First off, it seems important that we all take a moment to remember and acknowledge that we’re currently living in a world where a Jem and the Holograms live-action feature film is being made right now. This is something fans of candy-colored, techno-laced, secret-identity-driven eighties cartoons have dreamed of for decades. Ahh. Moment done? Cool.
We may have only known about said Jem and the Holograms film for just over a month, but it sure sounds like director Jon M. Chu is not letting any hyper-colored grass grow under his feet, and the project is zooming right along. When the feature was first announced last month, Chu and his producing partners Jason Blum and Scooter Braun made it clear that this thing was going to be a fan-driven experience, and their announcement video also asked for help when it came to just about every major part of the film – from writing music to designing costumes to casting Jem and her Holograms.
Turns out, Jem, Kimber, Aja, and Shana have all been cast – and while they’re all relatively green talents, we suspect that they didn’t snag their parts by submitting auditions via Twitter or whatever it is that the kids are using these days.
The new Jem movie is already a teensy bit suspect – Chu, Blum, and Braun all seem to be really into it, but there’s a curious lack of publicized female talent behind the camera (including Jem creator Christy Marx) – and while it’s charming that they want to involve the fans in their choices, we doubt that there was major fan demand to cast a supporting character from Nashville as Jem. There’s also the issue of the film’s plot, which is already veering away from the origin story that drove the beloved eighties cartoon series.
As our own Samantha Wilson told us last month, “the new plot centers on an orphaned teenager who becomes an online recording sensation. She and her sisters head out on a scavenger hunt — it’s music-themed — across Los Angeles in order to find a final message left by their late father.” Moreover, the film will also thrust Jem (or, yes, Jerrica) and her sister-pals into the modern world by injecting it with a whole mess of social media stuff, as it’s being touted as existing “for a whole new generation with themes of being true to who you are in a multitasking, hyperlinked social-media age.”
Do teens like “multitasking”?
Guess we’re going to find out soon, because Jem and the Holograms has sure doubled down on casting, so at this rate, this thing might just end up zipping into theaters next month.
The casting news was announced over at the film’s official website, which we suspect will soon play home to lots of new information on the project, so maybe give it a bookmark now. The unveiling of who will play Jem, Kimber, Aja, and Shana in the feature was announced alongside the reveal of the film’s first teaser poster, which is weirdly muted and surprisingly downcast.
No, like literally downcast. Everyone is staring at their feet and hiding their faces, and while that might just be a nice way to keep things hidden, it kind of scans as oddly depressing. Girls? Are you okay? Sorry about your dad. Sad face.
Jem will be played by Aubrey Peeples, who currently stars on television’s Nashville, so at least she’s got some probable musical chops to drive her casting. Also? Apparently, she’s not opposed to pink hair. Peeples’ resume includes a mess of other television appearances (she popped up on a single episode of Grey’s Anatomy in the role of “Super Hot Girlfriend”), from Necessary Roughness to Burn Notice. Her first role? A 2009 apperance in the TV movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Jr., which is a thing that exists.
Also, she appeared in Sharknado, so she’s probably got a good sense of humor.
Elsewhere in the Holograms trope, the role of Kimber (my personal favorite Hologram) will be played by Stefanie Scott, who has a supporting role on TV’s A.N.T. Farm, a kids show about musically-gifted kiddos and their school. So, yes, Scott also has a musical background. She’s also appeared on episodes of Law and Order: S.V.U. and The New Adventures of Old Christine. She first hit the screen as a young version of Sarah in a single episode of Chuck back in 2008.
As Aja, Hayley Kiyoko has got a vast musical background to fuel her. She’s a singer, songwriter, drummer, guitarist, and dancer. She also plays the keyboard. She’s appeared on screen a handful of times, most notably in the TV movie Lemonade Mouth, which is about a pack of kids who start a band. Finally, Aurora Perrineau will play Shana. She’s got the slimmest resume in the bunch, with a pack of random roles in films like Air Collison and A House Is Not a Home rounding it out, though she’s also got experience modeling, which seems…nice?
There was never much doubt that the Jem film would feature new talents, straight up unknowns, and ladies that might have a stronger background in music than in film — and this cast sure sound like they fit the bill. But, who, pray tell, will play Pizazz?