Corbin Bleu Interview: “I Want To Be Viewed As An Entertainer”

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SO-M had the chance to chat with Corbin Bleu recently to promote his new movie. Corbin stars as “Cale Bryant” in the new movie Free Style, which opens today. The story is about a young man working to achieve his dream of being a professional motocross racer, but also dealing with the hardships of life, including love, money and friendship. The movie is full of action and also touches on several issues that every one can relate to. The movie is much more than just a movie about Motocross. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The movie co-stars Madison Pettis, Penelope Anne Miller & Sandra Echeverria. For a list of theaters playing the movie, go HERE.

Check out our interview below as Corbin talks about the movie, “The Beautiful Life,” music, transitioning from “High School Musical” and more.

After making this movie, do you have an interest in motocross?
Corbin: I have a bike. I got a bike. As long as I’m not under contract for something at the time, I definitely push my limits and try to go out there and ride and do as much as I can. I’ve become obsessed with the sport. I go out to all the races. I have a bike and I go out and ride all the time. I have a Kawasaki 250X.

Can you do any tricks?
Corbin: Actually yeah. I’m getting more into it. It takes a while. I’m jumping now. I can alteast make a single jump, which is a lot for me. It’s great and I love the sport. It’s really family oriented. You go to these races and the entire family is there. Really supported. It’s needed because it’s a such an expensive sport and really only the top 5 riders in the World really have a sufficient paycheck.

This story is amazing because it’s a guy who’s father left him as a kid. He’s caring for his mother and his sister. He works two jobs just to put food on the table and at the same time he’s trying to turn pro in the sport. It’s hard and there’s so many obstacles in the way. The fact that he actually gets it done and he makes it there is pretty powerful. It’s so rare and it’s a lot to break into the sport.

We hear you dropped snowballs and ice on people.
Corbin: We were dealing with the elements constantly. There was schizophrenic weather. I think mainly snowball fights were a constant. Especially with Madison. It’s so much fun having someone younger on set. It just brings such a pleasant vibe.

Your production company worked on ‘Free Style’. Were you part of casting?
Corbin: I was. I was part of all the casting, which was great. Madison [Pettis] was almost an automatic. I had met her a few times prior at events. We would go, we have to play brother and sister at some point because this is just ridiculous. [laughs] That was a definite. Then looking for the girl. We auditioned a lot of different girls. The whole Mexican culture of the film wasn’t originally in the script. We were looking at a bunch of different girls, then Sandra [Echeverria] walked in the room. At the very beginning she was too beautiful. She came in all dressed up. We called her for a callback we said come dressed down. You’re gorgeous, you’re stunning. We wanted her to play a little more edgy than she came in. We read, the chemistry was there and she had the accent, which was great.

That also propelled the movie to a whole other level. Obviously we had the racial thing. We definitely wanted to cast my mother and father as an interracial couple. Then a whole other culture was brought in with her being Mexican and him being thrown into this crazy world with a fiesta and her whole culture. It’s a very mixed world.

There are so many different layers in this movie, not just about the sport. What did you draw on for these emotional scenes.
Corbin: I’ve always gone back to friends. Friends in high school, in my life. I have several friends that have grown up with single parents, no parents, have struggled financially, that have dealt with everything. I’ve been very blessed my whole life. I have a very put together family. They’re very close and tight knit. When I was born we struggled financially but we’ve been very blessed now. You always pull from that. You pull from the synthetic. It’s not always from life experiences. That’s why everywhere you go as an actor, you’re always watching, always listening. You never know when you’ll have to experience that same thing in a role. It was definitely different but I enjoyed it. It gave me an appreciation as well for what I have.

What would you consider the lowest point in your life and how you overcame it, because that’s a big theme of this film.
Corbin: I’m very self critical, more so than most people. I can get very down on myself at some points. I think for me the lowest point is when, I’m so much a perfectionist, I make a big thing out of things that aren’t really such a big deal. Overcoming it has always been family and that’s one of the major themes in this film. The people around you are the ones who are going to bring you through.

How was it transitioning from High School Musical into a film like this?
Corbin: It’s still a family film, something for everyone. Cale is still a little more complex than Chad. Chad is happy with his basketball. I think the major transition for this film for me was working behind the scenes. My production company was behind the film. I got to work on the casting, finding the location. Every day we’d regroup and figure out how the next day would go. It was different. The battle between the business end and the creative side is also a challenge.

How has your experience with Disney helped your career?
Corbin: I started working when I was 2. I’ve been in this industry for a while. “High School Musical” was the first project that was obviously huge. That skyrocketed to another level. I was able to view it from a different perspective then. The major thing with working with Disney was obviously propelling me to that level that I’d never experienced before with fans. At this point there is just a lot more opportunities at hand.

Do you prefer to be seen as an “actor who sings” or a “singer who acts?”
Corbin: I prefer to be viewed as an entertainer. I think an entertainer who is someone who does it all. I mean, Gene Kelly never had to choose.

(Read the rest of this interview HERE)