George Sampson shot to fame as the little kid with the dance moves, winning over the nation’s hearts on route to winning the second series of Britain’s Got Talent.
Shortly after, he was thrown up on the silver screen in the 3D film Streetdance, before I an ill-advised pop career threw him towards the world of dramatic acting, with George impressing in both Waterloo Road and Mount Pleasant.
With the release of Streetdance 2 on Blu-ray and DVD next week, we talked to George about the film, his acting future and his latest project, a dancing school.
What can you tell us about Eddie?
Eddie’s kind of like the tour manager of the dance crew. He put them all together, he established the idea that this crew should exist. He’s the back bone behind the team. But because he’s the youngest as well, he’s very cheeky about it.
He’s very laid back and he looks after them, teels them where to go, what to do next. It’s a shame that none of the characters take him seriously, but he means business and he’s just a great character.
So what got you in to dancing at such a young age?
When I was around six years old, my older brother Luke was performing dance at the local high school, they had a break dance class there. He wasn’t very good, he was rubbish, but his dance teacher, a guy called Swaney, came on stage and did a back flip.
Ever since then I was just hooked. I went to class after class after class until I could do a back flip. And now I can.
How different is the dancing on stage to the dancing in the movie?
It was hard, we had to do salsa on set and none of us had done any kind of salsa before. I mean, I’m rubbish at Salsa, I’m completely pants, but the rest of guys picked it up really quickly. We had a great teacher, he was fantastic. We had a laugh doing it and I like learning new stuff.
I actually like being rubbish at things and watching people who are better than me, it’s what I use for inspiration. The rhythms are different but once you got past the first bit, it was just fun for the whole two months of learning.
You’ve started doing dramatic acting now, how did that transition happen?
I think it just came off this. The first Streetdance was just a small part really and for the second one I had acting lessons and I wanted to take it seriously. My agent also said I should be looking for more dramatic work and Waterloo Road actually asked for me two years ago to audition for a part that had been and gone.
I never took it because of Streetdance 1 and then they asked again with a different part. So, I got the audition and that was it really. Same with Mount Pleasant really, it was just a phase of getting really lucky.
And how have you been finding it?
It’s so different, you really have to take it seriously. As fun as it is, especially on Mount Pleasant because it’s a comedy and so many of the cast were amazing and it was hard not to laugh on set, but it’s really different.
When you’re doing 3D films and dancing, you would kind of aim your moves at the camera so that the 3D can work. That was weird, doing stuff towards the camera. But on Waterloo Road and Mount Pleasant, it was all ‘The camera’s not there, ignore it.’ And because there was no dancing, I was out of my comfort zone, it was hard to stand there in front of these actors and just say lines to them.
The first four months of Waterloo Road were hard. And it’s a shame, because when you join you get your story out of the way, and my biggest parts were probably in my first 4 months. So it all went against me really but I just kept at it, stuck it out for two series and just got better and better. It’s nice to work with older people as well, you learn so much.
You’ve recently opened up your own dance school, what can you tell us about that?
In July 2011 I bought this old archway under the train station and since I was little I wanted to convert one of them to an underground dance studio and I was finally able to do that. So I called my uncle and we went in and spent six months on it and now it looks amazing.
It’s all graffitied, we’ve put a dance studio in, we’ve put a music studio in, it’s kind of a dream come true for me. I did it because I wanted to give something back; it’s really for the kids of Warrington.
I made sure it was the cheapest around, I made sure everyone could go, I made sure there was no age limit. We have an under five class, anyone can go. It’s all about getting people who can’t dance dancing. So far, so good, it’s taken off really well.
You suffer from Scheuermann’s Disease (which causes curvature of the spine), has that effected what you can do?
Yeah, it really has. Especially with the dancing. For some of the big moves in break dancing, you need that flexibility and at some points I could hardly bend over and touch my toes it got that bad. So I had really bad limitations.
The thing is that when I’m dancing, I seek to be ok, when I’m moving I’m fine. I only feel it when I’m stood up for five minutes doing nothing, or if I’m sat down. When I’m doing my thing, I don’t even notice it exists any more.
And they said I’m going to grow out of it now, so I feel like I’m in that phase where I’m starting to leave it behind.
So finally, what’s up next for you?
Well, I’m taking some time off now, getting all the studio done properly and getting it busier and busier. That’s my main target.
I’m trying to put weight on as well, so I’ve changed my diet trying to pump up because I’m doing Peter Pan at Christmas and I love the idea of playing Peter Pan with an urban twist. And they’re letting me keep my hat on, so it’s all going to go great!
Street Dance 2 is out on DVD and Blu-ray Combi-pack on 23 July 2012, courtesy of Entertainment One
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith