The movie poster says to "Get ready, get glam and get real," and if that's your cup of tea, well, the Bratz are finally here to make it happen. Sometimes known as the other toy line to get its own summer 2007 flick ("Transformers," anyone?), the Bratz might not be transforming, but best friends Sasha, Yasmin, Jade and Cloe are fighting a similarly vital battle — this one against high school cliques.
"[High school] is about diversity, discrimination, being different and being isolated," super-producer Avi Arad explained of the themes behind the Paula Abdul-free "Bratz: The Movie" (see " 'Bratz' Stars, Viral Video Tell Very Different Stories Of Paula Abdul's Absence From Film"). "But if you find the right group and get together, you're in better shape."
Arad, the man behind the "Spider-Man" and "Fantastic Four" franchises, raised eyebrows in Hollywood when he switched gears from his comic book safety zone to produce the tween-empowerment movie inspired by the freakish dolls with enormous heads. In explaining the move, he insisted that Bratz are "X-Men for girls" — it's just that their superpowers are singing, fashion, soccer and cheerleading.
"We definitely feel like superheroes in this movie," agreed Janel Parrish, who plays Jade. "We fight peer pressure, so I guess we are superheroes."
Created in 2001, the line of dolls was seen as a breath of fresh air compared to the outdated, unrealistic fashion icon known as Barbie. In contrast to that doll's slim hips and ample assets, the Bratz dolls have always been characterized by oversize heads with wide eyes, full lips and shorter bodies.
"We got to meet with the creator of the dolls," Parrish recalled. "And we were told that the reason the head is so big and the body is so small is to show that you don't have to be perfect to be beautiful. We love that message."
Added Nathalia Ramos, who plays the trendsetting Yasmin, "I'm amazed at how many people have [the dolls]. They're huge!"
"There is a Bratz doll that every girl can relate to," Parrish chimed in. "They are all so different."
Unlike with many movie roles, being told that you look like the lead characters isn't necessarily flattering. "I actually heard about it six years ago, when [the dolls] first came out — this little girl I knew said to me, 'You look like a Bratz doll,' " laughed Skyler Shaye, who plays blond soccer enthusiast Cloe. "I don't know if it's a compliment that she said I looked like one."
But even if the girls were being mistaken for balloon-headed hotties, they didn't mind when it came to shooting scenes like the movie's big showdown. Living out every high school student's dream, the quartet was set loose amid thousands of dollars' worth of spaghetti, dinner rolls and banana cream pies, all in the name of a massive cafeteria food fight.
"To have adults encouraging us, saying, 'Throw it harder! Get her in the back!' — that was awesome," Ramos said. "We just had the best time."
"It was so cool that when [director Sean McNamara] called 'cut,' there was still food flying everywhere," Shaye added. "I got a hamburger bun thrown at the side of my head. We all had to wash our hair that night with dishwasher soap."
There might be more flying buns headed their way. According to Arad and the actresses, a "Bratz" sequel is already under way. Since all four girls are still in the dark about the plot, however, they were eager to offer Arad some ideas of their own.
"I want the Bratz to travel, to go somewhere exotic, somewhere fun," Ramos said. "We should bring the Bratz to Miami, bring in a little Latin flavor and all go to South Beach [Florida]. That would be awesome!"
Logan Browning, who plays the film's sassy Sasha, has a spicier idea.
"In the movie, Yasmin, Cloe and Jade all have love interests, but Sasha doesn't," Browning said. "So I was telling the writers and Avi that Sasha should have someone foreign, tall, dark and handsome, someone who speaks a little English with an accent, something like that."
And her idea of the perfect dream man? "Johnny Depp, if he wanted to be a part of it," she grinned. Then, realizing that she's talking about the sequel to a comedy based on a toy line, she got a bit more realistic. "Yeah, I guess [he probably wouldn't do 'Bratz 2']," she laughed. "Maybe that's wishful thinking."
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