Get your spirit fingers ready—the iconic Bring It On franchise is BACK! Beloved by anyone and everyone who grew up in the early aughts, each film gave an exhilarating glimpse into the crazy competitive world of cheer, complete with insane flips, the story of the spirit stick and like, a million cheer puns. The sixth instalment—which lands on August 29, just a few days after the OG Bring it On celebrates its 17th anniversary—will be no exception: Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack is serving that same cheer drama realness, with a decidedly modern twist.
Starring Vivica A. Fox as the Cheer Goddess, a fictional legend in the cheerleading world and “the internet’s most popular cheer-lebrity,” #Cheersmack is a virtual cheer competition between squads around the world. As each of the teams record and upload their submissions, the Cheer Goddess mediates online voting, offers cheer-support to captains in need via video chat and ensures everyone is playing by the rules.
You probs know Fox from her infamous roles as Jasmine in Independence Day or as Vernita Green in Kill Bill, but what you likely *don’t* know is that way back when—before Fox was even an actress—she was a cheerleader in high school. FLARE chatted with the star about how her past cheer life informed her role as the Cheer Goddess, and what it was like to join such a beloved movie franchise.
We’re going to start by asking you a few questions about early 2000s nostalgia. Are you ready?
What were you doing in the summer of 2000?
I’m a Leo baby, so I was definitely celebrating my birthday, which is July 30. I was in between movies, training for Kill Bill. I was becoming a bit of a movie star, doing [these movies] back-to-back-to-back—yaaas 2000! But I had to think about that! You made me pull up my own biography!
What is one trend from the 2000s that you’d like to bring back?
Gosh, in a way, things are already coming back. Things like spandex and bright colours, they’re already making such a big comeback.
And what’s one trend you’d never want to see again?
Oh my god—teased, big hair. Please, don’t. The whole Whitney Houston, big, big hair with the super hairspray and the Aquanet—don’t ever come back. Please don’t.
Were you a fan of Bring It On before you were asked to be in the sixth movie?
Absolutely—especially the very first one. Growing up in high school I was quite the jock, if you can believe it. I played basketball and volleyball, I was on the track team and I was a cheerleader. I remember being fascinated when the first Bring It On came out, I was like, “Oh my god, did they really do a movie about cheerleading?!” I thought it was funny and very entertaining, and it gave you the behind-the-scenes look at how competitive cheerleading really is.
What did you like most about Bring It On?
Everyone thought [cheerleading] was only about pompoms and ponytails and lip gloss, and trust me, it’s so much more than that. The film showed how far cheerleading has grown—the competitions are quite serious!
Were you pumped when you were asked to be in the sixth Bring It On movie?
When I was offered this role, I jumped at the opportunity. When they asked if I wanted the part, I was like, “TAKE IT!” What made it even more beautiful was that I got to go to Capetown in South Africa. It was a long trip that I did in a week’s time, but I love South Africa, and the fact that I’m such a fan of the franchise made it even more fabulous to me.
Was most of your filming done in South Africa?
All of my filming was done at this vacation home in Capetown, and I’m telling you—the Cheer Goddess?! My pad was the bomb. It was overlooking the city—all glass, all pretty. It was an awesome location, but they filmed all of my stuff in two days, so it was a brutally quick shoot.
How did you deal with such a speedy shoot?
The flying was the most difficult part, to be honest with you. It was two 11-hour flights, and then a three-hour flight, so it was like flying all day. I was not feeling well, so when I got back I had to go get a couple massages and see my chiropractor—but it was so worth it.
You did most of your shoot alone as the Cheer Goddess because you play a virtual coach. Was that different from other filming you’ve done?
Well, I’ve hosted a lot of shows—like reunion shows—so to me, it was more like a hosting gig than anything else. And it really helped me when they showed me footage of who the characters were. Plus, I’m from the world of cheerleading and a fan of the franchise, so the character wasn’t that difficult to get into.
What was the best part about playing the Cheer Goddess?
Being the Cheer Goddess, I got to bring really cool clothes. As a vlogger, my parts were shot at different spots around the house, and the competitors would call into me for daily advice on the world of cheerleading.
The squads are cheerleading teams IRL, right?
Yes! They went through an intense bootcamp to prep for the film. They showed me some of the footage and [the cheerleaders] are just amazing.
What is a virtual #Cheersmack? How does it work?
Destiny—the captain of the three-time champions, The Rebels—writes into me, the Cheer Goddess, about all these other squads wanting to take hers down. So I come up with this #Cheersmack, and it becomes a worldwide competition with teams from different countries all over the world—Japan, Spain, Mexico, Australia, France and more. The teams perform their routines and the audience votes.
As you know, there’s a big Bring It On cult following. What are you most excited for diehard fans to see?
That it’s worldwide, and that it includes everyone. All the different nationalities, and all of the different styles that they all come up with. I think it takes the Bring It On brand to a whole other level. Before, to me, it seemed very American; to see it be worldwide, I think that’s what the audience will really love.