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MTV is looking to make a splash in the original musical arena with The American Mall.
Bulgarian-born actress Nina Dobrev and Rob Mayes lead the ensemble cast of the musical, a romantic comedy-drama set at a mall that centers on high school graduate Ally (Dobrev), a singer-songwriter battling to save her mother's music store and to keep the boy she loves, Joey (Mayes), a musically gifted young janitor who fronts a garage band.
Autumn Reeser will play Ally's mean-girl adversary Madison, the spoiled and ruthless heiress to the owners of the mall who tries to shut down the music store and steal Ally's boy.
Wade Allain-Marcus, Bianca Collins, Rodney To, Neil Haskell, Brooke Lyons, David Baum, Blythe Auffarth, Yassmin Alers, Bresha Webb, Neil Haskell and Al Sapienza round out the cast of the film, which will begin shooting in late January at a mall in Provo, Utah. »
Pop singer and High School Musical star Ashley Tisdale suffered a panic attack onstage in New York on Friday night after a recent rhinoplasty left her struggling for breath. The pretty blonde was showing off her new nose at the Z100 Jingle Ball - her first public appearance since undergoing the cosmetic procedure in Beverly Hills on November 30. Looking strikingly different, the 22-year-old took to the stage at Madison Square Garden despite a little obvious swelling from the cosmetic surgery. Tisdale reluctantly went under the knife to correct a severely deviated septum. She admits her first post-surgery show did not go as well as she'd hoped, telling People.com, "I was so out of breath, I started hyperventilating. They were thinking it was a heart attack. The (tour) doctor got me an oxygen tank and I sat outside the stage and breathed in oxygen until I could catch my breath." »
NEW YORK -- Perfectly timed to cash in on the perennial endless radio plays of the classic novelty tune "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late"), this holiday movie presents the furry warblers in all their high-pitched glory.
While Alvin and the Chipmunks, based on the characters created by Ross Bagdasarian, is not exactly the lavish big-screen effort one might have hoped for in the roughly 50 years since they made their debut, it should make some coin in a Christmas season surprisingly scarce of family entertainment.
Jason Lee -- sans the porn star mustache he sports as television's Earl -- stars as Dave Seville, the harassed songwriter whose annoyed cry of "Alvin!!!!" is dutifully re-created here in the presentation of the yuletide number.
This combination of live action and CGI animation delivers a somewhat updated version of the critters, as evidenced by the poster featuring them in sunglasses and hoodies. Besides their trademark number, they also deliver fun renditions of such songs as "Funkytown" and "Bad Day".
There's no small irony in the fact that the scenario for this highly commercialized endeavor deals with the Chipmunks being exploited by a greedy record producer (a very amusing David Cross) who showers them with expensive toys -- this being a family film, no blow or hookers are preferred -- and even resorts to such shady practices as, gasp, having them lip-synch during their long-awaited live concert debut.
What any of this will mean to the target kiddie audience is anybody's guess, though admittedly in this Hannah Montana/High School Musical-dominated era their showbiz sophistication shouldn't be underestimated.
As the songwriter whose career is rescued by the singing rodents -- his songs about "the abyss of death" just weren't cutting it -- Lee uses his laid-back likability to good effect, even if he seems barely interested in the requisite romantic subplot involving Dave's attempts to rekindle his relationship with his beautiful blond ex-girlfriend (Cameron Di ... I mean Richardson).
Most of the film revolves around the lovable furry scamps Alvin, Simon and Theodore getting into all sorts of slapstick trouble as they climb up the show business ladder to fame and fortune. Unfortunately, as rendered here by the average-looking CGI effects, the characters are underwhelming in their appeal, lacking the charm of their previous animated incarnations. And it's hard to imagine why they are voiced by such familiar names as actor Justin Long and pop star Jesse McCartney because the helium-high vocals are virtually undistinguishable.
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS
Fox 2000, Regency Enterprises, Bagdasarian Prods.
Director: Tim Hill
Producers: Ross Bagdasarian Jr., Janice Karman
Director of photography: Peter Lyons Collister
Production designer: Richard Holland
Music: Christopher Lennertz
Editor: Peter E. Berger
Dave Seville: Jason Lee
Ian Hawk: David Cross
Claire: Cameron Richardson
Alvin: Justin Long
Simon: Matthew Gray Gubler
Theodore: Jesse McCartney
Running time -- 92 minutes
MPAA rating: PG
Previously titled Metal Birding, the film, which began lensing in November in Vancouver, also has a new director in William Dear, who replaced Jeff Woolnough (Taken, Battlestar Galactica). No reason was cited by Rigel for the change.
