Jerrica Benton isn’t getting any younger. Starlight Music has seen better days, and the big 4-0 is coming up. Pop stars have come and go over the years, but none have ruled the charts like Jem. It’s been nearly twenty years since Jem released a single. The mysterious starlet disappeared just as fast as she appeared. Jerrica refuses to speak on her whereabouts, even as record sales continue to plummet.
What the music listening public doesn’t know is that Jerrica IS Jem, or at least she was. Ever since the music synthesizing AI her father created and called Synergy went offline, she hasn’t been able to transform back into her better, singing half. The years haven’t been kind to Jerrica, but somewhere in that supercomputer, Jem hasn’t aged a day.
She still writes songs for younger, hotter commodities, but no one wants to see Jerrica on the stage. They want JEM. So, when her ex-flame Rio Pacheco’s tech wiz son, Dino, finds a way to bring Synergy back to life, will Jerrica take the chance to relive her early twenties and give the people what they want? The other option would be truly, truly outrageous.
JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS is a film about pop music and rock n’ roll, and how no matter how old the artists get, the core of the music will always be about youth. It’s a bold and inventive piece of slick pop art that cuts beneath the thin veneer of glitz to show the shallow heart of fame.
McG likes to lay awake at night and tell himself he’s capable of making a movie like this, and he’d be stellar if this were a CW pilot, but it’s not. It’s a feature length film. The only man bold enough to take on a project like this is Nicolas Winding Refn.
After giving Tom Hardy a chance to shine in BRONSON and making the most nightbus movie of all time in DRIVE, Refn is an intense visual stylist with a strong sense of theme and tone. He also longs to make a WONDER WOMAN movie and is attached to remake LOGAN’S RUN. He’s totally the type of guy who’d do this. And it ensures that Ryan Gosling would take a role as Riot from The Stingers!
The first writer for this project is a no-brainer. JOSS WHEDON would never take time off from his awesome career to do this movie, but if you’re a fan of Buffy or have ever read his super awesome web-comic Sugarshock (and you better have) then you know no other writer in Hollywood or otherwise can write witty, strong female types in ensembles better than Joss.
This being a big-studio project (in my imagination) with an off-kilter director, the script will go through multiple drafts. Alot of Joss’ ideas will be rejected and he’ll quit, wanting more control than MTV Films (or Fox Atomic, or whothefuckever) is willing to give. That’s when the ball will be handed off to super-mega-hot-awesome Oscar winner DIABLO CODY.
Being super hot shit, despite the relative failure of JENNIFER’S BODY, she’s fielding any number of ridiculous job offers from junior-studio execs and I wouldn’t be surprised if this actually were one of them. Diablo would be responsible for the irony, wit and hipster cred this movie is going to need to survive. All the characters will be speak like cool-bitch catchphrase was their native tongue and I imagine her name alone will get asses in seats.
Unfortunately, Diablo isn’t as professional as we need for this. We need someone who knows the ins and the outs of screenplay construction. A worker. A craftsman.
We need JOHN AUGUST. After Go. Big Fish, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, The Corpse Bride and any number of unproduced or uncredited script work, there is no one else in my mind who could write a movie like this. He’s talented, smart and can do tongue in cheek guilty pleasure movies. (Just watch Charlie’s Angels, on second thought, don’t.)
August would meld all the ideas from the previous drafts into something workable and fresh, giving Refn the playbook he needs to win the championship, or, failing a championship of some sort, at least a movie that makes enough money to justify its existence without pandering to twelve year olds.
And, of course, Refn being a writer himself, he’ll have no problem fine tuning all of this to suit his vision.
If anyone is going to play Jerrica Benton, aka Jem herself, its SCARLETT JOHANNSEN. The lead would have to be, A) smoking hot, B) capable of being pretty but normal looking and C) able to sing. 2 out of 3 ain’t half bad. Scarlett Jo could play shy, nice girl Jerrica turned older, embittered spinster just as well as voluptuous sexbomb Jem and we could get someone with actual singing talent to dub over her smoky, man voice. Mission accomplished.
I don’t have alot of strong reasons why OLIVIA THIRLBY, of Juno fame, should play Kimber, Jerrica’s younger sister who keeps her grounded, but she’s hot and I’m putting her in here somewhere, so try and stop me.
The rest of The Holgrams could be filled out with various singer-model types, namely NICOLE WRAY (who already made a Jem-homage in her video for “If I Was Your Girlfriend”), M.I.A. (who would be an interesting addition to any movie, this one or otherwise, even if she’s not white) and maybe one of the Pussycat Dolls (don’t care which one.) JULIA LING, from Chuck would be awesome as Aja.
While we’re on the subject of Chuck, ZACHARY LEVI would be great as Rio, the nice guy who loves Jerrica and Jem. In our film, he’s married with a son, but a fire still burns within him for Jerrica.
We already mentioned Gosling as Riot, so to front the other rival band, The Misfits, Juliette Lewis is the only person I could see playing Pizzaz.
Also, I never noticed it before, but CRAIG SHEFFER is the spitting-image of series villain Eric Raymond.
The rest of the cast would need to be mixed up with familiar faces, cute up-and-comers and the occasional real musician. It also wouldn’t hurt to get cameos from some of the original voice-over actors and actresses, if only for the message board nerds.
Here’s where things get fun. I really feel like there’s one man who needs to be involved with the music for this film. His name is TIMBALAND. I don’t think he should produce all the movie’s cuts, because his sonic identity is far too recognizable to blend in, but he’d be great as a consultant. That’d open us up to getting his wingman DANJAHANDZ involved, not to mention his little brother JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, who, I’m sure, could do something for the film from a marketing standpoint. Plus, Timmy’s friends with Pharrell and half of the Neptunes’ songs sound like tracks from the cartoon anyway.
I’m sure THE DREAM could write some new, infectious tunes, or re-arrange old-ones to involve his trademark “ay-ay-ay” bullshit. LINDA PERRY could help out. As could MAX MARTIN, the man who made Kelly Clarkson seem likable and owned your ears in the late 90s/early 00s with all the shit he did for N*SYNC and The Backstreet Boys.
Remember, as much as we’d make off the movie, imagine how much the soundtrack would sell? If High School Musical could move that many units, imagine this?
Also, for good measure, we should put out a Lil’ B sponsored remix-album on the streets, to keep The Fader happy.
Well, that about covers it. Perhaps this idea will eventually exist somewhere outside of my brain.