19 surprising things you probably didn't know about 'Bring It On'

Universal PicturesThere’s a famous bathroom scene in ‘Bring It On.’
  • “Bring It On” has become a cultural phenomenon since its release in 2000.
  • The movie depicts the world of competitive cheerleading in a way no other film had before.
  • Fans of the movie will be surprised to learn that Kirsten Dunst almost wasn’t cast as Torrance and the film was originally called “Cheer Fever.”
  • The movie has also been adapted into a Tony-nominated musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The 2000s film, “Bring It On” worked its way into the fabric of pop culture through its portrayal of competitive cheerleading. Recently featured in Ariana Grande’s music video for “thank u, next,” the film is a favourite among many for its major sass and killer choreography. Starring a young Kirsten Dunst, Gabrielle Union, Eliza Dushku, and Jesse Bradford, the movie debuted at number one in the box office and has inspired five spin-off films.

Here are 19 things you probably didn’t know about the movie.


The iconic opening cheer almost didn’t make the cut.

YouTube/MovieClipsThe first cheer in the movie is part of a dream sequence.

Fans of the movie know “I’m sexy, I’m cute, I’m popular to boot” as the raunchy opening dream sequence of the movie, but this cheer was almost cut entirely. Screenwriter Jessica Bendinger fought to keep it in the script, however, saying in an interview with the Huffington Post, “I was like, ‘If you cut this cheer, then it’s just a dumb movie! Who cares?’ You need to let everybody know your tongue is in your cheek. There needs to be self-awareness.”


There are six “Bring It On” movies total.

Universal Studios Home EntertainmentFrancia Raisa played Leti in ‘Bring It On: All or Nothing.’

After the initial 2000 release and subsequent success, “Bring It On” went on to have five spinoff films. The films featured different storylines and characters, but each had the same amount of attitude and cheerleading at the forefront.


Producers wanted the film to be as inclusive as possible.

Universal PicturesThe creator tried to make the film universally appealing.

As one of the great teen films of the 2000s, “Bring It On” has held up as a great example of diversity over the years. The film’s screenwriter Jessica Bendinger drew inspiration from her favourite ’90s movies, but wanted to create something more inclusive.

She once told Austinist, “Traditionally, I think teen comedies have been aimed at just one demographic and I felt like there was an opportunity to do something that was a little more secretly sophisticated in its tone.”


Every actor who auditioned had to have a cheer prepared.

Universal PicturesThe casting directors wanted to know the cast had rhythm.

When auditioning for the film, actors needed to perform a cheer for casting directors. Director Peyton Reed told DVD Talk the producers “needed to know [the actors] at least had some sense of rhythm and coordination because not only did they need to act, but they needed to meet the physical demands of the roles.”


Kirsten Dunst was not originally cast as Torrance.

Universal PicturesDunst turned down her role in ‘Bring It On’ a few times.

Actress Marley Shelton (“Never Been Kissed,” “Uptown Girls”) was in talks to play Torrance. Director Peyton Reed revealed to MTV that after a few meetings with Shelton, she turned down the role to pursue a part in the “rival cheerleader movie” of the time called “Sugar, Spice, and Semi-Automatics.” They then offered the role to Dunst, who turned it down a few times before accepting.


The Toros and the Clovers had different choreographers.

Universal PicturesThe Clovers were choreographed by Hi-Hat.

The film’s choreographer Anne Fletcher hired another choreographer named Hi-Hat who she assigned to choreograph the routines performed by the Clovers. Director Peyton Reed told BuzzFeed, “When Hi-Hat choreographed ‘Brr, It’s Cold In Here’ for the Clovers, Anne had a great time choreographing the really stiff, white-girl version for the Toros.”


Screenwriter Jessica Bendinger also wrote “Stick It,” “Aquamarine,” and episodes of “Sex And The City.”

Storefront PicturesThe movie ‘Aquamarine’ features strong female leads.

Bendinger has become known for writing strong female leads. Along with “Bring It On,” Bendinger has writing credits on “Sex And The City,” “Stick It,” and “Aquamarine.” Bendinger explained that although she knows she is known for teen movies, she considers her films “more as coming of age stories.”


Kirsten Dunst improvised Torrance’s bedroom dancing.

Universal PicturesAriana Grande recreated hit scene in the ‘thank u, next’ music video.

Because the film wanted to pay tribute to the athleticism of cheerleaders, most of the scenes were choreographed in advance. One that was not prepared in advance, however, was when Torrance hears Cliff’s music for the first time and dances on her bed. In an interview with BuzzFeed, director Peyton Reed said of the scene, “We knew the idea and the emotion we wanted, but I think we only did a few takes. That was really all Kirsten.”


