Kiely Williams and Adrienne Bailon are probably finding their acting debut easier than most singers-turned-film-stars given the similarities between the Cheetah Girls, the fictional quartet portrayed in the upcoming TV movie by the same name, and their true life pop group, 3LW.
Williams, Bailon, actress Raven (a.k.a. Raven-Symone of "The Cosby Show" fame) and Sabrina Bryan ("The Bold and the Beautiful") take on the roles of Aqua, Chanel, Galleria and Dorinda, better known as the Cheetah Girls in the film based on a book series, currently filming in Toronto (see "3LW Holiday Album Due; Members Land Film Roles"). Like 3LW, the Cheetah girls are composed of ethnically diverse teenagers from New York City who dream of music-industry stardom and are managed by Galleria's mother, Dorothea, played by Lynn Whitfield. In the real world, Kiely's sister/legal guardian, Michelle Williams, manages the group.
The plot of "The Cheetah Girls," inspired by author Deborah Gregory's three-year-old book series, focuses on the girls' attempts to maintain their positive attitudes and retain their morals in the face of adversity. Perhaps not even the possibility of one member leaving the group, as Naturi Naughton did rather messily with 3LW in August (see "Ex-3LW Member Says Group Wanted To Pimp Her Out"), could shake their credo, which says, among other things, that the girls are created equal but come in different sizes, shapes and colors, and they don't judge others by the color of their spots.
If Naughton is to be believed, perhaps her groupmates could have benefited from a similar credo since she claimed she was unfairly treated in 3LW for having the darkest skin of the trio.
Adding to the film's flavor is a touch of spice ... Spice Girls, that is. Where Sporty, Posh, Sexy, Scary and Baby once relied on "girl power" for inspiration, the Cheetahs look toward something called "growl power."
"The Cheetah Girls" will also feature original music performed by the members of 3LW and their fictitious groupmates.
Executive produced by Whitney Houston and Debra Martin Chase ("The Princess Diaries"),"The Cheetah Girls" is set for broadcast on the Disney Channel next year, according to a channel spokesperson.
Williams and Bailon's real group, meanwhile, released its second album, A Girl Can Mack, last week and filmed a video for its second single, "Neva Get Enuf," without Naughton earlier this month (see "Remaining 3LW Pair Too Busy To Hold Auditions For New Member"). They also claimed to have recorded more than an album's worth of new songs as a duo.