"Lost" Josh Holloway Finds Redemption in "Battle of the Year" (Opens Nov 6)

He made a splash playing the antihero Sawyer in the acclaimed drama series “Lost.” Now, Josh Holloway stars as Jason Blake, the down-and-out coach who redeems himself as he teaches members of a dance crew to trust him and each other enough to become a real team, in Columbia Pictures' new dance movie, “Battle of the Year.”

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Inspired by Benson Lee’s award-winning documentary, Planet B-Boy, “Battle of the Year” showcases the exhilarating realm of competitive dancing with unprecedented depth and insight, as some of the world’s most elite teams ignite the screen with an astonishing display of athleticism, power and grace.

Battle of the Year is an international dance crew tournament that attracts all the best teams from around the world, but the Americans haven’t won in fifteen years. Los Angeles Hip Hop mogul Dante (Laz Alonso) wants to put the country that started the Sport back on top. He enlists his hard-luck friend Blake (Holloway), who was a championship basketball coach, to coach his team. Armed with the theory that the right coach can make any team champions, they assemble a Dream Team of all the best dancers across the country. With only three months until Battle of the Year, Blake has to use every tactic he knows to get twelve talented individuals to come together as a team if they're going to bring the Trophy back to America where it started.

“I wasn’t familiar with Josh from his role on ‘Lost,’ but from the moment I met him, I just liked him,” says director Benson Lee. “He’s a really genuine person and very professional in his approach to the work. During rehearsals, I was blown away by the way he redefined the coach. He really dug deep into this character and brought such depth and humanity to it. A really good coach is a mentor and Josh achieved that with a lot of the guys on screen, as well as off camera.”

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Holloway admits to being a closet b-boy enthusiast since his days as a high-school basketball player. “I’ve been into dancing my whole life, but I never threw it out there in public,” he says. “My basketball team had some really good b-boys on it and we even integrated moves into our warm-ups. When I saw the documentary, I was astonished by the athleticism and the evolution of b-boying.”

But even more than the dancing, he was drawn to the coach’s story. “It grabbed me,” says the actor. “I know from my own experiences how much a coach can shape your life. In this case, the coach has as much to learn as the team.”

Two years before the story starts, Blake lost his family in a car wreck. “He just checked out and became a serious drunk,” Holloway says. “It’s a painful struggle to come back. He’s an alcoholic and he can’t let go of that yet, because it’s his survival mechanism.”

Eventually, he finds a scribbled note in an old coaching notebook that gives him the key to reaching his team. “It’s something his wife wrote years ago,” says Holloway. “Change how you think, change your life. He rediscovers that and implements it in his coaching. The difference now is that it’s being reflected back on him.”

Taking his role to heart, Holloway worked with the dancers to bolster their confidence in their untried acting skills. “Josh was really generous with his time and his spirit and his energy,” says Lee. “I think the b-boys really felt that and appreciated it.”

“I was just so inspired by every one of these guys,” the actor says. “The things they can do physically are amazing, but their spirit and the energy are even more so. As someone who is a fan of this type of dance, I was blown away by what these kids could do. It was truly like they were in an anti-gravity room.

“And Benson brought passion and an incredible depth of knowledge on this subject,” he adds. “He didn’t just make a dance movie. He’s trying to tell the deeper story of this culture and what it grew from.”

To be shown exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas nationwide starting Nov. 6, “Battle of the Year” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

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