James Franco and Jason Schwartzman auditioned for the role of Cliff.

Universal PicturesJesse Bradford played Cliff.

Both James Franco and Jason Schwartzman auditioned for the role of Cliff, but Jesse Bradford was eventually cast. Director Peyton Reed told MTV that although both Franco and Schwartzman brought interesting perspectives to the character, they were a little more “off-beat” whereas Bradford offered the full package.


The film was initially going to be named “Cheer Fever.”

Universal Pictures‘Bring It On’ aired in 2000.

While the film was in its early stages, it was referred to as “Cheer Fever,” director Peyton Reed told MTV.


The audition song cost producers $US40,000 to licence.

Universal Pictures‘Cherry Pie’ is performed by the band Warrant.

The film’s director Peyton Reed told BuzzFeed thatWarrant’s hit Cherry Piecost the studio $US40,000 to licence. The song was used during the audition sequence, and according to Reed, “it was so perfect for that scene; it needed to be raunchy and inappropriate.”


Eliza Dushku’s work on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” played a role in her casting.

Universal PicturesEliza Dushku had previously played Faith on ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’

Eliza Dushku, who plays Missy in “Bring It On,” was known for playing Faith on “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” Director Peyton Reed admitted the film’s producers were fans of “Buffy,” and familiar with Dushku’s work.

When casting the role of Missy, Reed explained they wanted someone totally opposite of Kirsten Dunst saying, “I loved the idea that physically those two looked different: one’s a blonde, one’s a brunette. Almost like a second Archie comic in a way, there’s Betty and Veronica. And she just seemed to be that character.”


Gabrielle Union almost didn’t appear in the film.

Universal PicturesGabrielle Union played a Clovers cheerleader.

Gabrielle Union, who plays Isis, almost appeared in “Sugar and Spice” instead of “Bring It On.” Union explained her decision when speaking with MTV.

“There were a ton of teen movies at the time that I passed on that were not committed to getting it right. The reason why I even took the table read of ‘Cheer Fever’ was because the cheerleading movie I wanted about bank robbing [“Sugar and Spice”] – they didn’t want to go black on any of the characters,” she told the network. “So it’s interesting, the group that didn’t want to commit to diversity didn’t seem to do well and the movie that was about righting the wrongs did well, and that included diversity.”


The Clover cheerleaders included members of girl group Blaque.

Geffen RecordsBlaque was a girl group that formed in 1996.

Atlanta girl group Blaque were recruited for the film as members of the Toros’ rival cheer squad, the Clovers.

Reed described the casting process to MTV saying, “They came in and all three of them had charisma like you wouldn’t believe. They can dance, they look great, and they were so enthusiastic that we immediately cast them, they were great. And they got along really great with Gabrielle.”


The “Bring It On” girls were somewhat inspired by Gwen Stefani.

Mark Mainz/GettyNo Doubt later broke up and Gwen Stefani went solo.

Screenwriter Jessica Bendinger had a picture of No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani hanging on her computer while writing the script and she drew on her sassy sense of empowerment for Torrance and the girls. Bendinger has also said using Gwen Stefani as inspiration helped her “make cheerleading cooler than it was.”


Torrance is the role Kirsten Dunst feels closest to in real life.

Emma McIntyre/Getty ImagesDunst had been a cheerleader in high school.

Speaking with Julianne Moore for Gotham Magazine, Dunst revealed the connection she felt with her “Bring It On” character saying, “When I was 16 and did ‘Bring It On.’ I was that girl. It was like me being in high school as myself. It wasn’t a stretch at all. I was a cheerleader, my best friend was a cheerleader. I wasn’t in competitions, but I watched them on TV.”


Kirsten Dunst teared up when the movie debuted at number one.

Universal PicturesDunst was 17 at the time of the film’s premiere.

As a young actress, Dunst was so excited to experience her first major success. Director Peyton Reed remembered the moment Dunst heard the numbers, she told Entertainment Weekly, “I remember Kirsten kind of tearing up and [saying], ‘Oh my god, I have a [number one] movie!’ She was 17 at the time, it was amazing.”


“Bring It On” became a Broadway musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesMiranda is famous for his work with ‘Hamilton.’

The beloved film was adapted for the stage in 2011 with the help of “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda wrote all of the music for the show and earned two Tony nominations for best musical and best choreography.


The screenwriter said Tom Hanks helped greenlight the film’s production.

Anthony Harvey/Getty ImagesTom Hanks owns a record company.

In an interview with Austinist, screenwriter Jessica Bendinger credited Tom Hanks with helping the film “pick up steam” when she was trying to sell it in the late ’90s. The soundtrack later ended up on Hank’s record company Playtone Records.

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