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'American Idol'-Based Movie in the Works: "The Musical Version of 'Rocky'"

August 2, 2007 11:50 AM ET

American Idol's first attempt to cash in at the box office didn't go so well, to put it mildly. From Justin to Kelly, 2003's painful teenage-romance flick starring season-one finalists Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson, was a rush-job that tanked its first week out and was then rushed to DVD. Simon Cowell was not involved in this nightmare, and is therefore still optimistic that he can coax American Idol's massive audience from their couches to theaters with Star Struck, a new film he's been planning for years.

The movie's plot is a hybrid of a fictionalized American Idol-like show and Alan Parker's 1980s' film Fame. Star Struck follows the lives of ten celebrity-hungry contestants as they pursue their fifteen minutes. "The story is told through the eyes of those ten contestants," Cowell explained. "We want it to be the musical version of Rocky -- an underdog story, a feel-good film. Fame was all about young people wanting to be famous, and in order to do that, they enrolled in a drama school; everyone who wants to be famous today signs up for American Idol."

To further the life-imitating-art-imitating-reality narrative, Star Struck will be cast via nationally held auditions and the film will open with Cowell presiding over potential candidates, just like those nauseatingly compelling first weeks of Idol. Cowell is aiming for a summer 2008 release date.

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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