“Dancing With the Stars” alum
Peta Murgatroyd dances her way into a widower’s heart in “Faith, Hope & Love.”
Peta Murgatroyd’s next performance isn’t taking place in the ballroom, but theaters across the country. The former “Dancing with the Stars” pro is making her acting debut in the faith-based film “Faith, Hope & Love,” out Friday.
Murgatroyd plays Faith Turley, a woman who enters a dance contest, hoping to nab the $25,000 prize money to refit her dance studio. As Murgatroyd did for many years on “DWTS,” her character helps transform single dad Jimmy Hope (Robert Krantz, co-director/writer/producer for the film) into a dancer.
Ed Asner, Corbin Bernsen, Michael Richards, Natasha Bure (daughter of Candace Cameron Bure) and Murgatroyd’s real-life husband Maksim Chmerkovskiy also appear in the film. He plays her unfaithful ex.
Murgatroyd tells USA TODAY she was “grateful” to land her first acting gig. Though she leans more toward “spiritual” than religious she says she asked the universe for the role for a year.
“…I would be like, ‘OK, please let’s do this. Please just give me a sign that I should be doing an acting role and help me out here,’ ” she recalls. “Not exactly saying, ‘Dear God blah, blah, blah, amen,’ but putting it out there to the universe that I really wanted this to happen for me…”
Turns out the same person who earned two mirror ball trophies during her 2011-2017 run on ABC’s dance competition, says she originally ventured to L.A. in 2010 for acting. She resorted to dancing “because the acting life is tough, and I needed to pay my way and pay rent.”
“Obviously, I love my dancing, but acting was what I originally came here for,” she says, “So, it’s kind of cool that I get to finally start living out that dream.”
On the first day of filming, Murgatroyd says she was “feeling good,” despite nerves that lasted the first few hours. It seems her time on “DWTS” served as an acting school of sorts.
In addition to the cameras she said are “everywhere on that show,” she adds: “I’m used to doing interviews and knowing where to stand and where to look and all that stuff.”
“Dancing is all about acting as well, you just aren’t saying anything when you’re moving,” she adds. “So it was just sort of adding in an extra element of having a script for me.”
Another thing that came naturally for Murgatroyd is acting alongside her husband. And though they’ve been married since 2017, she says it was easy to act upset at him. All she had to do was draw from their real-life split.
“I went back to when he did actually dump me when we were first dating,” she says. “After a year, he dumped me. So, I kind of used that as my, I don’t know, character development sort of to push how emotionally sad and just angry I was at him.”
When this writer jokes that it’s good for a woman to hold a grudge Murgatroyd agrees with a chuckle. “Yeah, yeah exactly,” she says. “It comes in handy.”
“Dancing With the Stars” alum Peta Murgatroyd takes the dance floor with Robert Krantz in a scene from her debut film, “Faith, Hope & Love.”
As for whether the married couple will take their talents back to “DWTS,” Murgatroyd is uncertain.
“We would love to be back on the show,” she says. “I don’t know if that will happen, but…it would be cool to be back on.”
Murgatroyd says their contracts were up and instead of renegotiating they opted to devote time to other projects and family. She does miss the program.
“I miss performing. I miss the people. I miss the relationships that you make when you are so close to one another,” she says. “I miss my girls, and when you meet a whole new bunch of new celebrities that come onto the show, it really does feel like a family.
“We all have our ups and downs and stuff, but it really feels good to be a part of the show,” she continues, “and when you’re out of it for so long you definitely miss that.”
A pivot to acting doesn’t mean Murgatroyd is leaving the dancing world behind.
“That’s a passion that I will carry with me until I’m dead,” she says. “It’ll always be there.”
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