The millions who tune in for their "American Idol" fix each week know onetime pop star Paula Abdul as a fun-loving judge and charismatic Simon Cowell-baiter. Now, she'll be known for yet another role: movie mogul.
The former chart-topper is teaming up with "Spider-Man" producer Avi Arad and "Raise Your Voice" director Sean McNamara on an upcoming movie based on the popular doll line Bratz. The flick, due in theaters this August, will feature Abdul as a fashion, choreography and music adviser, as well as a casting assistant and onscreen character.
"I am extremely excited about working on this film, which incorporates and celebrates so many of my passions, from music, dance and choreography to fashion and design," Abdul said Tuesday in a statement. "As a brand, Bratz encourages young girls to follow their dreams and express themselves. This authentic and organic philosophy has always been an important part of my life and my work, and I will always continue to nurture new talent while keeping their dreams alive.
"As far as I'm concerned," the 44-year-old Abdul continued, "it's a message that can't be repeated enough."
For those unfamiliar with the sassy 10-inch dolls, Bratz came on the scene in mid-2001 as modern-day Barbies with an urban flavor and Christina Aguilera-like bodies. Characterized by oversize heads and exaggerated eyes and lips, the Bratz began as four original characters but have since made dozens of friends — all available at your local toy store, natch. In the years since, Bratz have given birth to Bratz Boyz, Lil' Bratz, Bratz Babyz and Bratz Petz, as well as cartoons, DVDs, video games, clothing and footwear.
Lionsgate is now putting together "Bratz: The Movie," which will be directed by McNamara and produced by superhero filmmaker Arad. The live-action film is scheduled to begin shooting next month, and will follow the original four teen girls — princess-like Yasmin, dark-haired Sasha, blond Cloe and Asian character Jade — from socially and economically diverse backgrounds as they try to realize their dreams. According to the studio, the characters will encounter the kind of cliques typically found in high schools, but then realize that "by becoming Bratz, their lives will be more fulfilling."
"American Idol" judge Abdul will be appearing on film for the first time since unbilled work as a backup dancer in the 1987 Patrick Dempsey classic "Can't Buy Me Love." Adbul, who began her career as a Los Angeles Laker Girl and choreographer for the likes of Janet Jackson and Prince, also spent years choreographing scenes in films like "American Beauty" and "Jerry Maguire" after her pop-music career fizzled out. The exact nature of her character in the film is unknown.
Over the next few months, Abdul will be assisting in the selection of the four young actresses who'll portray the Bratz, as well as helping dress them and decide what music they'll be listening to. Clay Aiken, we can only assume, is preparing his demo tape.
"We are overjoyed that Paula Abdul is bringing her tremendous talent to the creative team of 'Bratz: The Movie,' " the film's producers said in a statement. "Paula's expertise in music, dance and fashion will be invaluable in creating the Bratz universe onscreen."
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