The film, released in May 2000, followed a group of dance students at the American Ballet Academy as they fought to exceed expectations among the best of the best.
The cast reunited 20 years later to reflect on the movie’s impact and celebrate the milestone anniversary. “Booking Center Stage was beyond my wildest dreams. … Two or three years before that I moved back from the Caribbean to New York and I wanted to continue and try to maybe pursue a professional career in ballet,” Saldana explained during the American Ballet Theatre’s virtual fundraiser, which aired on YouTube in September 2020. “But I was incredibly discouraged with the lack of diversity in the classical form of dance.”
The Guardians of the Galaxy star added that the role “sealed the deal” for her to become an actress.
“He’s not like that at all! He really is a lovely guy. He was a principal with ABT at the time when we filmed and knew that it was a whole new thing for me,” she said. “I remember one day coming back to my hotel room after a really long day and I had a voicemail from him saying, ‘Hey, I just wanted to let you know that you’re doing a really great job and I’m really impressed with your work.’ Just out of nowhere. Just leaving me a message. That’s the kind of person he was and is.”
Schull also looked back on the topics covered in the movie. “I think they were all important story lines. I think that like any kind of career there are many different people involved in the ballet world,” she told Us. “There are stage moms, there are people who have eating disorders, there are people who have family dynamics outside that change the trajectory of their career. There are all sorts of things that exist in the ballet world. And they did want to be as true to dance as possible.”
Scroll down to see where the stars of Center Stage ended up!