LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - MTV is looking to make
some noise in the original musical arena with "The American
The project, from "High School Musical" producers Bill
Borden and Barry Rosenbush, will premiere next year on the
cable network, followed immediately by a release on DVD.
Bulgarian-born actress Nina Dobrev and Rob Mayes lead the
ensemble cast of the musical, a romantic comedy-drama set at a
mall that centers on high school graduate Ally (Dobrev), a
singer-songwriter battling to save her mother's music store and
to keep the boy she loves, Joey (Mayes), a musically gifted
young janitor who fronts a garage band.
Autumn Reeser will play Ally's mean-girl adversary Madison,
the spoiled and ruthless heiress to the owners of the mall who
tries to shut down the music store and steal Ally's boy.
Shooting will begin in late January at a mall in Provo,
Borden and Rosenbush said they came up with the idea for
"Mall" before "High School Musical," and originally developed
it as a feature for Columbia Pictures. But at the time, movie
studios didn't have much interest in original musicals, Borden
said. That all changed after "High School" exploded.
There were a number of suitors for "Mall," but "MTV beat
them to the punch," Borden said.
"For us it's a great project because we get to explore a
different type of music -- it is still pop but skews older --
and we get to deal with different issues," he said.
The film will be launched through the business model
employed for such MTV projects as "Super Sweet 16: The Movie"
and "All You've Got," which premiered on the cable network and
digital platforms, followed by a DVD release a few days later.
MTV, which has created a series of pop culture stars on the
reality side with such shows as "The Hills" and "A Shot at Love
With Tila Tequila," is hoping to also break new talent with
"Mall," which took four months to cast. MTV's previous original
musical, 2001's "Carmen: A Hip Hopera," marked the acting debut
of Destiny's Child singer Beyonce Knowles in the title role.