The Conjuring 2 actress Lauren Esposito will star opposite world-renowned ballet dancer Juliet Doherty in the coming-of-age drama The Red Shoes: Next Step, which recently started shooting in Sydney, Australia.
Joanne Samuel, who played Mel Gibson‘s wife in the original Mad Max movie, is co-directing the family film with Jesse A’hern, who is also producing alongside Tanya Esposito. The script hails from Zachary Layner, John Banas and Peter McLeod, and Daniel Gaudiello will serve as the choreographer for the teen dance movie.
The Red Shoes: Next Step stars Doherty as Sam Cavanaugh, a brilliant dancer who gives up her dream and quits the Academy after her sister is killed in a tragic car accident for which she feels responsible. Sam returns to high school, where she and her rebellious best friend Eve (Esposito) quickly get into trouble — the kind that forces Sam to perform community service cleaning the halls back at the Academy, where she’s constantly reminded of the tragedy. When the Academy’s lead dancer is injured, Sam finds herself pressed back into action to dance with her old friend and longtime crush Ben, but in order to reignite her passion for dance, she’ll need to confront her own fear and grief.
The supporting cast of the film includes professional ballet dancers Joel Burke and Primrose Kern, as well as Carolyn Bock (Neighbours), Meitta White (Conspiracy 365), Ashleigh Ross (Dance Academy) and Nicholas Andrianankos (The Legend of the Five).
The filmmakers aim to show the challenges, stress and pain that come with ballet as well as the freedom, love and acceptance that dance offers. It’s also a story about female friendship that comes at a time when studios and streamers aren’t making many dance movies aimed at younger audiences.
The Red Shoes: Next Step hails from the team behind The Legend of the Five, which Esposito starred in and co-produced, just as she’ll serve as a co-producer on this new movie. She played Frances O’Connor‘s daughter in James Wan‘s hit sequel The Conjuring 2, and she was also a series regular on the acclaimed Australian series Love Child. Esposito is represented by Kimberly Kottwitz at Brave Artists Management, CESD Talent Agency and Gilchrist Management.
The movie will be released in theaters and digitally on August 20.
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