EricaVain Exclusive: Talking With ‘Hit The Floor’ Creator James LaRosa ‘It’s Scandalous’
In the age of reality TV I sometimes find it hard to find amazing television that I can fall in love with and join in for a super dope, dramatic and entertaining ride. You all know very well that I am a stickler for my television and my cinema and even though I may check out alot of things I keep my list of likes very small. Every week you hear me tweeting, talking or see me instagraming about the same 6 shows and my favorite 4 movies :). Somehow, creator James LaRosa got one up on me and was able to squeeze “Hit The Floor ” into my mix. I am IN LOVE! I was able to catch up with the shows Head Man in Charge and talk about pretty much EVERYTHING! Check it out:
Walk me through the process of inception to creation to delivery “Hit The Floor”because it did seem like the show came out of nowhere.
Yeah, absolutely! I think Hit The Floor is VH1’s second scripted one-hour, Single Ladies being it’s first. And I think that VH1 is looking for sort of diversify their programming and perhaps some new things and they’re getting into scripted more and more as part of that. And there is someone—or was someone at VH1 by the name of Jeff Olde who looked at the shows that they had on the air that were doing really well and connected with the audience. One was Single Ladies which was their scripted one-hour and another was Basketball Wives which is their unscripted show. And he was like what about basketball dancers, the scripted sort of thing. And he said that to a woman by the name of Maggie Malina, who helps sort of shepherd Single Ladies on the air and I worked with Maggie for years and she’s like “Okay a show about a bunch of women, I think I have a guy for you” and so she called me up and then I created the show and said How do you like this? And they said, “we love it!” You know, from there you write the pilot and you try to clear all the hoops. It was a very…I don’t want to say it was an easy process because when you’re dealing with getting a show on the air it’s never easy.
But VH1 has always, with Hit The Floor, been extremely supportive and everyone has been completely on the same page for what this show would be. So it’s been really more fun than work. It’s just like we’re going to create this badass world of pretty people doing awful things and this poor girl Ahsha in the midst of it trying to figure out who she is, what she’ll do, what she won’t do. And you got the music and the dancing, it’s just a loud show that’s really scandalous and everyone knows it’s fun and twisted. It’s been a hell of a ride. The audience has been enjoying it too. Except for one week our ratings went up every single show.
I definitely think that the love and the passion that you all have for the show shows even off the screen, there’s like a whole movement behind Hit The Floor. You watch the show and then you’re on social media and everyone talking about it. The actors are actually interacting, I follow most of them on instagram. You get really involved and you’re kind of drawn into their world. I think that’s really cool.
I think that’s fantastic, it’s great that a) you recognize that and b) that it’s actually a thing because it’s really so accidental. And maybe that’s why people are taken by it. It’s not like the sort of phony marketing plan of ‘here’s all these people together, you guys talk to each other!’ We all are stupid in love with each other. This set–everyone that works on the show is really grateful for the opportunity. And it’s also a lot of work. The degree of difficulty on Hit The Floor, it’s pretty intense. You have, particularly with our younger female leads, they have to be able to act and dance and put out week after week after week. So they’re always in rehearsals…it’s a job, you know?
Even with the clear distinction and focus on Jelena and Ahsha it seems that James and his team works very hard to make sure every character has “their moment”. Those moments are always seamless and plot thickening might I add. When asked “Where does each character come from”, James mentions himself. He possesses distinct qualities from each character and if you’re a writer, you’re able to reenact who ever you want, even yourself.
Erica: I love how candid you are! I think it was in Entertainment Weekly, I read that you said that you were a hybrid between Jelena and Pete. Can you talk to me about that, like in real life?
Oh god, yeah. I’m a hybrid of everybody but I think maybe not in an obvious way. For sure, Jelena is a controlling character. She’s a scheming character. She comes up with big ideas. I can relate to a degree, but she’s got many traits. She’s got problems trusting people. She doesn’t let things happen, she tries to make them happen — and sometimes it goes her way and sometimes it doesn’t. She can be her own worst enemy. I kind of can relate a little bit with some of that. Pete’s going through a transition in his life where’s he’s trying to figure out what’s it all for. Sometimes, instead of tackling his problems head on, he happens to [turn to] distraction, whether it’s alcohol or women, there’s always kind of something buzzing around that allows him to maybe not sit with himself and have a moment, you know? But then you have characters like Derek who can be all about the façade and the fun, and “isn’t it wonderful?”, and the party guy, and it’s great, but he’s so torn up and twisted inside over a whole bunch of stuff that he can be his own worst enemy too. I mean, I could really go through all these characters.
