Christina Milian is hoping to pay tribute to the late Naya Rivera and her family with her upcoming performance in Step Up.
On Monday, February 8, Starz announced that the actress has joined the cast of Step Up, playing the role of Collette. The reimagined series originally featured the late Glee star.
“I am so excited to join the Step Up family,” Milian said about the opportunity in a press release. ”I know I have massive shoes to fill. Naya was incredible. I hope to honor Naya, her family, friends and fans with a great performance.”
In July 2020, Rivera passed away at the age of 33 while out swimming with her son, Josey, in Southern California’s Lake Piru. Once her body was recovered from the lake a few days later, the Ventura County Medical Examiner determined her cause of death to be accidental drowning.
“Naya’s death was a terrible loss to our world that we will, frankly, never stop mourning,” Step Up creator and executive producer Holly Sorensen shared. “It was almost impossible to consider there could be someone so graceful and loving who could both help us honor our loss, while also bringing a deep reservoir of talent to our show, in so many areas.”
She went on to say, “Christina is an exceptional human and a dazzling performer and we are so happy she has joined our family.”
On top of Milian’s introduction, Starz also confirmed that Ne-Yo will reprise his role as Sage Odom on the series. But still, returning to set without Rivera will not be easy.
“There is no replacing Naya. Let‘s get that straight,” he said. “Her spirit lives on in our memories and every part of what this show is and will be. Christina has big shoes to fill and she knows it, which speaks to her poise and respect as a person and an artist.”
With that being said, he completely trusts the actress and what she‘ll bring to the role.
“I’m more than certain of her ability to bring an energy and light to this character that Naya’s fans as well as the rest of the world will love,” he continued. “We’ve welcomed Christina with absolute open arms and have rallied around her with love and support. I’m excited and can’t wait for the world to see this!”
Step Up is currently in production in Atlanta. The series also stars Faizon Love, Jade Chynoweth, Carlito Olivero, Terrence Green, Eric Graise and Kendra Oyesanya.
Naya Rivera starred in the series--which first aired on YouTube--for its first two seasons.