Tag Archives: Bridgit Mendler

‘Lemonade Mouth’ — Next Generation of Disney Channel Stars?

Adam Hicks, Blake Michael, Bridgit Mendler, Naomi Scott, Hayley Kiyoko Disney Channel photo

Will tonight’s Disney Channel Original Movie, “Lemonade Mouth” establish the next generation of Disney Channel stars?  That is the hope of producer Debra Martin Chase, and you’d better believe, it’s the network’s hope as well — especially now that the stars of the “High School Musical” franchise, “Camp Rock” and “Hannah Montana” have all grown up and moved on.

If Chase’s track record with fresh talent is any indication, the new gang will be well worth following.  Her “Princess Diaries” movies gave us Anne Hathaway and Chris Pine.  “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” introduced Blake Lively and gave America Ferrera a teen following.  Lucy Hale,   so hot in “Pretty Little Liars,” got an early career boost in “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2,” as did “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Jesse Williams.

What does Chase hunt for?  “I hate to sound like a cliche, but you really do look for that ‘It’ — that very special quality that makes someone stand out.  Sometimes I call it, people have light in their eyes, something that shines from within, coupled with intelligence,” she says. “They need to be attractive, but an interesting attractiveness.  They need to have some soul and depth to them, you know?  That’s how it happens, they just come in and you say, ‘Okay. that person is special.'”

As Chase points out, both Bridgit Mendler (“Good Luck Charlie”) and Adam Hicks (“Zeke and Luther”) are already Disney Channel stars.  Other members of the title high school band of “Lemonade Mouth” are starting to take off as well.  Hayley Kiyoko has opened for Justin Bieber.  And, “Subsequent to the filming of our movie, Naomi Scott was cast by Steven Spielberg as one of the leads in his new Fox series, ‘Terra Nova,'” points out Chase.  “She has already shot the pilot in Australia.”

Heartthrob-to-be Blake Michael “is really the Cinderfella of this whole thing.  He sent in a self-made tape with his mother reading lines with him in Atlanta.  The tape just popped.  We knew we had to have him,” Chase recalls.

Casting was a three-month process that made good use of new technology.  Rather than going city to city looking at candidates for the roles, Chase and her team viewed video posted to their website.  British actress Scott “auditioned via Skype.  That’s the first time we’ve done that.”

As for whether there will be a “Lemonade Mouth 2” — Mark Peter Hughes, who wrote the popular novel, is writing a sequel now — Chase smiles.  “It all depends on how we do Friday night.”

TRAFFIC ADVISORY:  L.A residents who want to catch a glimpse of a classic style pop superstar mob scene can drive over to Sunset Blvd.’s BookSoup book store in West Hollywood tomorrow (4/15) around three p.m..  (Others, take note and avoid.)  Janet Jackson will be there to sign a few hundred copies of her No. 1 best-selling book, “True You,” and it doesn’t take much imagination to predict what the scene will be like.  Miss Janet will have to tear herself away to perform at Universal City’s Gibson Amphitheatre in the evening.  All three of her concerts there sold out in ten minutes.

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW:  Tim Allen’s pilot is sounding like a better and better prospect now that Nancy Travis is aboard as Tim’s wife, and Hector Elizando’s in the mix, playing Tim’s boss at a demolition company — at least for awhile.  (The character steps down, moving Tim’s character up.)  Elizondo automatically confers quality upon anything in which he appears, as his buddy Garry Marshall would be first to agree.  Garry insists on using Hector in all his movies as his good luck charm.

Sounds like HBO’s planned television treatment of Femme Fatale magazine will be sexy stuff.  The producers (who have “NCIS” and “Castle” in their collective credits) put out a casing call for a “hot ethnic woman in her twenties, a hot ethnic woman in her thirties, a hot caucasian woman in her twenties” and four good-looking guys in their twenties and thirties.  Nudity required for everybody.

With All the Goodies of Celebrity Rehab, No Wonder Jesse and Others Want In

Jesse James

What serves as both a shield and a publicity-generating mechanism, deflects responsibility, dodges legal trouble, garners oodles of public sympathy and career comeback opportunities, and can be exploited in an unlimited, multi-platform way?

Celebrity rehab, of course!

No wonder so many are rushing to check into their favorite $24,000-75,000-a-month rehab center.

