Joe Slaughter Interview

Joe Slaughter
by Kat Wong Too Yen
JOE SLAUGHTER is a down-to-earth, charming guy who is poised to make a huge career breakthrough. He has already danced for superstars like Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, and the Pussycat Dolls and has done modelling for brands like Gap, Calvin Klein, and Ed Hardy. Now, a promising actor about to make his big screen debut, Joe plays bad boy Julien in the first ever 3-D dance movie, Step Up 3-D, set to premier on August 6, 2010. In between training, I got to chat with Joe and learn a bit more about how he wound up in the third instalment of the Step Up franchise and where he hopes his career takes him…
VG: Aside from this being in 3-D, what’s the biggest difference between this third instalment and the first two Step Up movies?
JS: Ultimately, I think that we’ve achieved a whole new level with how the dance moves are shot. Not only that, but in this movie you’re dealing with really prominent dancers. It’s new talent; it’s the cream of the crop and when we put this movie together with John (Chu), it was a huge opportunity to work with the best.
VG: Take us through your typical day of being on set?
JS: Oh, that’s kind of tough; it’s different because there’s no “typical” day. I just have to wake up really early, like 5:00 or 6:00 AM. It’s a long day, sometimes 12-14 hours. A lot of is “hurry up and wait”. You get some breakfast, go back to your trailer and then it’s a lot of waiting around. You’re on set with a lot of other people though, so you get to hang out. We have a lot of conversations and just have fun! We’ll sit on set and watch what’s going on. It’s great, because everyone enjoys what they do.
VG: How hard was it for you to land this role of Julien?
JS: (laughs) I got fortunate with this one. I was on tour with the Pussycat Dolls right before I auditioned (for Step Up 3-D). We were supposed to come back from Europe and then go out with Britney (Spears) for the Circus tour but a lot of the guys’ roles got axed. We didn’t end up going on the road and I went back home to Chicago. My agent called and told me about Step Up 3-D and I sent in a video submission. It was actually my first audition for a movie! They called me in and I initially read for the good guy, but got a call-back for the bad guy, Julien. We didn’t get any feedback after the readings. Then a couple of weeks went by and I got the phone call. I was pretty excited…
VG: Your reaction seems a little understated?
JS: Yeah, okay, well I was dancing around and going crazy but we won’t go into detail on that! (laughs)
VG: If your closest friend was to describe you, what would he or she say?
JS: That I’m interesting? (laughs) They would probably say I’m kind of eccentric, crazy and out there, but also very focused on my work. They would say I’m really a loving kind of person and a good friend with a lot of love in my life. I pretty much bend over backwards for my closest friends and family. I guess they would also say I’m goofy, and kind of klutzy. I’ve got a bit of a dorky side, I mean, no one is perfect and no one is as cool as they say they are, right? For the most part I try to stay humble and help others whenever I can. I try to make everyone’s lives better.
VG: Who is your biggest inspiration?
JS: Artistically and musically it’s Michael Jackson. He is one of the biggest people I grew up watching. There’s also Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly…you know Singing in the Rain, I grew up watching that. Of course, there’s my family. It sounds kind of cliché, but if I didn’t have them, well, there wouldn’t be a purpose for what I’m doing. They’re always in the back of my head.
VG: What’s on your playlist right now?
JS: A lot of R&B! I listen to a lot of chill, feel-good music; good melodies. As a dancer, I really appreciate intricate, complex melodies. Sometimes I like fast paced music too, some rock, some alternative. I like Kings of Leon, Trey, Ne-Yo and The-Dream.
VG: Most embarrassing moment?
JS: Oh, that’s a tough one. Well, this one time I guess partied a little too hard. I was out with a close friend of mine that I was in love with at the time. It all kind of came out that night. I wish she didn’t have to find out that way, I’d have preferred if I took her aside and told her…but it was all okay in the end since she’s a close friend. Still, it was definitely one of my most embarrassing moments!
VG: Did you go to your high school prom, and if so, how was it?
JS: I did and it was actually fun! I went out with a bunch of my friends. One of the girls in the group had a lake house so we drove up there for the weekend. In high school it was sort of tough; I could have done without it.  You know, I sang in the choir; I was a thespian, so it was hard growing up. I did sports too, like baseball and swimming, but it was really tough. I was made fun of for dancing; mostly “You’re gay,” just hearing that from football players. And I’m like, I’m in a class full of girls stretching and you guys have to take showers and change together. I’d be like the one guy in a class of 750 girls! I did have some supporters, but overall I wasn’t a huge fan of high school. I really didn’t like sitting in class all day, it was too captive. That’s why I like the arts because it’s more unpredictable and you can really express yourself.
VG: What’s the best thing about having a career in this industry?
JS: It’s the freedom of my time. You do a couple of jobs and make enough money and you don’t have to struggle too much. Of course, it’s a struggle to get to that point, but once you do it’s great. A lot of people have had to deal with quite a bit. It’s humbling; you feel very fortunate. It’s great to get paid doing what you love. Any other perks, like fame, going to big parties, is just kind of whatever. Having freedom of my time is the best.
VG: How do you spend a typical Saturday night?
JS: Oh, I’ll meet up with some friends and go for dinner, a nice dinner. There’s usually some kind of red carpet event we hit up after that. We’ll end up going out to another after party, and there are a lot of pictures taken. You never know which way it’s going to go. You go out to one bar and end up somewhere completely different…there may be some similarities between my life and the movie The Hangover. (laughs)
VG: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
JS: Professionally, I hope to have an extensive career in acting. I’d like to have developed a name for myself; be in big budget films. I’d like to have a household name that people can associate with major films. Personally, that’s a little tougher. Right now I’m dating my career but I’m not opposed to anything too serious. Eventually, I want a family but I’m not seeking that actively. Maybe when I’m dating someone a little more seriously…
VG: So what’s the plan for the rest of the day?
JS: Well, I still have to finish training, and then I’m going to go for a workout. After that, I’ve got this charity event on the red carpet; it’s the industry. My life can be dramatic but very fun!
You can follow Joe on Twitter @joeslaughter1

Step Up 3-D comes out in theatres on August 6, 2010. For more information, visit