In a chapter of her book, Gabrielle Union talks about her iconic character in Bring It On
For many of us who were tweens in the late nineties, Bring It On (2000) it’s the movie. It has it all: humor, super catchy songs (I still say “brrr, it’s cold in here, there must be some Clovers in the atmosphere” when I’m cold) and a plot a little deeper than many contemporary films. At the end of the day, it’s a story of cultural appropriation and racial inequity.
Much of the strength of the film comes from Gabrielle Union, who plays Isis, the captain of the Clovers, a squad cheerleaders made up of black women and people of color, who were not given last names by director Peyton Reed and screenwriter Jessica Bendinger.
It was already popular knowledge that Gabrielle and the other actresses who bring the Clovers to life improvised a lot of the dialogue, as on the page it wasn’t very believable. In a chapter of his book You Got Anything Stronger?, Union explains other difficulties she had on set and what she still regrets.
Gabrielle Union still thinks of Isis from Bring It On
In the chapter, published by The Cut, the actress writes about how she filled in the gaps and created a story for Isis. She decided that she was studying extra classes at a community college and that she was accepted at UC Berkeley, the same university that Torrance (Kirsten Dunst) was going to go to.
She and the other black and colored actresses in the film struggled a lot to make their characters more complete, but Gabrielle still regrets a few things. For example, he says that in the scene where Isis and Torrance meet, he fought so that his voice was not so angry, and his dialogue, improvised by her, was conciliatory, but now he thinks that his anger would be 100% justified.
“Isis had every right to ask them to publicly say what they did, to seek forgiveness and work for justice. But it educated, once again, people who definitely knew what was the right thing to do but refused to do it. “
He also regrets the final dialogue, in which Torrance and Isis meet once the Clovers have already won the national competition. Originally, Torrance says “you guys were better” and Isis responds “we were, huh?”
“Now? I’d say that line differently. I wouldn’t say the ‘huh’ surprised and there would definitely be no question. I would say ‘Yes we did’. Point. (…) I would like to say to Torrance: ‘From captain to captain, you finally had to do your own work and you were second place. I’m sorry you’re faced with the fact that when things are fair, you’re not good enough. ‘
Gabrielle’s text is full of details about her life as an actress and the life she envisioned for Isis, one of her first major roles. Two decades later, it’s worth reviewing how the film fell short of imagining fairness and also giving dialogue and screen time to the most interesting cheerleaders, which were definitely the Clovers.
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What Gabrielle Union would have done differently in Bring It On