Jem And The Holograms has booked its male lead. Step Up Revolution and Pretty Little Liars star Ryan Guzman will play Rio Pacheco, The Holograms’ road manager, technical engineer, and Jem’s love interest in the upcoming live-action film. The casting doesn’t come as a huge surprise, considering the movie’s director, Jon M. Chu, has long been involved with the Step Up series, directing Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D, and executive producing Step Up Revolution. Guzman is also set to appear in the upcoming The Boy Next Door, which is being produced by Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions, one of the companies behind Jem.
It’s this kind of corporate synergy that;s causing fans to wonder whether the Jem adaptation will be pure fan service, or a grossly contrived launching pad for teen stars. While it certainly appears like the latter thus far—with the lead roles drawn almost entirely from Disney Channel and ABC Family shows, and the Scooter Braun-helmed production saying the story’s been rejiggered “for a whole new generation with themes of being true to who you are in a multitasking, hyperlinked social media age”—considering the movie hasn’t even started filming yet, maybe it’s too early to be entirely pessimistic. Or maybe not.