From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Cheerleading film proved educational for actor
Crazy girl talk “Fired Up” star Nicholas D’Agosto
Nicholas D’Agosto may never need catch a cheerleader or base a human pyramid again, but the young actor still counts his starring role in the new teen sex comedy “Fired Up!” as an educational experience.
D’Agosto, 28, and Eric Christian Olsen star as high school lotharios who con their way onto the cheerleading squad so they can spend their summer romancing hundreds of pom-pom girls at cheerleading camp.
D’Agosto made his film debut while still in high school, when fellow Omaha, Neb., native Alexander Payne cast him in the 1999 cult favorite “Election.” After taking graduating from Marquette University, D’Agosto returned to acting with roles in TV shows “Heroes” and “The Office” and in independent films like “Rocket Science.”
The actor talked in a phone interview about what he has learned since “Election” and how he got “Fired Up” for his latest film.
Q: It looked like you were having fun in “Fired Up!”
A: We were having an immense amount of fun, actually. Eric and I really didn’t know each other … before we were cast in the film, but we spent three weeks at cheer camp before that kind of getting ready for some of the things that we would be doing in the film. But we really just hit it off as friends. … It was a really great feeling on set every day.
Q: So you actually had to go to cheer camp to prepare for the movie?
A: Yeah, I mean, the movie’s about these two guys, and that’s the most important thing. … It really is driven by the relationship of these two guys and their desire, you know, to kind of play out these impulses. …
For the cheer side of it, we did end up doing a lot of the moves you see on camera. Not the really acrobatic moves, of course, but most of the basing, the lifting, the catching. These types of things we did practice for a few weeks with a professional choreographer.
Q: Was it anything like the cheer camp in the movie?
A: Well, no. We shot at a stage down on the Sony lot, with a lot of pads laid out, but it was us two guys and 15 girls. Some of them were the principle actors … and the majority of them were the professional dancers … that were part of the (cheerleading) team. …
I tell you, One thing I wasn’t quite aware of is that when you are extremely outnumbered by a lot of girls and they become comfortable, it is outrageous what kind of stories they tell behind closed doors. (laughs) Eric and I became privy to a lot of really like crazy girl talk; in that way, I think we got an education.
Q: Since you made your debut in “Election,” which came out 10 years ago, what have learned as an actor?
A: It was what got my foot in the door. And I went out for that audition with a few of my friends … totally naïve to the process, but within a few weeks, I was reading opposite Matthew Broderick. It was really wild. …
I’ve learned an enormous amount about the business itself, about what it takes – the stamina and the dedication and the diligence – to succeed out here. …The challenge, of course, becomes picking yourself up and continuing on year after year after year, because for many of us, it’s a slow build. And I’m very, very thankful and I have a wonderful career, but it’s hard work. … I’m very comfortable with who I am as an actor now and excited to try all kinds of things.