Jem and the Holograms started life as an Eighties rock and roll toy line and animated series, telling the campy story of Starlight Music owner/manager Jerrica Benton transforming into rock god Jem with help from a holographic computer named Synergy. But as the film’s first trailer shows, the upcoming film adaptation has taken some 21st century liberties with the plot. The movie focuses on a YouTube sensation’s rise to fame and the evil manipulation of modern-day record executives – no magic technology, but plenty of young adult angst.
The clip shows how shy singer Jerrica (Aubrey Peeples) gets signed to a deal with Starlight Enterprises, the “biggest record company in the world,” after her younger sister, Kimber (Stefanie Scott) uploads one of her bedroom-recorded videos to the web and watches it go viral.
“At some point, we all wish that we could just become someone else,” Jerrica narrates – and her wish is granted, as the label (led by Juliette Lewis) transforms the vocalist into a glammy pop star through publicity hype, elaborate eye make-up and Photoshop. Jerrica’s forced to drop her backing band, as the company promotes her as the group’s true star – but is the allure of fame worth losing her true self? “Everyone has a secret identity,” the singer says. “Which one’s the real you?”
Jem and the Holograms is scheduled to hit theaters October 23rd through Universal. The film was written by Ryan Landels, directed by Jon M. Chu (Never Say Never) and co-stars Molly Ringwald and Ryan Guzman.
The production team – including Chu, Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, and Paranormal Activity producer Jason Blum – announced the project in March 2014, crowdsourcing elements like casting and costume design.