The coming-of-age story centers on a young motocross racer (Bleu) who aspires to win the Amateur National Championships while struggling to support his family.
Miller will play Jeannette, a single working mom to one of the teenage racers who strives to provide for her family while studying full-time to become a nurse.
Langston guest stars as the racing champion that Bleu's character and his rival (Bellefleur) looks up to. Echeverria will play Bleu's girlfriend.
Rigel is producing in association with Up North Entertainment. Executive producing is Rigel's John F.S. Laing and David Doerksen, Jim O'Grady of Waterfront Pictures and Michael Emanuel of Canal Street Films. »
Former Friends star Matthew Perry is to play a grown up version of High School Musical's Zac Efron in a new body-swapping comedy. In Seventeen, Perry will play a father who becomes a teenager overnight - and turns into Efron. Knocked Up star Leslie Mann will take on the role of Perry's confused wife. »
High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens denies she owes her former attorney $150,000 - and demands the lawsuit is dismissed by the courts. The actress is being sued by Brian Schall over claims he helped her earn more than $5 million by advancing her funds for her songwriting and recording career. The suit claims Hudgens "has paid some, but not all, of the money owed." But the 18-year-old denies she owes Schall money and contends the lawsuit against her has no merit, because she was just 16 when signed the contract. According to website Tmz.com, papers filed by Hudgens' lawyer Evan N. Spiegel state that California's Family Code "provides that the contract of a minor is voidable and may be disaffirmed before (age 18) or within a reasonable time afterward." A copy of a two-paragraph letter from Hudgens to Schall nullifying their agreement was provided with the court papers along with a copy her birth certificate to prove her age. »
Teenage actress Vanessa Hudgens has denied reports she has been dropped from the upcoming cinema sequel to TV smash High School Musical because of her recent nude photo scandal. The 18-year-old recently admitted posing for naked camera phone shots that she meant only for the eyes of boyfriend Zac Efron - but the saucy snaps fell into a third party's hands and were plastered all over the internet. However, Hudgens insists the controversy will not affect her role in the Disney follow-up. Her spokesperson says, "It's an old rumor."
NEW YORK -- Billy Ray Cyrus and High School Musical star Olesya Rulin will headline Jim Amatulli's drama Flying By, the story of a businessman who risks his marriage, family and fortune to pursue his dream of being in a rock band.
Rulin will play the supportive daughter of the businessman (Cyrus) alongside Oscar winner Patricia Neal, Robert Gossett (TNT's The Closer), Eric Allan Kramer (American Wedding) and Ted Hutton in the family-friendly indie feature. Eric Abrahamson, Jonathan McHugh and Amatulli will produce for Arte Films and Encore Partners.
Neal is in final negotiations to play the mother of Cyrus' character, who teams with his bandmates (Gossett, Kramer) after being encouraged to perform by a club booker (Hutton). The film will begin shooting Nov. 26 in San Diego.
Cyrus, best known for his country hit "Achy Breaky Heart", is riding high with the Disney Channel series Hannah Montana, starring his 14-year-old daughter Miley Cyrus. He's on tour promoting his new album, Home at Last.
CANNES -- The global traffic in TV content has never been more intense, the pace never quicker and the pricing rarely as healthy.
Whether it was CBS Paramount's Californication, NBC Universal's Bionic Woman or Warner Bros. TV's Pushing Daisies, it seems that foreign program buyers just can't get enough of U.S. series. And most of the time, thanks in part to strong local currencies, they're paying through the nose for them.
Still, as key U.S. execs on the Riviera made a point of saying, the traffic is now clearly "back and forth across the Atlantic," in Leslie Moonves' words, and "multidirectional," as Ben Silverman puts it.
CBS Corp. CEO Moonves was feted by MIPCOM organizers for his pioneering efforts in opening the U.S. market to foreign program formats as well as for turning "CSI" into the epitome of a global franchise.
Silverman, who is co-chair of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, cut his teeth on the international programming scene, making his mark by spotting cutting-edge concepts and turning them into hits stateside. Silverman has just sourced his three latest format hopefuls -- not from the usual British or Dutch markets but from unplumbed sources in Israel, Colombia and Australia.
