Known for Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Evelyn and Becoming Jane, Dublin born Sophie Vavasseur has also appeared in the historical drama Vikings. In this sixth installment of the popular Bring It On franchise, Vavasseur is Hannah, a key member of the Rebels cheer team. Challenged in a smack down by a rogue team called “The Truth,” the Rebels also face the U.S. Northern Elite Gymnastics & Cheer team and 19 squads from around the world. In this one-on-one interview, Sophie reveals what drew her to this film and how she feels about the various roles she’s had to play.
Most of your work has centered on heavy or serious topics. What drew you to this light-hearted film?
Sophie Vavasseur: I have a huge love and passion for dancing and gymnastics, which was a big part of my life growing up. I still know the words to the original Bring it On. Being able to combine all my passions in one project—acting, dancing and gymnastics—was almost like a dream come true. You rarely get that in a project, so I jumped at the opportunity to be in such an iconic franchise.
Did you ever have aspirations for getting into professional gymnastics?
Sophie: When I was younger, I trained three times a week. My mom is actually a gymnastics coach. She never coached me, but I took to it like a duck to water from the age of six. I competed until I was eleven, but it was strength and conditioning for nine hours a week. So I’m still able to do all the backflips. While I never competed professionally, it was a hobby and passion of mine.
Did you audition for the role?
Sophie: We had a couple of audition scenes that included dance and gymnastics. So I put a show reel together with me doing different floor moves and back flips. It came to me so easily and I was already familiar with the franchise.
Hannah was tough with a bit of an attitude. How is Hannah like Sophie and how is she different?
Sophie: Hannah was very diverse, certainly more than meets the eye. I suppose we share the same basic traits. I’m quite driven. I like to be the best I can be and reach my full potential at all times.
How hard was it to learn the cheer routines?
Sophie: We had five weeks of rehearsals. It was a boot camp of almost 10 hours a day and a shock to the system for all the actors. I was the only one who had a gymnastics background, but I hadn’t done gymnastics for eight years. We were all in about the same position. We were thrown right into the deep end, doing stunts on the second day. We had dancers and cheerleaders on set and they were very supportive. While it was physically and mentally demanding, it was my favorite part of the overall process. For me, it was like being a kid in a candy shop.
What was the camaraderie like among your team?
Sophie: Chris (Prosperi) and I were the first to arrive in Cape Town and we became friends from the start. Then Gia and Jordan came and we were all living in the same complex—basically in each other’s pockets for three months. We were all actors about the same age with different personalities and we made very authentic friendships. I still talk to Chris every second day and Gia and Jordan. They’ll be my friends for life. I feel very lucky to have that because not every project allows you to develop genuine friendships with cast members.
What was life like for you in Dublin, Ireland?
Sophie: I grew up as the youngest of four. We all have different career paths. My eldest is a consultant in pediatrics, my brother is a stockbroker and my other sister is in marketing. I’m the one who everyone worried about, being in the creative field. My mom and dad gave us lots of opportunities when we were younger, putting us into as many activities as possible to see what works for us. We all did a bit of modeling and advertising, but I was the only one who hung on to it growing up. It was strange growing up in Dublin, because I didn’t know anyone in the entertainment industry. In some ways, it was very lonely, but now, as an adult, I know a lot more people in the industry. Acting was definitely not the thing to do in Dublin.
You’re also in Vikings as Princess Ellisif. How would you compare being in Bring it On vs. Vikings?
Sophie: I’ve done quite a few period dramas. Vikings is a huge production and it was an honor to be part of it. But the intensity is there in both projects.
What’s next for you? More TV, more films?
Sophie: I just spent three months in L.A. auditioning, so hopefully, I’ll be back working very soon. I’m very open minded. Most important for me is to be able to relate to the character. Generally, I like more serious roles with substance that I can sink my teeth into. But I’m very athletic, so I won’t shy away from physically demanding parts.
This 6th Bring It On will be released on? ?August 29th.