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Corbin Bleu is rockin' but has no time for misbehaving

The `High School Musical' performer is on a nationwide tour. Plus he's plugging a new film.

January 06, 2007|Lynn Elber | Associated Press

Corbin Bleu is living a rock star's life, or at least a well-scrubbed Disney version.

The 17-year-old actor of "High School Musical" fame is on a nationwide concert tour that's delivering the young cast of Disney Channel's hit TV movie to fans, who amount to horde status at each stop.

The 40-city schedule is hectic, the bus travel is taxing and the audiences are in full scream. To hear Bleu tell it, there isn't enough time -- or energy -- for outrageous rocker misbehavior.

"At this moment, I am ready to fall," Bleu said by phone from New York, a few hours before a Long Island concert. "Last night, we finished our show [in Washington, attended by 14,000-plus], got on the bus, drove until 4 in the morning to get here, then woke up to go to a hotel.

"At 6:30 a.m., we got up to do 'Good Morning America.' Then we came here to do the show," he said. "The thing is, I'm having so much fun that it's hard to notice when my adrenaline goes."

In between the concerts, which began in San Diego in late November and are set to end Jan. 29 in Los Angeles, Bleu is promoting a new Disney Channel movie, "Jump In!", debuting Friday.

This time, he's the star.

"That sounds so weird, that kind of thing," he said, laughing at the heady title being affixed to him. It's among the refreshingly unstudied reactions from Bleu, who is poised beyond his years but comes across like an actual teenager (of the good-natured variety).

He plays a younger boy, Izzy, in "Jump In!" -- about a 14-year-old New Yorker from a long line of boxing champions who's expected to keep the tradition alive. He's on board until he discovers another, very different, sport -- double-Dutch jump rope.

Far removed from the realm of typical playground games, the athletic version uses two ropes moving at rapid-fire speed and relies on gymnastics, martial-arts moves and complex dance steps.

There's a gulf as well between the frothy "High School Musical," in which he played a basketball hotshot, and "Jump In!"

The new movie is "a whole different tone, more gritty, more urban. Even the look of the movie is darker," he said.

"What I'm hoping is [fans] see I can play a jock who's always up, but can play more a soft-spoken, edgier guy. I'm just hoping it can show my different characters."

Bleu still boasts his glorious mop of hair in the film, which co-stars Keke Palmer ("Akeelah and the Bee") and an actor close to Bleu's heart, his real-life dad, David Reivers.

Reivers, who has appeared in TV series including "24," "My Name Is Earl" and "Charmed" and in "Poseidon" and other films, plays Izzy's dad, a former boxer who's unsettled by his son's decision to abandon the family pursuit.

Reivers has been Bleu's longtime acting coach.

Bleu, who dropped the family name so he and his father could have separate professional identities, attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (finishing work for his degree with home schooling) and studied dance with Debbie Allen. But he had planned on becoming a pediatrician until a year ago, when he realized he had to pick between his passions.

"The decision was tough; medicine is something I love. But I love acting way too much and I wouldn't give it up for the world," he said.

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