Out of all the movie reboots on the horizon, not one gives me pause more than Jem and the Holograms. This upcoming movie is based on Jem, the (truly outrageous—had to do it at least once) ‘80s Hasbro cartoon that followed the young, newly orphaned co-owner of Starlight Music, Jerrica Benton. Jerrica was tasked with carrying out her father’s legacy while protecting her half of the company from the clutches of douchebag extraordinaire Eric Raymond, the other co-owner who is trying to control it all for his new bad, the Misfits.
With the help of her father’s supercomputer, Synergy, Jerrica turns into Jem, the lead singer of Jem and the Holograms, to provide some healthy competition for the Misfits. Behold, the hot pink glory of the disguise process:
Members of the Holograms include Jerrica’s sister Kimber and foster sisters, Aja and Shana. They all maintain their real appearances and names, though Synergy hooks them up with sweet new wardrobes and instruments. The band champions the welfare of foster girls, literacy, and generally not being a dick.
They often clash with Eric Raymond and the Misfits, who mostly care about being number one regardless of who they step on in the process (see their song, “Winning Is Everyting”). The Misfits have questionable morals, but usually better songs if I’m to be completely honest.
The Jem cartoon ran from 1985 to 1988, then blessed us with its syndication in the early ‘90s. What followed was a pop culture drought, during which I nearly destroyed my recorded-off-the-TV tapes and replaced them with an ebay set out of fear. Discovering its DVD release was pretty much the best.
A year ago, director Jon M. Chu posted a video where he, along with Producers Jason Blum and Scooter Braun, requested the aid of tumblr fans in creating a Jem and the Holograms movie. “Help us make our next movie. From making music to designing costumes to even casting. Whatever it is, we want you to be part of our creative team. Sort of like Kickstarter, but instead of asking for money, we’re asking for your creativity,” Chu explained. Ultimately, Hollywood actors were chosen for the parts: Aubrey Peebles (Nashville) will be Jem, alongside bandmates Stephanie Scott (A.N.T. Farm) as Kimber, Hayley Kiyoko (The Fosters, CSI: Cyber) as Aja, and Aurora Perrineau (A House is Not a Home) as Shana. Jerrica’s boyfriend/Jem’s sometimes paramour (also known as The Worst) Rio will be played by Ryan Guzman of The Boy Next Door and Pretty Little Liars fame. No news on casting for The Misfits yet, but Erica Raymond will be played by Juliette Lewis.
Wait, EricA Raymond?
Now’s probably a good time to talk about some changes, besides the gender of Jerrica’s rival. According to IMDB, Jem and the Holograms is the story of how “an orphaned teenage girl, Jerrica Jem Benton, becomes an online recording sensation.” I understand changing times and technology, but can’t help feeling like this description spits in the face of the source material.
Thanks to io9, the world was able to see the sneak peek offered in this month’s Elle Magazine. Check it out:
Unfortunately, I’m…not comforted. The outfits look like something out of Zenon: Girl of the Twenty-First Century and the make up is bananas which, considering the original, is saying something.
Jem and the Holograms premieres in theaters October 23, 2015.
Can’t wait for the movie to get your Jem fix? IDW is releasing a Jem and the Holograms comic series—the first one comes out on March 25, 2015. Spoiler alert: it looks baller. And of course, you can always revisit the original cartoon—available streaming on Netflix until March 16th or on Amazon for purchase.
Until then, rock on.