Christina Milian is set to take over the role of Collette Jones which was originally played by the late Naya Rivera on the Starz’s Step Up series. The news was announced today and production on the latest season is set to begin in Atlanta later this month.
“I am so excited to join the Step Up family,” Milian said in a statement. “I know I have massive shoes to fill. Naya was incredible. I hope to honor Naya, her family, friends and fans with a great performance.”
When Step Up returns for Season 3 on Starz, Milian will be joined by series regulars Faizon Love (Uncle Al), Jade Chynoweth (Odalie), Carlito Olivero (Davis), Terrence Green (Rigo), Eric Graise (King), and Kendra Oyesanya (Poppy). Tricia Helfer will also be joining the cast as Erin.
The Step Up series, based on the 2006 film, follows Sage Odom (Ne-Yo), founder of the High Water Performing Arts School. Collette (Milian) is the Queen of High Water and Sage Odom’s partner in art, business, and love. Collette built and nurtured Sage’s visionary academy from the ground up. Grinding her way to the top with grit and resourcefulness, Collette earned a new role, manager of Sage Odom and his tour, all this while hiding a dark secret. As this secret comes crashing down on Sage, High Water, and the tour, Collette is tempted by an opportunity to step out of her role as the woman behind the man, to become the powerful woman in front of the man.
In a statement released by Starz, Ne-Yo said:
“There is no replacing Naya. Let’s get that straight. Her spirit lives on in our memories and every part of what this show is and will be. Christina has big shoes to fill and she knows it, which speaks to her poise and respect as a person and an artist. I’m more than certain of her ability to bring an energy and light to this character that Naya’s fans as well as the rest of the world will love. We’ve welcomed Christina with absolute open arms and have rallied around her with love and support. I’m excited and can’t wait for the world to see this!”
Adam Shankman, executive producer of the series says, “Step Up has been an indelible part of mine and my partner, Jennifer Gibgot’s life for 16 years and never did we think we would feel so much loss as we have with Naya’s passing. But speaking as her friend, colleague and forever fan, nothing makes us happier then being able to celebrate the continuation of this story with the extraordinary Christina Milian and the brilliant, boundary pushing team at Starz. We promise not to disappoint.”
“Naya” began trending on Twitter this afternoon as fans expressed disappointment over the casting announcement and shared posts remembering the deceased actress in her former role. Step Up series will air on Starz in the U.S. and Canada as well as international streaming platform Starzplay across Europe, Latin America and Japan.