‘Jem & The Holograms’ Samantha Newark – A Chat with the Original JEM
Jem and the Holograms fans worldwide were treated to a surprise announcement last week when Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions, Scooter Braun Productions and director Jon M. Chu let fans in on a big secret project they’ve been working on. They are teaming up to make a feature length adaptation of Jem.
The interwebs erupted with comments, criticisms, and speculations. One of the major issues that “Jem-Girls” had with the project, was the fact that creator Christy Marx, was neither involved in the decision, or consulted in any capacity with regards to the project.
Another point of contention with the fans was that Samantha Newark, the voice of Jem herself was not included in the project as well.
I was fortunate to be able to ask Newark some questions regarding the undertaking, and here’s what she had to say about it:
What was your initial reaction upon hearing the announcement that Jem would be made into a live action feature film?
I have to say, I was genuinely excited as I have listened for many years now to the wonderful Jem fan base talk to me about how much they wanted a live action JEM movie and now it’s finally happening.
Did you think that a Jem movie would ever happen?
The JEM brand had been tied up for many years in some weird legal red tape which was apparently making it impossible to move forward with any re-imagining of Jem. I did always know in my heart of hearts the movie would get made and always knew the levity of Jem and what it has meant to millions of people all over the world. I thought it would either happen by a grassroots fan made indie film effort or a Hollywood feature film.
You have been quoted as saying that you feel there is too much of a male perspective involved in the production/ that it’s lacking a female touch. Can you elaborate?
Actually Christy Marx was speaking publically about that and I like her was pretty surprised to see that the wonderful “Creator” of Jem was not asked to be involved in this new imagining of “Jem”. The guys are all really talented and accomplished and this is a NEW imagining of Jem so it will be new and different and I’m hopeful they will do something really fun. I’m also hopeful they will engage some awesome female creative talent as they put their team and cast together so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Would you want to be involved in the production, and if so, to what capacity?
The fans are dying for me and some of the original cast to do cameo’s so that would be really fun – I’m open to on-camera or a cool voice-over part. And on a personal creative level, I would love to have some songs on the soundtrack! Do some singing somewhere in the production it would mean a lot to be able to share that side of my work and talent.
You interact with Jem fans regularly it seems, even making appearances at “JemCon”. Who do you THINK the fans would most want to fill your glitter pumps?
I do own glitter pumps actually, every Jemgirl should have some. The fans are super protective of this show as it was a huge and important part of their childhoods. The show has tremendous heart and there was a certain tone. I think the fans want Jem / Jerrica to be a good girl, a kind girl who has strong empathy toward people and strong values or it won’t work. She was a role model for millions of kids with her “Doing the right thing makes you a superstar” PSA’s so whoever they cast has to be very genuine very likable.
If you were casting the film, who would you choose to fill the roles of Jem, the holograms, Rio, Synergy… etc?
Wow, that’s a tough one –I’m excited to just be surprised and I hope they are unknowns to be honest as this could launch some new careers and that would be cool to see.
You have SUCH an amazingly haunting and beautiful singing voice. That being said, I’m curious why you were chosen just as Jem/Jerrica’s speaking voice, and why Britta Phillips was chosen as the singing voice of Jem?
That’s really kind of you, I get asked that a lot as Britta and I are both singers. The music roles were already cast in New York when I read for the speaking roles of Jem/Jerrica in Los Angeles. They matched our speaking voices to the singing voices and it was all recorded on separate coasts. They did a fantastic job as nobody knew it was two different people. Over the years the Jem fans have become big supporters of my original music and that has been really cool to cross that bridge with them.
I’m sure your fans are dying to get an update on projects you’re currently working on. Can you give us a taste?
I’ll be in Los Angeles, CA for Bot Con in June for the 25th anniversary of the Transformers brand as I did voice work on the original Transformers cartoon series. While I’m in LA I’m back in the studio recording more original music and shooting a music video for one of my new songs. It’s going to be a fun year getting to meet the Jem fans in person at the many Pop Culture conventions including a trip to Toronto, Canada for Jemcon dedicated in its entirety to Jem and the holograms. I’m also performing with the longest running Pink Floyd Tribute band Bricks In The Wall doing shows with them throughout the summer and performing my own music live in DFW.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions, are there any last words you’d like to give to your thralls of fans worldwide?
Be kind to each other, do the right thing, dream big and stay Truly Outrageous!!
Our thanks goes out to Samantha Newark for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk to us. You can keep up to date on all news pertaining to Sam via her official website SamanthaNewark.com. If you aren’t familiar with her music, do check it out. She’s wonderfully talented, with such a unique and beautiful voice. Samples of her work are available on her website.