A Different Shade for Jem and the Holograms
Ron Seifried | On 24, Apr 2014
Well, that was fast. After word got out a few week ago that a full-length live action feature film version of 1980’s animated series & Hasbro toyline “Jem and the Holograms” was in the works, we know now that shooting has already begun with a cast that probably only watched the cartoon in reruns, if at all.
The crowd-sourcing inspired picture is led by director John Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) , who announced on the movie’s website Thursday that Jem and her four Holograms are on set and in multi-colored wigs for what promises to be a forgettable franchise reboot.
Chu is collaborating with Paranormal Activity franchise producer Jason Blum, writer Ryan Landels and boy-band music mogul Scooter Braun. Toy manufacturer Hasbro is spreading intellectual properties with Jem and G.I. Joe, following the tremendous success of the “Transformers” film series.
For those not familiar with the Jem legacy, she is an orphaned teenager who becomes a singing sensation (updated to online sensation for the 21st century) , and along with her sister Holograms, goes on a scavenger hunt started by her father.
Aubrey Peeples proves that there is life after “Sharknado,” since she has been cast as the lead, Jem. She also has shown some singing and dancing skills from her ABC-TV series “Nashville.” The remaining Holograms include Stefanie Scott (“No Strings Attached”& the Rob Reiner bomb “Flipped”) as Jem’s sister Kimber, Hayley Kiyoko (Velma in the straight-to-TV live action Scooby Doo prequels) as Aja Leith and Aurora Perrineau (Pretty Little Liars) as Shana.
Online rumblings are already reacting to the casting of light-skinned Perrineau as Shana, who was a darker African-American girl with purple afro in the series. What looks to be another attempt of Hollywood whitewashing a role for the mass consumption, this potential casting mishap may or may not affect box office revenue and merchandising. It is disappointing that just a few weeks after Lupita Nyong’o won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar and made People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People”, the powers that be still don’t get it. An entire segment of cash spending fans once again have been deprived of a positive role model.
Judging by the very fast turnaround after the filmmaker’s online call in March for original ideas including story, music and casting, this looks to be an aggressive marketing campaign for a low-budget film. A Tumblr blog from the production has been posting submissions of fan-made art, but no word if any will inspire the set and costume designers. The producers has said that “Jem and the Holograms is”for a whole new generation with themes of being true to who you are in a multitasking, hyperlinked social media age.”