From Rob Thomas to Zach Braff, Spike Lee and Penn Jillette, there's been a streak of notable names using fundraising sites like Kickstarter to finance their films lately. But when it comes to Jon M. Chu's latest passion project, the director of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, doesn't want your money. He wants your creativity, passion and ideas for a movie based on a different toy/'80s cartoon, Jem and the Holograms. It's a little insane and a lot inspired, as detailed in the vid above.
Hollywood has mined our childhood playthings for better or worse with movies like G.I. Joe 1&2, Transformers 1-4, Battleship, and The LEGO Movie. It's about damn time Jem and her flashy bandmates got their shot at the spotlight. At least that's how Chu and his colleagues, horror impresario/producer Jason Blum and music mogul/producer Scooter Braun feel. These three men know that Jem and her crew have a fervent fan following, and they want you to be involved in the film's creation! They give you the full pitch in the video above, where Chu states directly:
"We want to invite you into our process and help us make our next movie. From writing 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 rather than asking for money, we're asking for your creativity."
Jem and the Holograms is being reconceived with a modern-day setting and a live-action execution. The original series centered on a fashion-forward woman with a fabulous double life. By day, she's Jerrica Benton, celebrated businesswoman and owner of Starlight Music. By night, she uses her computer Synergy to transform her into her alter ego and Starlight's biggest act, Jem!
You can watch seasons one through three of Jem on Netflix Instant now. So dig in, and then submit your ideas for the movie to Jem and the Holograms's tumblr or share it with the hashtag with #JemTheMovie. Think you could be the perfect Jem, Rio or Pizzazz? Submit an audition vid, no matter your age or gender.
This is a wildly unconventional approach to making a movie, especially one based on a pre-existing property. But that's part of why this is such thrilling news. A common complaint about just about any movie inspired by a book, comic, TV show or toy is that the filmmakers didn't get why people loved the original to begin with. Here Chu and company really want fans to speak out about how they see this movie coming together. Past crowd-funding efforts on this level have been seen from Paul Verhoeven, who plotted his family drama Tricked through this method, and Timo Vuorensola, whose Nazis on the moon action-comedy Iron Sky featured crowd sourced design and visual effects. Neither turned out to be an especially great movie, but I have higher hopes for this team.
First off, Chu has become a director to watch. His helming career began with high-energy musicals like Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D. Then he fed his sense of musicality and verve into G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which embraced a gonzo vibe that made it way better than it had any right to be. He's shown a skill for crafting musicals as well as talent for translating gawdy toy commercials into spectacular entertainment. I'd say he's a perfect pick for directing this project.
Then you've got Blum, the mastermind behind the low-cost high-rewards horror production company Blumhouse. He's made such hits as Insidious 1 & 2, Paranormal Activity 2-4, Sinister, and The Purge, and has a real talent for anticipating the genre's audience. But horror isn't all he knows. He once ran a theater company with Ethan Hawke, and has recently worked with Glee creator Ryan Murphy on The Town That Dreaded Sundown. So we can assume he picked up some pointers on making musicals.
Last but not least, there's Braun, who owns the music labels School Boy Records and Raymond-Braun Media Group. He has represented acts like Psy, Carly Jepsen, The Wanted, and Justin Bieber. So clearly, he has an eye for pop music. Throw these three together with the wide world of internet fandom, and it's hard to know what the final Jem and the Holograms might actually look like. But embracing the way fandom has involved on the web seems a shrewd move by three skilled collaborators.
What do you want to see in a Jem and the Holograms movie? Who do you want to see star in it? Tell us in comments!