MTV continues its venture into movie-making with the February 26 debut of Turn the Beat Around, a modernized mash-up of Saturday Night Fever and Flashdance starring Romina D’Ugo as struggling dancer Zoe, whose big talent, big dreams, big mouth and big love of disco put her in a position to be a huge success. The only things standing in her way are self doubt, a jealous boyfriend Chris (played by Adam Taylor Brooks), a playboy boss interested in more than just her dance talents, and seductress biyotch extraordinaire Malika, played by Brooklyn Sudano.
Nothing against dreamers, jealous boyfriends and horny bosses, but they aren’t nearly as interesting as a good villain, and Brooklyn’s Malika is a goooooood villain! She’s got it all – attitude, power, sass and enough sex appeal to lure any morally upright straight man to the dark side! Her character is the kind that blows in and out of people’s lives like a storm, leaving nothing but havoc and devastation in her wake. In other words, Malika is great!
But you don’t have to be a villainess to have it all, just look at the actress that plays Malika, Brooklyn Sudano. In addition to the afore-mentioned sex appeal, Brooklyn acts, dances, sings, writes, paints and has two of the coolest parents in the world: disco diva Donna Summer and singer/songwriter Bruce Sudano!
But don’t think for a second that Malika has been handed anything, this hard-working 29-year-old has worked for every bit of her success! After graduating from high school as valedictorian of her class, Brooklyn declined acceptances to Duke, Brown and Georgetown Universities and opted to stay near her Nashville home and attend prestigious Vanderbilt University.
It wasn’t long before the talented and driven Sudano earned a place at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in New York where she studied method acting, dance, musical production, movement, stage, film and television.
After signing with the Ford Modeling Agency, Brooklyn starred in a number of major print ad campaigns as well as television commercials for Clairol, Burger King, K-Mart and Clean & Clear.
Though she had many talents, acting was Brooklyn’s passion and she received her first major role as Vanessa on the popular ABC sitcom My Wife and Kids. After that her career began to take off with leading roles in feature films, Rain and Somebody Help Me, released in 2006 and 2007. More television appearances on shows like NBC’s Fear Itself, the CW’s 90210, and CBS’s Without A Trace were followed by roles in the independent movies Five Star Day and Sinners & Saints as well as the opportunity to play Jasmine in the McG/Warner Brothers produced ABC pilot, Limelight, directed by the acclaimed David Semel.
And now there’s Turn the Beat Around, starring Brooklyn Surado as the heartless and conniving choreographer Malika. Brooklyn gets to show off her dancing talents as well as lean figure that can really rock a pair of tight and tiny hot pants! Here’s a preview clip featuring the sultry Malika as she moves in on Adam Taylor Brooks’ character Chris:
Brooklyn was gracious enough to take time out of her busy schedule to talk to us about Turn the Beat Around, hard work and the importance of a good eyelash curler!
Starcasm: I’ve seen Turn the Beat Around and I just want to say that Malika is my favorite character.
Brooklyn: Really? Oh thanks!
Starcasm: She had such energy, brought such a feisty personality to it. It was a lot of fun to watch. Did you enjoy playing Malika?
Brooklyn: One of the main things that drew me to Turn the Beat Around as a project was that I was able to play this really feisty, no holds barred kind of a character, which is something that I haven’t played before. She was the villain really, which was really fun to play. Sometimes I would ask, “Is she too mean?” and they would say, “No, no! She would totally be this way!” so I said, “OK.” (laughs) So yeah, she was a fun character to play and one of the big draws of the film along with getting to do the dancing and all the great music.
Starcasm: I love when you told Romina D’Ugo’s character Zoe (who had just tried out for a dancing part for Malika), “You would make a great choreographer.” That was great!
Brooklyn: Yes. The ultimate mean girl! (laughs)
Here’s the ultimate mean girl taking over choreography for a group of dancers who don’t seem to care much for mean girls:
Starcasm: The movie allows you to show off your dancing abilities. How long have you been dancing?
Brooklyn: I would consider myself more of an actor who dances, but I’ve danced throughout my life. I really have to give a lot of credit to Tre Armstrong, the choreographer. She was AMAZING. I was working with a lot of people who dance professionally and who had been on So You Think You Can Dance? in Canada. Romina D’Ugo who plays Zoe was a competitive dancer throughout her life. I was dealing with the real deal, so my reaction was, “Oh my gosh! I have so much to learn!”
But everybody was really helpful and Tre Armstrong was so supportive and so helpful, which gave me the confidence to go in and really own Malika and own the choreography. As a choreographer you’re basically directing everybody else so even though I didn’t really do that much physical dancing in the movie, I still needed to know what was going on, how the dancers needed to move and the energy and tone of the pieces so it was a nice added element to the process of working on a film – I hadn’t done that in a movie before.
Starcasm: It sounds like it was a real learning experience for you.
Brooklyn: It certainly stretched me physically – I was definitely sore! (laughs)
Starcasm: I also notice that you’ve done some singing before?
Brooklyn: I grew up kind of doing all of it. I did a lot of choir singing and I come from a singing family, so that’s a natural extension of what I do as an actor. Whether it’s dancing or singing, you’re always playing a character trying to tell a story, create emotion, have people experience something with you. So yeah, I try to do it all.
Starcasm: So do you think branching out into a recording career might be an option in the future?
Brooklyn: I find myself having thoughts of doing that at some point. Singing is very close and dear to my heart, so I think I would want it to be a personal project instead of me wanting to be Madonna or something like that. Acting is what I really want to focus on and so far it has been really rewarding, so I’m going to stick with that. But, you know, “never say never” so we’ll see.