Pretty Little Liars Star Ryan Guzman Cast as Rio in Jem Movie

Jem The Movie has found its Rio Pacheco! Pretty Little Liars star Ryan Guzman has joined the upcoming Jem and the Holograms movie as the live-action version of the purple-haired hunk.

For everyone who didn't grow up in the 80's, Rio was the love interest for both music mogul/philanthropist Jerrica Benton and her rock star alter-ego Jem. In the original animated soap opera, Rio also served as a stage manager for pop sensation Jem and the Holograms. 

The film version will update the story and see a modern day teen become a singing celeb after her YouTube persona, Jem, blows up online. Perhaps musical skills will come into play for this incarnation of Rio, since he’s now played by a star from the Step Up film series. 

On the other hand, if the film keeps Rio unchanged, Guzman will look great with purple hair. The hunky rising star seems like a terrific casting coup!
 As previously announced, Aubrey Peeples of Nashville fame will play the dual role of Jem/Jerrica. Her Hologram band mates will be played by Stefanie Scott (Kimber), Aurora Perrineau (Shana) and Hayley Kiyoko (Aja).

Photo credit: ABC Family

13 Responses

  1. Profile photo of soapbaby

    80’s baby here and a HUGE fan of Jem & The Holograms. I cannot express my extreme disappointment with the casting for the film. I’ve never watched Pretty Little Liars but any cute boy could play Rio. The other cast members seem completely miscast and I take issue with the casting of Aurora Perrineau as Shana. Nothing against the actress who may very well be talented (never seen her before) but her being cast as Shana smacks of racism. Shana was important for children seeing a representation of a positive, fun, dark-skinned African-American woman. Why not cast a darker-skinned girl in the role?

    Same problem with Zoe Saldana being cast in the Star Trek reboot as Lieutenant Nyoko Uhura, originally played by dark-skinned Nichelle Nichols. Uhura as played by Nichols inspired black girls world-wide, notably, Whoopi Goldberg and astronaut Mae Jemison.

    Ugh. Why must Hollywood’s greed mean the destruction of my childhood with unnecessary remakes?

  2. Profile photo of angrierblackerman

    The casting is the least of the film’s problems. I too was disappointed that they couldn’t hire a brown skinned Black actress to play Shana, and an actual Chinese actress to play Aja. The producers made it seem like they were doing a massive casting call by having girls submit videos of themselves for the roles, and then turns around and hires all Disney Channel starlets. I have nothing against them, they just want to work I am sure.

    But I am more incensed that the movie will scrap the entire premise of the classic cartoon!

    If you are a fan of the 80’s cartoon, you will be disappointed to know that the movie doesn’t feature the storyline of the original.

    -NO SYNERGY (!)
    -NO MAGIC EARRINGS (Blasphemy!)

    Any joy I had at this film is dead in the water. I won’t be supporting this mess, then again, I am not the target audience, so it doesn’t matter.

  3. Profile photo of soapbaby

    @ angrierblackerman: Thank you for the link to the article. I only knew the casting news and had no idea of the complete bastardization of Jem & The Holograms. Wow. Just wow. I’ll dump this into the remakes of Transformers and G.I. Joes(the reboots bear no resemblance to the 80s cartoons.)

  4. Profile photo of angrierblackerman

    @soapbaby you are quite welcome. I am a huge fan of Jem/Inhumanoids and was appalled at what they did to this property.

    The director of GI Joe is actually directing this “Jem” film. That is the first mistake! I’m so glad John Chu dropped out of the He-Man movie talks. That is the next classic 80’s cartoon to be considered for movie treatment.

  5. Profile photo of Scooter Smith
    Scooter Smith

    Can someone please explain to an average hetero white guy from Michigan why it matters whether a woman has coffee colored skin, mocha colored skin, or latte colored skin to play a black character? What does it matter? At least they didn’t make them all white, or make it a mockery/parody like the Brady Bunch Movies. They are simply modernizing it to try and reintroduce Jem to a new generation.

