December 28, 2007

Puerto Rican newcomer leads cheers in new ‘Bring it On’ flick

By Kiko Martinez

Born and raised in Yonkers, New York, Puerto Rican newcomer Noel “Mouse” Areizaga, 25, stars as Ruben, a member of the West High Sharks cheerleading squad in “Bring it On: In It to Win It,” the fourth installment of the “Bring it On” series made popular by the first film in 2000. The new film has recently been released on DVD.

With a background in dance and choreography, Areizaga took his talents to the open audition in hopes of landing a part as an extra. He was surprised when he received a call back and was offered a speaking role.

Areizaga spoke to La Prensa Newspaper about what it was like learning how to cheer and how he prepared for his role in the movie.

La Prensa Newspaper: You’re 25 years old so how were you able to prepare to play the role of a high school teenager?

Noel “Mouse” Areizaga(right), 25, stars as Ruben, a member of the West High Sharks.

Noel Areizaga: We got to watch some footage of high schoolers coming out of school and having lunch. As you get older you mature, so we got to see how they act. If I was in high school again I think I would have done a lot of things differently.

LP: Did anything surprise you about the way teenagers act today?

NA: They are so outspoken. They don’t care who you are or who’s around. Another thing I noticed is that they seem really happy and exuberant.

LP: How did you get the nickname Mouse?

NA: Mouse came from a friend of mine when I started dancing. She told me I looked like Mighty Mouse. As I got older, I thought it was cheesy so I took out the Mighty and kept the Mouse. It’s kind of catchy like a stage name. So, wherever I go, people know me as Mouse.

LP: This is the first film of your career. How did you get involved in the project?

NA: I went to the dance audition. They had open calls for dancers and cheerleaders. I went to just dance. I did everything I was supposed to and they liked the way I looked. They called me in the next day for a speaking role and they liked it. A month later, I got the part. I thought I was just going to be one of the dancers way in the back and I came out being one of the leads in the movie.

LP: You have a lot of experience in dancing, but not in cheerleading. How did you learn those skills?

NA: They had us in cheer-leading camp for a month. It was 9 to 5, five days a week. They taught us how to stunt, lift up girls, flip, tumble and exercise. It was really hard but it was all worth it.

LP: What is the most challenging part about cheer-leading? Would you consider it a sport?

NA: Cheerleading is definitely a sport. I respected it since day one. The hardest thing about cheerleading is that everything has to be in sync and on point. You can’t have a lose screw because then you’ll mess up everything. The positions and the transitions are really hard. It’s really fast-paced. If you don’t have stamina and endurance you will definitely mess up.

LP: Why should people rent or buy “Bring it On: In It to Win It?”

NA: Well, the theme is “West Side Story.” It’s really high-energy. It has a lot more choreography and dancing in it that the other movies. This one shows a lot more flavor and competition.

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