As the 23rd MIPCOM trade show, which wraps Friday, has made abundantly clear, it's not enough to just buy and sell product: Real success is about managing to leverage a property and turn it into a hit -- hey, even a global brand. That's what really matters to the bosses and their bottom lines back home.
Disney's top European salesman Tom Toumazis put it this way: "It's the experience of accessing our content that has to be enriching. That's what we worry about and concentrate on rather than exclusively how we monetize this or that new platform opportunity. We're focused on keeping our shows successful and finding new ways to reach people."
Toumazis was speaking Wednesday on one of MIPCOM's many panels, which in the past couple of years have provided stimulating discussions about the digital revolution and how broadcasters and producers are dealing with it.
Judging from these gabfests, paranoia about digital has largely been replaced by pragmatism. The new mantra: We know consumers want content whenever, wherever and however, and we the broadcasters and producers are finding ways to supply that and at the same time to experiment with whatever model works to get paid for it.
Disney, for example, has recently supplied, for a transactional fee, preview episodes of Lost on Germany's Maxdome a week before broadcast; created additive material online of the telenovela that Betty's family watches at home on the series Ugly Betty in order to attract new viewers; and harnessed multiple divisions of the company to turn High School Musical into an international phenom. »
High School Musical star Corbin Bleu is frustrated after missing his own film premieres - and insists he is cursed. The young actor has been invited to countless opening galas, but has never managed to attend any, due to other work commitments. He tells People.com, "I've never been to a High School Musical premiere - ever. I couldn't go to the DVD premiere. I was on tour for the (High School Musical 2) Disneyland premiere. I couldn't go to London for the international premiere. I'm cursed." But the 18-year-old's luck could be about to change after agreeing to appear in High School Musical 3. He adds, "Truthfully, as long as it's a good script and as long as everybody is being paid fairly, I would be more than happy to go and have one last hurrah." »
Actress Vanessa Hudgens is preparing herself for further embarrassment as fresh racy photographs are published on the internet. The teenage star hit the headlines after confirming she posed for saucy snapshots intended only for the eyes of boyfriend and High School Musical co-star Zac Efron. Hudgens was forced to apologize to fans after the camera phone pictures appeared on select websites. But new images show the 18-year-old posing cheekily with pals and one shows Hudgens pictured cuddling up close to one of her friends. Other photos show her scantily-dressed. A spokesman for Hudgens refused to comment. »
Disgraced High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens pulled out of her appearance on Thursday night's The Tonight Show in America in the wake of her nude photo scandal. The pretty teenager hit the headlines after confirming she posed for saucy snapshots intended only for the eyes of boyfriend and co-star Zac Efron The camera phone pictures fell into the hands of a third party, who went public with the sexy images, placing them on select websites. In a statement released last week, the actress said, "I am embarrassed over this situation and regret having ever taken these photos. I am thankful for the support of my family and friends." But she no longer wants to talk about the controversy, and pulled out of her appearance on The Tonight Show on Thursday afternoon. A representative for the late-night chat show said, "Vanessa is no longer appearing on Thursday's Tonight Show due to a scheduling conflict. She will be rescheduling her appearance at a later date." »
Vanessa Anne Hudgens' representative has confirmed reports that nude photographs circulating on the internet are of the High School Musical 2 star. Last week , American tabloid National Enquirer reported saucy images of the 18-year-old singer/actress had been taken from her possession. After the images began appearing on the internet on this week, Hudgens representative released a statement, confirming their authenticity. The rep says, "It is a personal matter and it is unfortunate that this has become public. This was a photo which was taken privately." The photo features Hudgens in the nude standing beside a bed in either a bedroom or film set. The pretty Californian is rumored to be dating her High School Musical co-star Zac Efron. »
Tisdale will play Mandy, a high schooler who has caught the eye of the most popular boy in school. In the story, he invites her to his party, causing a dilemma as she has just been grounded.
Stephen Herek will direct Picture from a script written by Temple Matthews. Production begins this week in Montreal. Brian Reilly and Patrick Hughes will produce.
"Ashley is clearly a huge talent, and we couldn't be more excited to be working with her on this movie," said Jason Weiss, vp in the DVD Premiere division at MGM. "We are excited to be giving Ashley her first role carrying a movie and feel 'Picture This' is a perfect vehicle for her to showcase both her acting and singing talents."
Tisdale starred in the Disney Channel original movies High School Musical and High School Musical 2. She also appeared in the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and the animated comedy series Phineas and Ferb.
She is repped by Gersh and manager Bill Perlman. »
Teen actor Zac Efron has played down reports he wears a 'commitment' ring from High School Musical co-star and girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens, insisting commitment is "way too weird a word" for him at such a young age. The Hairspray heartthrob, 19, has been spotted wearing a silver ring on his left hand and was recently quoted saying, "Exchanging rings is far easier than getting tattoos." While Efron is happy to talk about his on-screen chemistry with Hudgens and describes her as a "very sexy woman," he refuses to divulge any more details of their one-year relationship. He says, "I'm not even going to say who it's from. This is just a ring from a friend that I got. 'Commitment' is way too weird a word for me right now. I'm wearing it for a friend. It is a female friend, but I can't say who, because then it would be chat-room pandemonium and teenage magazine-hysteria." »
High School Musical's Olesya Rulin, Gilmore Girls regular Keiko Agena, Jill Marie Jones, Aimee Garcia and Gary Grubbs also star in the story of Megan (Simpson), a somewhat clueless movie star who impulsively enlists in the U.S. Army Reserve after discovering her boyfriend is gay and her cousin/accountant has stolen all her money.
Fox will play Sgt. Louisa Morley, an intimidating training officer who goes hard on Megan. Guttenberg will play the controlling agent Sidney Green, furious at her for enlisting and at Gen. Greer (Grubbs) for keeping her there. Sypek will play the handsome officer Megan falls for, Sgt. Mills Evans. Oteri will play Pvt. Jeter, the most gung-ho recruit on the base and Megan's arch-nemesis. Jones, Rulin, Agena and Garcia will play Megan's fellow reservists. »
High School Musical stars Zac Efron and Vanessa Anne Hudgens have reportedly ended their real-life romance after a dream vacation turned into a nightmare. The young lovers were spotted hand in hand at the MTV Movie Awards on June 3 but a road trip immediately following the event really tested their love for each other. An insider tells America's In Touch Weekly magazine, "Zac borrowed a car and the two headed off on their own. It was raining and they soon got lost. Zac was yelling at Vanessa that it was her fault." The teenage couple reportedly got into an argument and split up on the trip. »
Synder joins Disney Channel from Cookie Jar Entertainment, where she was senior vp creative development and U.S. sales, overseeing the development of more than 50 properties for multiple platforms and selling preschool, comedy and boys action animated series to such networks as Disney Channel (for Playhouse Disney), Kids' WB! and Cartoon Network.
She also co-founded and was president of Storyopolis Prods., a franchise-oriented family entertainment company encompassing production, book publishing, art gallery, exhibition space and retail outlets.
Disney Channel has seen a great deal of success with its original movies, including High School Musical, "Jump In!" and The Cheetah Girls and its sequel. When Jump In debuted in January, it became Disney Channel's highest-rated original movie with 8.2 million total viewers, breaking the record held by the August premiere of The Cheetah Girls 2 (7.8 million). The "HSM" sequel is set to debut Aug. »
Disney's hit made-for-TV movie High School Musical is to make a leap to the big screen, with a new spin-off feature film in the pipeline. The film giant hopes Haunted High School Musical will emulate the success of the original show, which made profits of $100 million. Gary Marsh, president of Disney Channel Worldwide, says, "High School Musical sky-rocketed to heights never before achieved by a TV movie, so it's only fitting that its next incarnation should be as a major motion picture." A second made-for-TV sequel, High School Musical 2, is currently being produced and will air on the Disney Channel this summer. As yet, no plot details for Haunted High School Musical have been released. »
Disney Channel and Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group announced Thursday that "Haunted High School Musical" will be released in 2008. Few details were unveiled other than its Halloween theme; it wasn't clear how many of the original cast and crew members will appear in the movie, though the studio has begun discussions.
The cast and director Kenny Ortega have reunited this week for rehearsals in Utah in advance of "High School Musical 2". Production on that begins in three weeks, and the sequel is expected to air in August on the Disney Channel.
There isn't a script yet, Disney Channel Worldwide Entertainment president Gary Marsh said Thursday at the channel's upfront presentation at the Hudson Theatre.
"High School Musical" has been a phenomenon for the Disney Channel since the movie's premiere in January 2006, one that has moved way beyond the TV screen. »
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