HOLLYWOOD — Since its unveiling at the Video Music Awards on Sunday night, the video for the title track from the September 25 movie "Fame" has been rocketing all over the Web, giving its young stars exactly what the title promises.
A re-envisioning of the '80s classic about performing-arts students struggling to make a name for themselves, the video is currently flying high — and MTV was the only outlet allowed on set the day the cast shot the clip.
"Basically, this is a modernization; it's a reinvention of the original," said Collins Pennie, who wrote the rap he delivers in the middle of the song, when we spoke with him on the Paramount back lot dressed to look like an NYC street. "It's modern and fresh and fun for today."
"This is one of those songs you can definitely have at a club and just jam to," agreed Walter Perez, another actor from the film who appears in the video.
As with so many re-imaginings and adaptations these days ("Transformers," "90210," "G.I. Joe"), the "Fame" title track takes the essence of what made the original a hit, beefs it up with a modern-day spin, and appeals to multiple generations who remember ... remember ... remember the "Fame" name.
"It was a really big challenge, because I loved the first film so much; I grew up on it," said Kevin Tancharoen, the director overseeing the new franchise. "I loved the television show too. The one thing I loved about it is was how honest it was and how authentic the stories were. ... The genre is so popular right now. There's people who love 'Dancing With the Stars' and 'So You Think You Can Dance' and even the 'Step Up' movies. I felt this was a great time to have good storytelling with good performance numbers and to showcase different styles of dancing — whether it be jazz, hip-hop, ballet, tap, African even."
"I can't believe I'm shooting a music video right now in the middle of a studio; it's insane," grinned Naturi Naughton, looking around as the "street" was hosed down between takes, dancers positioned themselves on top of stopped taxi cabs for the next shot and extras were strategically placed on fire escapes in the background. "This music video is going to be off-the-hook. It's paying homage to the original 'Fame,' which was in the '80s. There are a bunch of cabs and all of us dancing out in the middle of the street in New York City, dancing and acting crazy and having a good time. I think the music video is going to be a lot of fun, because we all get a chance to showcase our talents. And it's a little bit more dolled-up than the movie, so I get to wear fabulous, cute clothes! It's fun to get made-up, and I love shooting videos."
"We're tipping our hats to the old 'Fame,' " said "So You Think You Can Dance" alum Kherington Payne, who makes her acting debut in the film. "We're dancing in the street, wearing bright '80s colors."
"I love dancing. This is where I live, people," Naughton said moments before filming her solo. "I love to dance, have a good time and sing to the camera. This is all fun for me. This is what I have been doing — and wanting to do — since I was a little girl singing in front of my parents, having talent shows at my house. It's something I've always been hoping for."
Check out everything we've got on "Fame."
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