Is anyone surprised that, now that his multiple mistresses have been exposed, Jesse James has gone the sex rehab route at a facility in Arizona, trying to save his marriage to Sandra Bullock?  After all, rehab was First Stop on the Image Rebuilding Train for Tiger Woods.

Or that Charlie Sheen is already back working on a closed “Two and a Half Men” set after his three-week “preventative” rehab stint?  Being rehabilitated for something you have not done makes sense in the land of legalese, as in morals clauses in one’s contract, we guess.  Let’s hope it’s not the modern answer to the Middle Ages’ selling of indulgences in advance of the commission of sins.

Don’t get us wrong – it’s great that famous personalities like Maureen McCormick, Ben Affleck and Robert Downey, Jr., have beaten down their addiction demons with the help of rehab, and we applaud the good work that goes on at plush and not-so-plus centers alike.  But you know things have gotten out of hand when you read treatment facility websites that boast of “lush grounds, tennis court, swimming pools, and hot tubs, with great outdoor activities located just across from Malibu beach” (Passages Malibu) or  “a luxurious mountain retreat…Stunning views from each room help residents connect with their higher power” (Cirque Lodge) .

Dr. Drew Pinsky – who shows up for every celebrity rehab just as attorney Gloria Allred shows up for every wronged female celebrity legal case – is up to three celebrity rehab reality shows.  There also A&E and TLC reality shows about addicts.

Addiction as entertainment, whod’a thunk it?  We’re in a media landscape where Paddy Chayefsky’s darkly satirical lines in “Network” about an executions show becoming a huge ratings-getter don’t seem out of the realm of possibility any more.

Rory Albanese Comedy Central photo

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW:  Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” has been surprising some of its audience of late, tweaking the Obama administration and various other Democrats – which means it’s time to take a fresh look at “The Daily Show” for what it is, to hear the show’s Rory Albanese tell it.

“I think people thought we were just this left-wing group that were going after the Bush administration, but in reality we’re the wise-asses in the back of the classroom making fun of the people in charge.  At first the audience was like, ‘What are you doing?’ but Obama was screwing up a lot so it was fun to change the tone of the show.   None of us really have political allegiances,” he adds.  “We’re just thinking about how we can make things funny.”

Albanese makes things funny in his own his first Comedy Central special, airing tonight (4/2).  He tells us performing in front of his boss proved to be quite nerve-wracking.  “I was extra nervous because a lot of family and friends were there as well as a lot of co-workers. With Jon Stewart standing in the back you don’t want to bomb,” notes Albanese.

He says Stewart couldn’t have been more supportive.  “Before the show, he came by the green room to give me a pep talk. He gets comedy on every level – as a writer, as a producer, and as a performer – so to have him in my corner is unbelievable.  I work hard on his show and I work hard in standup so I never want to let him down in either.”

Leigh-Allyn Baker

OH, BABY:  The Disney Channel’s “Good Luck Charlie” launches Sunday (4/4).  Touted as more of a traditional family sitcom than a show geared towards kids alone, it has a trio of older siblings – teen stars Jason Dolley and Bridgit Mendler, and Bradley Steven Perry — taking care of their baby sister while their parents are both at work.   Series mom Leigh-Allyn Baker admits, “When I entered into this I was very cautious, wondering about working on a show with kids.  I could never have guessed how much fun it would turn out to be.  I love their energy, and it’s just like a giggle fest 24/7.’

Baker’s the mother of a baby in real life as well as on the show, and she says that when she brings son Griffin to work, her young cast mates help her with him.  “He loves them all.  I was glad I could take him,” she says.  “He was starting to be a shy baby who’d cry when people said ‘Hi’ to him.”  His teenage buddies have changed that.

Little Mia Talerico, who portrays the show’s 9-month-old title baby, “Charlie,” has met Griffin as well.  “We all joke that theirs will be the true love story from our show, this little match,” says Baker.

CASTING CORNER:  Speaking of babies, casting forces are seeing candidates for the role of the baby in “The Astral” with Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson – six-month-olds to younger-looking two-year-olds.  But stage parents, be forewarned: it’s from the creators of “Paranormal Activity” and “Saw.”

And actresses are being considered for one of the more “high concept” pilots on the boards this season is NBC’s “In My Shoes,” a body switcheroo spotlighting a short-tempered high school teacher who – thanks to the work of two guardian angels — finds herself in the form of a poor single mother.  Sounds like a variation on “Drop Dead Diva.”

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster