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Movie News: School Is In Session for FAME Reinvention

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Lakeshore Entertainment and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM) has announced they are  set to do a ‘reinvention’ of the 1980 Oscar winning film FAME. 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.

In keeping with the spirit and innovation of the original 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’re playing.  They are going through the same competition and artistic process in real-life as they strive to make a name for themselves,” said Lakeshore’s Rosenberg.  “The original FAME premise is still vitally compelling.”

The cast includes Thomas Dekker (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) who is set to play a charismatic crooner named Marco who comes from a working class Italian-American family> Marco’s voice is as smooth as his pick up lines.

Naturi Naughton (“Notorious,” former 3LW singer) who steps into the role of 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.

The cast also includes Kristy Flores, Paul Iacono, Paul McGill, Kherington Payne, Collins Pennié, Walter Perez, and Anna Maria Perez de Tagle.

On why MGM has chosen to get behind a reinvention of the highly successful movie FAME, Mary Parent of MGM has this to say

“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 ‘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.  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."

Movie also marks the Feature Film Debut of Noted Choreographer Kevin Tancharoen whose rise to the top of the contemporary choreography world parallels the passionate aspirations of the film’s young characters.  While still a teenager, Tancharoen started directing videos for Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, and Tyrese in addition to directing Britney Spears’ concept-driven “Onyx Hotel” tour.  Tancharoen also choreographed Spears’ popular, eye-popping “Toxic” video and the “Me Against the Music” video with Spears and Madonna, for which he received an American Choreography Award nomination.  Tancharoen also developed, directed and co-wrote MTV’s series “DanceLife” (executive produced by Jennifer Lopez) and directed another MTV series, “TwentyFourSeven.”

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.