jem movie christy marxYesterday's announcement about a "Jem and the Holograms" movie is giving us a lot of feelings, not all of them good. Yesterday, in a cute viral video, "G.I. Joe" director Jon M. Chu, horror movie producer Jason Blum (of Blumhouse Productions), and Bieber believer Scooter Braun took to YouTube to announce their new project and call for video auditions.

Chu described it as "a modern-day, live action, reinvention of the 1980's Hasbro classic cartoon," with Blum helpfully adding, "If you have a cool mom, she'll definitely know what it is!"

Braun discovered Justin Bieber on YouTube, inadvertently creating the TMZ monster running amok today; incidentally, that's also how they're looking for "Jem" cast members. You do the math. Blumhouse has been behind some good quick-and-cheap horror franchises, like "Paranormal Activity," "Insidious," "Sinister," and "The Purge," and some really bad ones, like, well, the endless parade of "Paranormal Activity" sequels.

OK, so far we're feeling really great about these guys making an adaptation of "Jem," also because we're all cool moms. Yeah, YOLO! LOL!! (Ed note: We're actually not, but the sentiment holds.) To add insult to injury, "Jem" creator Christy Marx isn't involved. Like, at all. Marx posted on Facebook an even-handed but honest take on this development, writing that she only found out about the project when "[s]omeone high in the Hasbro PR department thoughtfully reached out to me to let me know about the movie and the impending announcement so that I wouldn't be blindsided by it. I appreciated that gesture." She also had kind words for Chu, who rang her up for a little chat. Chu, who also directed "Step Up 2," "Step Up 3D," and "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," knows from teens and what they like, so he's not necessarily a bad choice. Plus, he did the right thing by (eventually) reaching out to Marx to discuss the project; he didn't have to. Marx wrote, "He treated me with honesty and respect. He is sincere, passionate, and filled with a desire to make the best Jem movie he can make."

But that doesn't mitigate the bitter truth, which is that Marx has nothing to do with the project, and that the most prominent people attached to the movie are all dudes. She wrote, "Many people wonder how I feel about it. I don't think I can hide that I'm deeply unhappy about being shut out of the project. That no one in the entertainment arm of Hasbro wanted to talk to me, have me write for it, or at the very least consult on it. I wouldn't be human if that failed to bother me."

Even though the idea of the Misfits taking to Facebook and Twitter to talk smack about Jem and the Holograms is pretty grotesque to those of us who grew up in the '80s, the glaring gender disparity here is even worse. Marx says it best: "My other unhappy observation is that I see two male producers, a male director and a male writer. Where is the female voice? Where is the female perspective? Where are the women?"

It's the 21st century, so here's hoping that "Jem and the Holograms" will appeal to kids regardless of gender. However, Hollywood isn't exactly known for its progressive gender politics, and you can rest assured that the original cartoon's target market of tween girls will remain the movie's target market. It's all too typical to see young male directors and producers given huge budgets for big properties, but it seems especially outrageous that there isn't even one woman attached to "Jem."
categories Movies