Fame: MGM’s Reinvention of 1980 Cult Film

Oct 13, 2008–Lakeshore Entertainment and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM) have announced the freshman class of FAME, a reinvention of the original Oscar-winning film that spawned a globally successful, multi-faceted franchise, including hit TV shows, stage shows and music.

The announcement was made jointly today by producer Tom Rosenberg, chairman & CEO of Lakeshore Entertainment, and Mary Parent, chairman of MGM’s Worldwide Motion Picture Group.

Among those signed to FAME are Thomas Dekker, Kristy Flores, Paul Iacono, Paul McGill, Naturi Naughton, Kay Panabaker, Kherington Payne, Collins Penni?©, Walter Perez, and Anna Maria Perez de Tagle.

As in the original 1980 film, the talented new cast is comprised of young, up-and-coming performers who will climb the steps of the High School for the Performing Arts to explore a wide variety of classic and contemporary artistic disciplines, including singing, acting, ballet, tap, jazz, modern dance, hip-hop, slam poetry, spoken word, traditional theater, and cinema.

“We have assembled a gifted group of actors, dancers and musicians who are just starting out and have a true affinity for the characters they¬íre playing. They are going through the same competition and artistic process in real-life as they strive to make a name for themselves,” said Rosenberg. “The original FAME premise is still vitally compelling.”

“In many ways, the idea of pursuing a career in dance or music or acting is much more palpable now, anyone with a page on a social networking site is instantly ¬ëfamous,¬í 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¬ís a universal relatability to experiencing the trials and tribulations associated with pursuing one¬ís dream, regardless of the arena. We felt the timing was perfect to take this compelling story and update the music and dancing to make it more relevant to today’s young adult audience,¬î said Parent.

Caught up in the intense atmosphere of a performing arts high school in New York, the student artists in the film confront both the tantalizing promise of success and the challenges of thriving in a highly competitive environment. Capturing the visceral excitement and explosive energy of young artists and performers struggling to prove their talent and find their own voice, FAME will mark the feature film directorial debut of noted choreographer Kevin Tancharoen.

Tancharoen’s rise to the top of the contemporary choreography world parallels the passionate aspirations of the film¬ís young characters. While still a teenager, Tancharoen started directing videos for Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, and Tyrese in addition to directing Britney Spears¬í concept-driven ¬ìOnyx Hotel¬î tour. Tancharoen also choreographed Spears¬í popular, eye-popping ¬ìToxic¬î video and the ¬ìMe Against the Music¬î video with Spears and Madonna, for which he received an American Choreography Award nomination. Tancharoen also developed, directed and co-wrote MTV¬ís series ¬ìDanceLife¬î (executive produced by Jennifer Lopez) and directed another MTV series, ¬ìTwentyFourSeven.¬î

The FAME script was written by Allison Burnett with a re-write by Aline Brosh McKenna and is based on the motion picture screenplay FAME by Christopher Gore. FAME is being produced by Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi. Mark Canton is also attached as a producer. David Kern serves as co-producer. Production is slated to begin in late November, with FAME’s theatrical release scheduled for September 25, 2009. MGM will distribute the film in North America, while Lakeshore will handle international distribution. The soundtrack will be released through Lakeshore Records.

About the FAME Cast

Thomas Dekker (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) plays Marco, a charismatic crooner from a working class Italian-American family whose voice is as smooth as his pick-up line.

Kristy Flores plays Rosie, an opinionated, tough-talking dancer who will discover her true calling in spite of herself.

Paul Iacono (“The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie”) plays Neil, an aspiring, ambitious filmmaker who often hides behind his camera until he comes face-to-face with reality.

Paul McGill plays Kevin, a wide-eyed, gay dancer from the Midwest who has more gumption than anyone anticipated.

Naturi Naughton (“Notorious,” former 3LW singer) plays Denise, the dutiful classical piano player who has another talent she hasn’t even discovered yet.

Kay Panabaker (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”) plays Jenny, the determined actor who has to get out of her own way to succeed.

Kherington Payne (“So You Think You Can Dance”) plays Alice, the graceful, privileged yet driven ballerina whose experiments with new dance genres and a clandestine love affair never interfere with her training or ambition.

Collins Penni?© plays Malik, an intense, gifted artist who must reconcile his past before he can truly move on and find his voice.

Walter Perez (“Friday Night Lights”) plays Victor, a consummate, one-man band of a musician and an expert in Latino hip-hop.

Anna Maria Perez de Tagle (“Hannah Montana,” “Camp Rock”) plays the gregarious Joy Moy, a unique, amped-up talent with a big heart and a LOT to say.