It didn't quite get the reception it was expecting at the box office last weekend, but If you were a fan of the hit 80's cartoon Jem and the Holograms then you might want to check out the live action version of this rockin' band now on a big screen near you!
Directed by Jon M. Chu the film is based loosely on the toy line and 1980s animated television series of the same name. It stars Nashville's Audrey Peeples as singer Jerrica Benton, her sister Kimber (Stefanie Scott), and her friends Aja (Hayley Kiyoko) and Shana (Aurora Perrineau), as the aspiring musicians who embark on a quest to become superstars.Heroes Reborn hunk Ryan Guzman also stars as their manager Rio.
Director Jon M. Chu originally pitched the film to Hasbro and Universal Pictures about 11 years ago, but it was a very different version that never got made. It was just the live-action version of the animated series, and it didn’t add anything new to what was already there. Hasbro Studios producer Stephen Davis said they had a long-standing relationship with Chu and had been talking about various projects they could work on, when his love for Jem and the Holograms came up in conversation. And then, five or six years later, they heard from producer Jason Blum about doing a low-budget movie with the property, which Chu responded to.
It was really important to Chu to get the blessings of those responsible for the characters and the original animated series, and he said they’ve been warm and appreciative. He showed them the movie first and they were crying and gave him a big hug. Christy [Marx], Samantha [Newark] and Britta [Phillips] have all been the best he could have ever asked for. Marx did tell him that she hoped he’d focus more on the sisterhood of the girls, instead of keeping them apart from each other, so he built the story around that idea.
For casting these roles, they saw a lot of actresses, but when it came to Jem, they really wanted someone who could sing and understood music. Aubrey Peeples loves analog things, and she loves polaroids and old music and has an old guitar that she plays, and yet she is a very modern girl who is honest. They were drawn to her, but didn’t find her until the very last moment. They were going to shut down the movie, if they didn’t find the right Jerrica, but when they found Peeples, they knew she was what they were looking for. This is the story of Jerrica and how she becomes Jem, and her identity as a girl trying to deal with this stuff, so finding the right actress was crucial.
I recently spoke to the cast in Los Angeles about working on the film and how much fun they had together.