Here’s how Disney Channel’s “Zombies” is like “Bring It On” — but with an undead twist
Disney Channel’s latest original movie, Zombies, is finally here! As if that weren’t enough great news, your latest DCOM obsession (but actually, you’re about to be so obsessed) borrowed from one of the greatest mast-cheer-pieces of all time: The legendary classic Bring It On.
So, what’s it all about? Zombies tells the story of aspiring cheerleader Addison (Meg Donnelly) and her zombie crush Zed (Milo Manheim), who meet when Zed and his fellow zombies — whose appetite for humans is put to rest thanks to some handy-dandy tech — transfer over to Seabrook High School.
Cheer plays a big role throughout, as Addison goes through tryouts for Seabrook’s squad, makes the team, and performs with them. And those performances are pretty darn fantastic, largely thanks to her cheer-tator cousin Bucky (Trevor Tordjman).
"Bring It On is definitely an inspiration," choreographer Chris Scott told HelloGiggles over the phone, which makes total sense. Because, let's be honest, when most of us think of cheer, Torrance, Missy, and their Toros redemption story is *the* cheer movie. "It's a classic. I love that movie," said Scott.
However, Scott’s first inspiration for cheer choreography was Cheer Squad, a reality series about Canadian cheer team the Great White Sharks (that’s streaming on Netflix, BTW). He wanted a current and authentic reference, and this was that. Where zombie references are concerned, he found inspiration looking back at work he’d done on The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers.
For Donnelly’s part, she worked closely with Scott to incorporate cheer into her performance: “I was never a cheerleader but I did take gymnastics (so that helped),” she wrote to HelloGiggles in an email. “I had to rely on the choreographers and cheer coach to help me learn the cheer moves. Cheer moves are very different than straight dancing. It was a lot of fun to learn something new.”
She might not have a background in cheer, but she — and her cast — got pretty into it, pretty quickly.
They even went so far as to come up with a cheer tradition on set.
"On the set of Zombies, we were getting ready for our first big dance scene," she explained. "As we were waiting to start, we spontaneously started to cheer back and forth between our two groups, the 'Zombies' and 'Seabrook' (human cheerleaders). It really got our energy up!! From then on, it became a ritual and a great way to create a fun rivalry. Then we would all dance together in a big circle before breaking to start the scene. It got everyone pumped and ready to do his or her very best."
All things considered, we’re certainly pumped for Zombies to premiere on Disney Channel tonight, February 16th, and guess what? That leaves *just enough* time to squeeze in Bring It On…and maybe some of its sequels.