What we can expect for season two..
In season two, we will see Sloane inside enemy territory as the new director of the Devil Girls, and she is going to have one kind of agenda, which is to bring Oscar down, but you can imagine that Jelena Howard isn’t probably going to be very pleased that Olivia’s replacement is Ahsha Hayes’ mother.“Well, without getting into specifics I can tell you that our season premiere will be shocking. I don’t leave anyone hanging! Like you said, there are plenty of story lines that were like, “Oh my God Kyle’s married, what happened?” or, ‘Oh, Pete and Raquel are starting something,’ or, ‘Oh Sloane’s a mole,’ or, ‘Oh Terrence and Jelena broke up and what will that mean for them.’ Everything is fair game in the second season. I don’t ask questions and not answer them. I think as a viewer that sucks. And I also don’t hang on to things for very long. Like, we blew up the fact that Pete was Ahsha’s father very early because to me, it’s more interesting watch the fallout than the anticipation of, ‘Oh, what if somebody finds out?’ So, secrets don’t last very long on this show, they usually get exposed pretty quickly, so I would say, look forward to all this shit going down.”
Dishing about two of the show’s biggest characters
“It took great pains, actually, to keep these two characters apart all season, Jelena and Sloane. There’s been no scene with the two of them in it, they’ve had no cross, there’s nothing, and so, and they’re two of the biggest characters in the show. So, we really took great pains to set up, at the end of the season, a scenario in which we’re like, oh my God, these two bitches are about to meet and it’s not going to be good. Ladies, excuse me, only one of them, is perhaps, in the dictionary, under the word “bitch” and that would be Jelena. So I would say, expect some Sloane-Jelena fallout. And, you know, you might also see, you know we finished the season with Ahsha getting a little bit of success, having won All-Star. The question is, how does it fit with her, how she did it, number one, and number two, now that she has a little bite of fame, how does that, like, where does she go from there. Does she, will fame continue to…her journey, maybe not being anonymous. Like how is she going to navigate this new kind of…she’s getting a little bit more famous. The series is really Ahsha’s struggle to, you know, kind of avoid becoming Jelena. “Hit the Floor” has, one of the inspirations for this show, one of them, is “Black Swan”,
“You’ve got this character who is kind of a, super talented, coming into this really cut-throat world and the temptations and the problems that come with it. And then you have one of the characters who’s just like going mental and stabbing herself in the face with scissors. Now, I’m not saying that’s what Jelena’s doing but definitely, they’re two kind of…”
Erica: “They’re parallel.”
“Yeah, they’re two different points on the map, so, you know you’re always watching Ahsha going, what kind of decisions is she going to make and is she going to be able to, to hang and then how far will Jelena go to hold on to her power and keep her territory and that’s a great push-pull between the two.”
VH1 Seemingly captured lighting in a bottle with this break out hit. When speaking about the shows casting it was very clear that James would leave no stone unturned when looking for the perfect performers for each roll. “Jelena was the toughest role to cast. Finding characters that act, dance, and do the role was the most fun. I’m kind of a casting bitch. I thought Ahsha was the toughest to cast because she is very naïve. Taylour Paige, who plays Ahsha did not have much of a resume. She danced in high school musical 3. Logan originally read for Ahsha and I said bring Logan back to play Jelena. She killed the performance. She came in and became an emotional crasher.” Initially there was a little room for concern, “I [was] worried how Logan Browning was going to intimidate Paige because Logan is shorter than Taylor. But she killed the performance. Taylor was even like wow.” LaRosa speaks highly of each and every person who makes up this amazing ensemble cast, for example “When Valery Ortiz came in for Raquel, I got the heartwarming feeling. She just glowed.”
Yall know I love a great movie and a great TV show so when speaking to James about “Hit the Floor” it was beyond difficult to hide my enjoyment and love of the show! “I love that you can tell that we love it too because I’m excited to get back on set and party down and see everyone on set. But it’s great I see everyone almost more now than I do on set. When I’m on set then I become the boss again, but when we’re not shooting, and it’s 3am messiness, you know, insert location here.” said LaRosa.
The season 2 air-date has yet to be released however you should know that the cast is actually shooting as we speak! I am hoping for a first quarter 2014 release!!! Cross your fingers! Until then you can keep up with the cast and creator on their social media pages (Trust me they are just as entertaining in real life as they are on the show!). Follow James LaRosa on twitter and instagram.