Transformers and G.I. Joe made the jump to live-action movie form back during the 2000s - and now, it is time for their fellow 1980s born multi-platform Hasbro IP, Jem and the Holograms, to do the same. Jem, as it were, is being brought to the big screen by director Jon M. Chu, who also helmed G.I. Joe: Retaliation; and, at different points in time, was attached to direct both G.I. Joe 3 and yet another 1980s IP reboot in Masters of the Universe, before he stepped down.
The original Jem and the Holograms cartoon series ran for 65 episodes from 1985-88 and followed the adventures of Jerrica Benton; who, by use of the hologram-projecting computer Synergy, creates an alter ego for herself name Jem, the lead singer of The Holograms. Jerrica's crew included her younger sister, Kimber, the group's songwriter and keyboardist; Shana Elmsford, the drummer; and Aja Leith, the guitarist. (In other words, Jem is another peculiar but beloved child of the 1980s a la Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.)
Jem, in the upcoming live-action movie, is being portrayed by Aubrey Peeples (Nashville), while Stefanie Scott (A.N.T. Farm) plays Kimber, relative newcomer Aurora Perrineau plays Shana, and Hayley Kiyoko (next month's new series premiere CSI: Cyber) plays Aja. However, the 2015 Jem and the Holograms live-action feature will be changing things up from the cartoon series (like, making the four leads sisters), as evidenced by the movie's official synopsis:
As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a one-in-a-million journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden. In Universal Pictures’ Jem and the Holograms, four aspiring musicians will take the world by storm when they see that the key to creating your own destiny lies in finding your own voice.
That setup for Jem and Holograms reads as something that was engineered to appeal to not just a younger generation that's grown up watching people like Justin Bieber go from Youtube singer to pop music superstar, but also feel at home in the present-day - a world where singing talent search shows (American Idol, The Voice) offer the promise of similar rapid rises to success. Mind you, that's not to say this movie will for sure be a clever update of Jem and the Holograms, but at least it's making an effort to reflect the pop cultural zeitgeist.
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Interestingly, out of all the 1980s reboots that Chu's either directed or been attached to direct, Jem seems like the best fit for his sensibilities as a director. After having made two Step Up movies and a pair of 3D Justin Bieber documentaries, Chu will know how to make Jem and the Holograms look slick and stylishly constructed, no matter how silly and amateurish its character development and/or world-building might come off by comparison. The latter will depend more on the efforts from the screenwriter, Ryan Landels (The LXD: The League of Extraordinary Dancers).
And on that note - in a fitting bit of torch-passing, Jem and the Holograms will even costar former 1980s teen stars Molly Ringwald and Juliette Lewis as, respectively, Mrs. Bailey and Erica Raymond: two of the grown-ups now living in Jem and friends' world.
Jem and the Holograms opens in U.S. theaters on October 23rd, 2015.
Source: Universal Pictures