Thirteen years after completing High School Musical 3, the actors are trading musicals for mistletoe in Lifetime’s holiday film, A Christmas Dance Reunion. To celebrate, Bleu and Coleman interviewed each other for a special chat with ET, where they gushed over working together again, their careers and hopes for a High School Musical reunion.
"I obviously knew that I would love hanging out with you, in the work sense of just, 'Oh yay, we're going to be on set together,'" Coleman expressed. "But I didn't process what it would be like to get to work with you again, actually as an artist, and that was really invigorating to me."
Blue added, "I love that. It's funny. I'll tell you, I wasn't surprised at all. It's the same thing for me. It was that I just felt reassured and so comfortable in knowing what I felt like it was going to be, that's exactly how it went."
A Christmas Dance Reunion follows Coleman as successful attorney Lucy Mortimer, who returns to the Winterleigh Resort to help celebrate the hotel’s final Christmas season. Once there, she is reunited with the owner’s nephew and her childhood Christmas Dance partner, Barrett Brewster (Bleu). As the resort falls on hard times, the two bring the popular Christmas Dance event back in hopes of saving the business.
"Dancing was such a central part of this film," Coleman, 41, explained. "But you just be out here on Broadway, just doing the splits, doing the kicks and tapping…I was worried that I'd be a little bit intimidated… and I was! I was like, I just want to make sure that I'm able to keep up and that these, at the time, 39-year-old knees were not going to betray the story. I've always just looked at you and just admired how incredible of a performer you are and you give 120 percent every single time."
"Not even," Blue replied with a smile. "First of all, I love you for saying that. Thank you. But even what you're saying right now, funny enough, actually makes me think back to our High School Musical days…We had to jump in the pool at the end of the second movie and your fear, and just me actually being the one to jump in with you and hold your hand and knowing it's going to be fine. We're going to be great. It's that exact same mentality, whatever that fear that you had, it's going to be great."
While the two play love interests, the 32-year-old actor’s wife, Sasha Clements, appears in the film -- but not tied to him in a romantic way. The experience, though, was beyond magical.
"It was such a special set, such a special movie. Not only you and I getting to work with each other onscreen again, but then also to have Sasha also on set. With all three of us, those dynamics, any time that the three of us were on set together was surreal and special and magical and exciting," he raved. "I was just enveloped in love. And I got to say, I'm so lucky."
Bleu said it wasn't awkward that his real-life lady wasn't his on-screen romantic counterpart, sharing, "The reason why that it works so well is because Sasha and I's relationship is so strong."
"You have the two of us having to play onscreen lovers, and we know this, no one is more excited about that relationship, that onscreen chemistry, than Sasha. She's constantly the one, the same way in the movie, that her character is championing for us to get together," he shared. "She's the same way off camera, too. I'm just so lucky to have a wife that not only supports what I do and lifts what I do, but then I also get to do it with her."
As for Coleman and Bleu, being able to once again co-star in a film together is even more special for the two as they shared why BIPOC representation onscreen is so important.
"To have a continuing onscreen couple of color is so needed. You don't get to see that many BICOP couples that do continue on that relationship," the actor relayed, with Coleman adding, "That's very true. Because you do, you have Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling and, Leo [DiCaprio] and Kate [Winslet]. So many relationships that have done [many movies together]... Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, they've done like four movies together or something. And you're very right about that. This is very unique...and a beautiful opportunity to dismantle that stereotype or dismantle this idea that we are just one thing. And I'm excited for, and I know you are too, so excited for the fans to really get to experience us in this iteration."
"I know that they see Chad and Taylor," Coleman noted of their HSM characters. "But my hope is that Lucy and Barrett win their hearts."
Meanwhile, with nearly two decades of friendship, Coleman and Bleu weren't afraid to get candid about their ups and downs in the industry and what they wish they would have known when starting out. Coleman revealed how going broke and experiencing financial hardships helped her educate others about avoiding similar mistakes.
"From an artistic perspective, I feel like I was always on the right path. But I think it's more from a business perspective, just even financially, even just knowing how to manage everything, and as far as trusting other people too. I think that was where problems came in," she explained, before touching on what she would tell her younger self. "Don't take yourself seriously, but take your business seriously. Don't be naive."
"Unlike you, I did get broke. That's the truth. But it was for beautiful reasons. But after High School Musical, I started a nonprofit and I ended up becoming the first-ever United Nations Youth Champion, and I funded a global trip around the world to meet young people and understand what they experienced and faced globally. And that is very altruistic. That's really noble and I don't regret a single moment of it," Coleman continued. "But it also caused me to start to have a very difficult financial situation. But that didn't have to happen had I understood certain things about making money because I never did anything wrong. It's just that I didn't do things right. And that is what I wish that I would've known. And that is what I'm passionate about telling other young people."
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Of course, the two couldn't help but continue to reminisce on their HSM days, and even share if they'd ever be up for another film.
"I love Taylor and I feel like I learned a lot from Taylor. I can't imagine what that story would be like, but I can't say that it's not possible. You never know," Coleman said, before asking, "What about you?"
"I feel exactly the same way. Obviously, when it comes to the relationships of all of us in the cast, we went through so much," Bleu replied. "Such a life-changing time together, obviously that created these very strong root relationships that any time I see anyone it's just a lovefest. So getting a chance to work together again would be wonderful."
While the future of rebooting or reimagining the beloved franchise remains to be seen, Coleman did have a proposal about how they should celebrate the original film's 20th anniversary in 2026 -- an idea Bleu called "brilliant." She explained, "A live at the Hollywood Bowl. A one night only... Kenny Ortega directing live with an orchestra and all of us just with a microphone, with our scripts, and just to bring all three movies together in some one night only way. I really feel like people would fly from every part of the world to be a part of something like this. And that is actually something interesting that I would do and like to see."
Coleman added with a laugh, "So whoever wants to call us!"
Watch the video above for even more from the dynamic duo, including the never-before-told story of how Coleman earned the nickname "Moprah."
A Christmas Dance Reunion airs Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.