The Cinderella story was brought to Canada for the filming of the new Disney+ movie Sneakerella, starring Chosen Jacobs, Lexi Underwood, professional basketball player John Salley, and Ontario talent Devyn Nekoda.
Set in New York City, but filmed around the Toronto area, we meet El (Jacobs), an aspiring sneaker designer who is stuck being a stock boy at a shoe store that belonged to his late mother, now run by his stepfather. Trying to score during a local sneaker drop, El meets Kira (Underwood), daughter of the sneaker tycoon Darius King (Salley), which sets El off on the path, alongside his friend Sami (Nekoda), to be a “legit” sneaker designer.
“I would describe Sami as that friend that I think everybody needs, she's El’s backbone, especially in the beginning of the movie,” Nekoda told Yahoo Canada. “She's unapologetically herself all the time, which is something that I really admire about her.”
“In order to portray that on the screen, you need to have a connection in real life and Chosen and I really did have amazing chemistry on and off screen. We clicked instantly and we were constantly joking around or making up dances on set… Sometimes the crew would be like, ‘OK, where's Devyn? Where’s Chosen? Where did they go?'... I think it's really important to have that relationship between Chosen and Devyn, which really, I think, shows in the movie.”
It’s no surprise that the traditional Cinderella plot has been redone and revamped several times, but Nekoda highlighted that it's Sneakerella’s use of music and “hints of magic everywhere” that helps the film stand out from the rest.
Additionally, Sneakerella was filmed during the COVD-19 pandemic, which meant that Nekoda wasn’t really able to show her cast mates all Toronto has to offer, following the safety precautions for the movie, so they ended up spending time together at her apartment.
“A lot of the projects that I film, the majority of them have all been in and around Toronto, so to be filming this movie, a Disney+ movie here in my hometown, I think it maybe calmed me down a little bit, kept me grounded,” Nekoda said.
“This is the first project that I've done where the majority of the cast was American and so I felt a little special in that way, that I was like, 'this is my hometown.’ All of the dancers actually in the movie, I've known the majority of them,...so we had like our Toronto crew and we just were welcoming them with open arms.”