Disney+ is making an explosive debut in South Africa on 18 May and subscribers will be entering a world with some of the best entertainment content available at the click of a button. Disney fans are in for a treat because not only will they be able to watch Disney’s incredible catalogue instantly, they will also be able to check out some brand-new originals – including a retelling of the popular Cinderella story titled ‘Sneakerella’.
Set in the vibrant street-sneaker subculture of New York City, “Sneakerella” is a high-energy, music-driven movie that puts a contemporary twist on the “Cinderella” fairy tale. In the film, we meet El, played by Chosen Jacobs. El is an aspiring sneaker designer from Queens who works as a stock boy in the shoe store that once belonged to his late mother. He hides his artistic talent from his overburdened stepfather and two mean-spirited stepbrothers who constantly thwart any opportunity that comes his way.
When El meets Kira King, the fiercely independent daughter of legendary basketball star and sneaker tycoon Darius King, sparks fly as the two bond over their mutual affinity for sneakers. With a little nudge from his best friend and a sprinkle of Fairy Godfather magic, El finds the courage to use his talent to pursue his dream of becoming a ‘legit’ sneaker designer in the industry. El is now ready to lace up and dream big.
We chat to Chosen, the film’s lead, about this exciting new Disney+ original and what viewers can expect when the film premieres alongside Disney+ in South Africa on 18 May.
What did you like most about the script?
I loved that this story had so many different levels and it was not just a love story between El and Kira, Melissa’s character. It was also a journey of discovery for loving yourself and loving where you are from and I feel like that is such a universal lesson that we all need a reminder of as time goes on. You have to love yourself first before you can really love someone else. I think that’s a beautiful message and I am so excited to be part of something like that.
Did you ever see yourself as the main character in a new version of Cinderella?
How could you ever imagine being part of such a project like this? I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of this project. We grew up with Disney moulding our childhood with so many beautiful stories, including Cinderella. To be able to be part of that franchise, to be a part of such a classic story and know that kids are going to grow up and watch this and having this be their Cinderella story is something you can’t really imagine or wish for. I still pinch myself.
What is your favourite song in the movie?
That’s a tough one. It will be between ‘A Dream Is A Wish’, which is such a beautiful song but also ‘In My Shoes’ which is my mom’s favourite. There is something about that song that I think families will resonate with because there is nothing like the love of a mother. That connection between a parental figure and how they inspire you and how they are the first person you love is so powerful which is why I love that song.
Talk to us about the sneaker element in the film.
Sneaker culture is so awesome because it helps parents understand what their kids are into but it’s also a common ground because certain shoes have transcended generations. I love Air Forces and I can get a picture of my dad in Air Forces at my age. It’s the same with Jordans or Adidas and it’s such a conversation starter – especially since so much of our experiences are marked by what shoes we wore that year.
How much dancing and singing have you done before needing to show off your moves in this film?
This is the first time I really danced on that level. I grew up dancing at parties and to music for fun but never at the level of learning choreography. I grew up singing so that was more of a comfort zone for me as music was my first introduction to entertainment but we had a great team and a lot of days together to train and cultivate a beautiful performance not only dancing but bringing that Disney magic to it that makes it more than just a movement. I am excited for people to see these elaborate dance numbers that we have put together.
What is your biggest dream?
My biggest dream is to fulfil my God-given purpose and just be a happy person. That takes a whole lot of different forms whether it be making movies or music or having a family one day or any other interests I want to go into, but just to live a happy life and a life I will be proud to share with my kids one day and I feel like Sneakerella will be one project that I will be really proud to show them.
How did you get into acting?
My journey began in music so I was always by the piano and singing but I remember when I was young, I used to love SpongeBob SquarePants. I remember watching the SpongeBob movie and I remember thinking that I want to be in a movie like that. That inspired me to get into acting and my family supported me on that journey and here we are! So, shout out to cartoons!
Watch the ‘Sneakerella’ trailer below and stream the film on Disney+ from 18 May 2022.