As proof that absolutely any beloved children's property from the 1980s can be rebooted in live-action, the cartoon series Jem and The Holograms - following a girl and her band of best friends as they experiment with stardom and holographic projection - is currently in production, led by director John M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation). Production has moved ahead with surprising speed, and fans now know which actresses will be bringing the characters to life.
It was assumed that given the requirements of the leading lady, the actress playing Jem would have some musical background - a notion now proven with the casting of Aubrey Peeples, hot off her run on ABC's Nashville. Frankly, we would think her performance in Syfy's Sharknado deserves just as much credit, but her TV resume as a whole is nothing to scoff at, with significant experience both in the spotlight and behind the microphone (assuming she can swap country for pop).
The rest of her Holograms (as reported by THR) are being entrusted to a number of young actresses who may give a better sense of the PG-rating and attitude the finished film will be seeking. Playing the part of Jem/Jerrica's little sister Kimber will be Stefanie Scott (Disney's A.N.T. Farm), with Aurora Perrineau (Pretty Little Liars) as Shana, and Hayley Kiyoko (The Fosters, Wizards of Waverley Place) rounding out the group.
At first glance, the director of the most recent action-packed G.I. Joe film may seem like an odd choice to bring a property like Jem to life, even if the two do share a similar origin as a 1980s cartoon series. However, Chu has explained that the film is meant to be a much smaller affair than his other big-budget work, specifically done in the downtime between Retaliation and the still-planned G.I. Joe 3.
Since the original fiction doesn't quite fit the idea of a slimmed-down production, some liberties are being taken in adapting the series for a modern audience (bad news for those hoping to see holographic earrings transform Jem from girl into glam). To begin with, Jem won't owe her success to any sci-fi wizardy, but good old-fashioned YouTube views. Online success with her vocals takes her into the world of stardom, and we can only assume that the other girls (including her kid sister) come along to share in the spotlight, the struggle, and the inevitable lessons learned.
Going by the first official images of the actresses in costume, Chu is giving a clear image of the style he has in mind. Take a look:
It's hard to know if there will be any overlap between older fans of the cartoon and those who find the new film appealing, but who knows: a successful adaptation may just give aging genre fans yet another popular franchise they can claim to be 'expert' on for a new generation. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how Chu moves from one 80s cartoon to the other.
What do you Jem fans think of the casting? Do you think a film based on the series can succeed if the audience its targeting isn't familiar with the original series? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Jem and The Holograms is currently in production.
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