Universal Launches ‘Jem and the Holograms’ Open Casting Call on Internet

Jem and The Holograms
Justina Mintz/Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures is giving “Jem and the Holograms” fans a chance to appear — briefly — in the upcoming teen-musical fantasy, with winners selected based on “Jem”-inspired videos posted on social channels.

But the on-screen fan appearances will be limited to short excerpts from their video creations, according to the studio; producers have yet to determine how many user-submitted clips they may include in the final cut. That’s a far cry from what the project’s filmmakers said in March 2014, when they told fans they were actually seeking to discover unknown talent online to cast as stars in the movie.

“This is the real way we’re making this movie — this is not a contest,” director Jon M. Chu said in a YouTube video announcing the movie. Added producer Scooter Braun, “We want you to be our movie star.” That idea, however, fell by the wayside.

Universal launched the digital casting call, such as is it, at VidCon, the annual digital-video confab taking place this week in Anaheim, Calif., angling to attract YouTube stars to the contest. “Jem and the Holograms,” based on the ’80s animated TV series and Hasbro toy line, is about a small-town girl who becomes a singing superstar.

The hope at this point: to produce a groundswell of user-generated content about “Jem” ahead of the movie’s Oct. 23 premiere, as effectively free publicity.

Universal’s “Star in Jem” contest is inviting anyone to post multiple videos of themselves singing or dancing to one of the songs from the movie (after downloading music from the site). For actors, the studio is looking for testimonials addressed to the fictional Jem about “how she has given you courage to be yourself.” Deadline for submissions is Aug. 10.

Universal also is partnering with Defy Media’s Clevver entertainment digital network on a video campaign promoting the film. That will comprise interviews with top YouTube talent at VidCon about how they rose from obscurity to Internet stardom (i.e., just like Jem).

In addition, Universal is sponsoring “The Prom” at VidCon on Saturday night. The event will include “Jem and the Holograms” giveaways, a makeup artist, photo booth and branded beach balls and will feature a music video from the pic.

“Jem and the Holograms” stars Aubrey Peeples (ABC’s “Nashville”) in the title role. Cast also includes Stefanie Scott, Aurora Perrineau, Hayley Kiyoko, Ryan Guzman, Molly Ringwald and Juliette Lewis.

The movie is directed by Chu (“Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”) and scripted by Ryan Landels. Producers are Chu, Jason Blum for Blumhouse Prods., Braun for SB Projects, Bennett Schneir, and Brian Goldner and Stephen Davis of Hasbro Studios.

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  1. Abid says:

    Hello! To all members , I would like to do acting in Jem the movie, feature me also in ur movies, its my childhood dream to do acting in this movie

  2. Bax says:

    They already tried to pull this stunt with casting for the film and no sooner did they annouce the “contest” did they annouce the film had already been cast. How are they going to put people in a movie that’s already complete and scheduled for release in October? The producer already said it’s done and they’re not changing it. And now they want us to believe that fans have a chance to be in it? Please. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. This is just a shallow attempt for them to make up for all that negative buzz created by those awful trailers that show the people who made this movie had no love for the Jem characters and even less respect for their fans. At best, they’re using this as a tactic to generate interest among 14-year-olds who dream of being YouTube stars by dangling an appearance in the movie as bait, because they already alienated anyone who was a true Jem fan. At best, I’m sure all these people will get is a quick clip during the end credits, if even that.

  3. Heathen says:

    They already did a casting call last year and it turned out to be a fake publicity stunt. I hope people don’t fall for it again, it really wasn’t nice to treat people that way.

  4. Travis says:

    They are really trying their hardest to get people interested in this sham of a jem movie. I hope all those true fans of the original stick to their guns and boycott this movie. I like how they try and make it seem they are catering to jem fans with their whole “we want you to send in videos telling us about how jem affected you” when in truth who they are really targeting is the teenie boppers. They have been their sole target and now they are going to have so caled famous people telling how they became famous this way. Its a joke. Hopefully we will get a remake and they will do the smart thing that the smurfs is doing and follow more closely to the original. Hopefully hasbro will be smart and get another company to make a jem movie down the road.

  5. Smh says:

    It is Jem in Name Only. The story they are using is a repeat of Hannah Montana the Movie.

  6. I have serious doubts that there is a promotion or ‘groundswell’ that can counteract the huge negative publicity that this movie has already generated for itself over the last few months.

    …and with good reason, Chu has changed or outright removed everything that made Jem ‘truly truly outrageous’ and turned it into nothing more then another bland, highly formulaic teen angst movie and is nothing more then a blending of Justin Beiber’s rise to fame after being discovered on Youtube, and Hannah Montana’s singer with a secret identity.

    Gone is the empowered young woman who fought to retain her fathers music company, ran an orphanage and had a surprisingly complex and conflicted dual life, and instead we get “Random teen gets a lucky break and is discovered on youtube’. Disappointing is an understatement.

    Chu is obviously hoping that the title ‘Jem and the Holograms’ gets butts warming the seats for his film, because the movie itself certainly is not up to the task. This is not ‘Jem and the Holograms’ or even anything resembling it, but Chu’s own mediocre baby with a few token references thrown in and hoping to ride hard the coattails of an established and respected title.

    This in my opinion needs to go straight to the discount DVD bins, any bypass a theatre release, or just be scrapped altogether. For it is certainly shaping up to be be a fail of ‘Pluto Nash’ level proportions.

  7. I give it a big Archie Bunker raspberry…just like this movie.

  8. mialerda says:

    People should also send in reactions to the trailer instead of true audition videos. I say this in all seriousness because if we remember before CHU embarked on making this fiasco he allegedly said he would hold open auditions for the cast. Many people felt this was a scam as they never went through with it.

  9. mialerda says:

    As a Jem fan for 30 + years… I am disappointed and offended at this cinematic reboot. I could only think Chu is pulling Uwe Boll by trying to make the worst film so he can bank on keeping investor and granted money. Jem was a quality franchise that was ahead of its time in every way. This movie they are peddling under the brand guise is such a poor and recycled concept . Shame on the people involved for their lack if respect for something so adored.

  10. Sith McGarbage says:

    They couldn’t have butchered Jem any worse if they made this a torture porn flick.

    • Carteeg Struve says:

      Suddenly I imagined the line-reading of “Showtime, Synergy.” being done in a much more sinister and terrifying tone.

      … Yeah. Definitely yes. That version of the movie would had been miles better than this p.o.s.

  11. Kade says:

    This movie looks terrible.

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