Fox premiered The Big Leap at this year’s ATX Television Festival! The show tells a modern tale about second chances, chasing your dreams, and taking back what’s yours. This virtual screening and panel, which The Nerds of Color attended, showed an early look at the pilot episode and a Q&A with cast and creatives. The panelists included Liz Heldens (Creator/EP), Jason Winer (EP/Director), Scott Foley, Teri Polo, Ser’Darius Blain, and Simone Rescasner.
Heldens shared that the show was based on a British reality show from 2014 and when it was sent to her, she was immediately ready to fight for it. “I wrote it like 6 years ago,” The creator expressed. “So I rewrote it in 2019 and we were greenlit in like March 2020. Then, of course, the world ended so it’s been a long road.”
From creator/executive producer Liz Heldens, director/executive producer Jason Winer and executive producer Sue Naegle, the show revolves around a group of diverse, down-on-their-luck characters attempting to change their lives by participating in a potentially life-ruining reality dance show that builds to a live production of Swan Lake.
Blain said the script really spoke to him because it was “funny” while the “drama was so rooted in reality.” He also added how the characters felt really relatable to him as well.
Polo said she was drawn to this character because Julia (her character) feels so similar to her. “I think she’s so very similar to me in my life right now. Liz and I spoke a little bit when I first met Liz and Jason about who she was, what her background was, and where she was at in her life,” The actress shared. “And I just went, ‘So you’ve been watching and stalking me and peeking in my window for the last couple of years?'” Funny enough, Polo also said one of Julia’s exact lines from the pilot without even meaning to.
Winer discussed some of the big components of the show that were captured in the trailer. He mentioned “the show within a show” aspect, dance, drama, humor, and all of the different characters.
Rescasner admitted that she didn’t have much of a dance background before joining the series. “Have I been on TV before? No. Have I danced professionally? No. So there’s a lot here.” She also expressed how amazing it was to jump into the dance world.
When asked if we would get to see Foley dance, Heldens assured everyone that she is working on it. “I have some ideas,” The EP said. Each cast member was asked about something they hope to see for their characters and Foley stated, “I hope to keep exploring that fine line between hero and villain, and how much villain he needs to exert to be the hero and save the show.”
ATX Television Festival 2021 ran from June 11 – 20. The Big Leap premieres on Fox this fall.