'Fame' remake lines up cast
Nine actors join film, including Kristy Flores, Paul Iacono
MGM has compiled most of the lead cast for its accelerating remake of the 1980 musical "Fame." Kristy Flores, Paul Iacono, Paul McGill, Naturi Naughton, Kay Panabaker, Kherington Payne, Collins Pennie, Walter Perez and Anna Maria Perez de Tagle have joined the ensemble.
"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" star Thomas Dekker also is in negotiations to take one of the remaining leads. And Debbie Allen, who played Lydia in the original, is rumored to be in line for a cameo, though not as the same character.
The studio is seeking actors for the adult roles.
Written by Allison Burnett and Aline Brosh McKenna, the reinvention will be directed by choreographer Kevin Tancharoen. Gary Lucchesi and Tom Rosenberg of Lakeshore Entertainment are producing the $25 million project along with Mark Canton. Becky Sloviter is overseeing for MGM.
The film is expected to begin lensing in late November to make its Sept. 25 release date. MGM will distribute "Fame" in North America, while Lakeshore will handle international distribution and release the soundtrack.
Much like in the Oscar-winning original, directed by Alan Parker, the story will track the failures and fortunes of super-ambitious young performers and their teachers as they navigate a school year at the prestigious High School for the Performing Arts in New York.
"In many ways, the idea of pursuing a career in dance or music or acting is much more palpable now," MGM chairman Mary Parent said. "Anyone with a page on a social networking site is instantly 'famous,' and anyone with a digital camera is a potential filmmaker. The negotiation between fame and real talent is much more immediate and something with which audiences are familiar, and there's a universal relatability to experiencing the trials and tribulations associated with pursuing one's dream, regardless of the arena."
As a buoyant batch of relative unknowns in a brutal business, the new cast members mirror the stories of the musical's characters -- rising stars in a variety of artistic disciplines competing for respect and success.
Flores plays Rosie, a dancer; Iacano ("The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie") plays Neil, a filmmaker; McGill plays Kevin, a gay dancer; Naughton ("Notorious") plays Denise, a multitalented classical pianist; Panabaker ("CSI: Crime Scene Investigation") plays Jenny, an actor; Payne ("So You Think You Can Dance") plays Alice, a ballerina; Pennie ("Half Nelson") plays Malik, an artist; Perez ("Friday Night Lights") plays Victor, a musician; and Perez de Tagle ("Hannah Montana") plays Joy Moy. Dekker would play Marco, a singer.