Exclusive Feature: Ryan Guzman

BALL OF FIRE. Bursting with energy at the seams, Ryan Guzman just can’t get enough of the thrills and challenges thrown his way. the star of “STEP UP: ALL IN” talks about acting, dancing and the remake of “Jem”

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Jacket by Louis Vuitton

Rewardingly like a badge of honor proudly displayed on a uniform, it is hard to glance at the endless list of professions adorning the pages of Ryan Guzman’s résumé without a certain sense of awe and admiration. Indeed, upon chatting for the first time with the actor, it is no surprise that the dynamic actor would explore various paths as outlets of his expression. The ball of energy seems to blaze ahead with an insatiable appetite for life and thrives on challenges that come with his work.

Among various methods of self-expression, Guzman chose martial arts at an early age to discover the competitive side in him. Discipline and focus were deeply embedded in his upbringing that carried him off into the ultra-competitive world of modeling, acting and dancing. With the right tools to face the challenges presented in such a cutthroat industry, the brown-haired actor walked through the metaphorical fire unfazed.

Modeling was his first venture in the public eye. Quickly realizing that modeling was not the right outlet of expression, the energetic actor did not waste much time in trying on other venues. Acting slipped right into his life like a pair of custom-made gloves enveloping the hand’s curves, adjusting to the wearer’s every move. Standing at the foot of his career, looking up to the imposing and majestic future that stands before him, Guzman talks about overcoming the challenges of dancing in a movie, writing a script and starring in next year’s film adaptation of “Jem.”

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 Sweatshirt by Tommy Hilfiger

“But I’ve learned that It’s the roads less traveled that make you learn more about yourself and who you want to become”

DA MAN: Hi Ryan, how are you? let’s talk about your films, “Step Up Revolution” and this summer’s “step up all in.” how did you get involved with this project in the beginning?
Ryan Guzman: I randomly heard through one of my friends a couple of years back about the auditions for a “Step Up” movie when I had just signed with a manager. Acting was so new to me, but I thought I’d give it a try. After a month and a half of auditioning, I got the lead role in “Step Up Revolution” and haven’t looked back since. When “Step Up All In” was presented to me, I, of course, said yes and the rest is history.

DA: How important is having the right dance/acting partner in these films? What was it like working with Kathryn Mccormick and Briana Evigan?
RG: The right partner is key. If you’re working with someone you genuinely do not get along with, creating chemistry is very hard and the film lacks the right ingredients. I was lucky to have worked with two amazing ladies. Kathryn is sweet as can be and a very genuine person, and Briana is a free spirit that knows how to have fun.

DA: So, how did you get so good at dancing?
RG: I trained with the best dancers in the world for eight to ten hours a day for a couple weeks. I owe everything to them.

DA: You will also play opposite Jennifer Lopez in “The Boy Next Door” as a student who has an affair with his teacher. Was there any special preparation?
RG: Noah in “The Boy Next Door” was a complete change from any other character I’ve ever played. I had to become insane and obsessed with love. It was amazing to play something out of my comfort zone.

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Trousers by DKNY

DA: You’re also playing Rio in “Jem The Movie,” based on the ‘80s cult animated series, “Jem.” could you tell us a little bit about the movie and your role in it?
RG: The movie is about bringing “Jem” into the new century and making it relevant. It’s about a group of girls and how they evolve on their rise to stardom. I play Rio, who is their road manager. Rio and Jem have a spark between them that is undeniable, which leads to an adventurous journey between the two.

DA: What about Rio that appealed to you?
RG: I initially decided to get involved with the project because it would be a chance to work with an amazing director, Jon M. Chu, and also to have an opportunity to work with Blumhouse productions again. I also loved the fact that they were reinventing Jem. I’d be stupid not to take this role.

DA: John M. Chu also directed a couple of the “Step Up” movie franchises. Was that how you two knew each other?
RG:  We’ve known each other through the “Step Up” circle, but when I found out that he wanted me to come to audition for the role of Rio, I quickly sent him a message on Twitter and told him I don’t sing. He reassured me that we could work something out if I did well in the audition. Things worked out, and I’m learning so much from him through the times we have been working together.

DA: In “Pretty little liars,” you play Jake, a Tae Kwon Do instructor and the love interest of one of the main characters. Are you a martial artist in real life, or did you take some training for this part?

RG: I received my Tae Kwon Do black belt at the age of ten, and I’ve studied many other martial arts forms. That was one of the most fun parts of playing Jake.

DA: Do martial arts and dancing somehow help with the discipline of acting?
RG: Yes. You have to be very disciplined and work as hard as you can if you want to get anywhere with each skill.

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Outfit and shoes by Dior Homme

DA: So, you’ve managed to blend the things you love altogether, like dancing, martial arts and acting.
RG: I didn’t know about the dancing until I got the role of Sean in “Step Up.” It’s not really up to me to make those decisions on my characters yet. I’ve taken roles that scare me. Dancing in front of people used to scare me, and I thought there’s no better way to overcome that then do a movie about it. Singing also scares me, but I still took the role of Rio in “Jem.” I’m just trying to expand as a person and learn new things through my craft.

DA: We’ve heard that you’re also interested in scriptwriting. What kind of script?
RG: I like action drama or comedy. I’ve already written a couple scripts actually.

DA: Before acting, you were quite an active model. Why did you decide to cross over from modeling to acting?
RG: Modeling was never for me. I never really enjoyed it. I was always looking for a better venue for a career and I happened to find that in acting.

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Outfit and shoes by Bally 

“I’m Inspired by the 1920s fashion, but with a rugged sense of style. It’s about how you wear the clothes, not the clothes you wear”

DA: When you were a model, that means you were in constant contact with the fashion industry. so what is your personal style?
RG: I’m inspired by the old-school 1920s fashion, but with a rugged sense of style. I don’t like to try too hard or think too much about style. It’s about how you wear the clothes, not the clothes you wear.

DA: Any words of wisdom for all the models out there that are pursuing acting?
RG: There are many roads you can take to the destination you desire, but I’ve learned that it’s the roads less traveled that make you learn more about yourself and who you want to become.

Exclusive outtakes:

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Sweatshirt and trousers by BOSS by Hugo Boss, sneakers by Christian Louboutin

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Outfit by Valentino, watch by Zenith, and bracelet by John Hardy

Photographer: Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
Stylist: Alexa Rangroummith Green

Grooming: Elle Leary @ Cloutier Remix using Bobbi Brown, American Crew, Bumble and bumble.
Styling assistants: Mike Solomon and Robert Sugden.
Special thanks to Usa Green, Sandro & Pam Schneider of Agoura Fitness