be working with this team, inside that jungle gym, it was great, man.”
“I love these girls. Ciara is an amazing woman with an incredible heart,” grinned Mason, a TV veteran. “We all meshed together really well. It was funny because we all started becoming friends, learning volleyball, and then it was like, ’We need to fight with each other — we’d better back off a little bit.’ ”
“I can honestly say that this movie is filled with a lot of great talent,” Ciara insisted, giving props to co-stars Marques Houston and Frankie J. “And I gained a newfound respect for volleyball.”
The stars were trained intensely so that every spike, set and stuff rang as true as the film’s high school story line. “You have to remember your form,” remembered Bailon, who previously appeared in “Coach Carter,” another film that merged athletic skill with life lessons. “You want to make it as realistic as possible. You don’t want people watching the film and being like, ’Oh my God, she don’t play volleyball. She’s not a true athlete.’ So we actually worked with our doubles to really get the form correct and, even when we’re calling plays, make it as real as possible.”
The chance to step into another person’s sneakers is, according to Ciara, one of the reasons she was so eager to act in the first place. “I was an athlete before this, and now I’ll add volleyball as one of my hobbies to do,” the 20-year-old said. “I’m also happy that it didn’t involve my musical talents. When people see me on the screen, I want them to be able to discern the difference between [when I’m] acting and [when I’m making] music. … That’s my goal.”
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“I knew Ciara was going to be in the movie, so I was excited already,” Bailon gushed. “They called me ’Thug Passion’ on the set, because I love hip-hop music. I swear, my trailer was moving from the vibrations.”
Ciara said she appreciated working with experienced actors who, along with the similarities she shared with her character, made her feel right at home. “It went back to elementary school with me. I was taller than a lot of females, and it was hard for me to accept that. I wanted to be shorter, I couldn’t take it,” the leggy star recalled. “I’ve learned now to accept it and embrace it. Accept yourself for who you are and love it … being around these girls and seeing how they work their height and use it to their benefit, it really just made me say, ’Oh my goodness, thank you for blessing me.’ It just made me feel even better, and I embraced it. [The filmmakers] made it look so beautiful.”
Movies like “Bring It On,” “Stick It” and now “All You’ve Got” are continuing to make audiences appreciate female athletes. For Ciara, it also made the star appreciate all she’s got.
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