    I grew up watching Jem too. I didn’t make it appointment TV, because my mom thought it was weird for me to watch a show about basically “Barbie the Rockstar” in her mind. But I liked the show, and remember it. And the description of the movie’s synopsis that people are bitching about, sounds like an expanded version of the pilot.

    Maybe I am just too optimistic a person to bitch about little things or assume a movie is going to suck because it is not a perfect remake and they don’t cast the same people I would.

  6. Profile photo of soapbaby

    @ Scooter Smith: Is your mother posting, because I haven’t read any “bitching” in this thread. I have posted and read critique with clearly stated rationale.

    Please take a stadium of seats.

  7. Profile photo of K8LVR

    Oh wow. I can deal with the casting choices and even the possibility of no Misfits if the story was right – but to have no Synergy and no star earrings is truly outrageously absurd! I was really excited about this movie too. -_-

  8. Profile photo of blake3b

    I grew up watching Jem and The Holograms and am a big fan of it. I’m getting less and less excited about the movie the more I hear about it.

    Now I see a post saying that the movie will not include Synergy, the earrings, and possibly the Misfits???? Is Jerrica not going to transform into Jem, just change outfits like Miley Cyrus? zzzzz.

    RuPaul would have been great cast as Synergy.

    And how can the movie not have The Misfits??? How is it going to be Jem without their nemesis’?

  9. Profile photo of logan_echolls

    You wouldn’t understand how important it is for a young dark skinned Black girl to see herself represented on television. In the 80’s, there was rarely any dark skinned woman on television or in the movies except Whoopi Goldberg. So for me as a young dark skinned 5/6 year old, it was wonderful to see a dark skinned female in my cartoons since I didn’t see them anywhere else.

    When you don’t see yourself being represented in the media, you start to believe you are not as beautiful as the white or light skinned Black girls. This is something you would NEVER understand therefore you shouldn’t say people are bitching about something you can’t even comprehend.

    It’s just like gays people complaining about how every gay person in the media is very feminine. They would like the media to portray other types of gays because a lot of them are not feminine. None of my friends are. Growing up in a smaller city, my only knowledge of gays was from the media so I was shocked when I moved to Dallas and met very muscular, manly gay men.

    To get back to Jem and the Holograms, I wasn’t surprised by the casting. Look at what they did to Jossie and the Pussycats! Rosario Dawson played the dark skinned Black girl from the cartoon. Also, why are they even remaking this? This new generation cares NOTHING about Jem and the Holograms just like the other generation cared NOTHING about Jossie and the Pussycats.

    **Let me just add. Representation in the media is VERY important because it can help how a person perceive themselves. For example there was a Different World episode about Kimberly, your mama jokes and her dark skinned tone. That episode aired over 20 years ago and yet I can still remember it as clear as day even though I was like 11. That episode helped me so much. So that’s why people “bitch” about the fact they changed the skinned tone”. It is important.***

  10. Profile photo of Angie Lucy
    Angie Lucy

    Well said, Logan. I’m a light-skinned Black woman, and still I was taken aback when I saw the casting for Shana. She’s always been brown. My first thought was: “Wow. Do they really think we are so interchangeable?”

  11. Profile photo of rabbit on the moon
    rabbit on the moon

    I already decided I wouldn’t support this movie. So I could care less who they cast.

    [quote=logan_echolls]I wasn’t surprised by the casting. Look at what they did to Jossie and the Pussycats! Rosario Dawson played the dark skinned Black girl from the cartoon.[/quote]

    I’m ashamed to admit I actually liked that movie. Sure, it was a horrible Josie adaptation. But I thought it was good in its own right. I get what you’re saying about Valerie though. I would’ve loved to see someone like N’Dea Davenport chosen for that role instead.

  12. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    That blog post speculating Synergy and the starlight earrings wouldn’t be present was just that speculation. They linked The Hollywood Reporter story, and didn’t say anything about sources about the other stuff.

    All they did is react to a brief movie synopsis and images.

  13. Profile photo of Scooter Smith
    Scooter Smith

    So, help me understand something I have never understood. Groups like NAACP and ACLU want to make sure that we do not treat people of any race, skin color, disability, or orientation any differently. But at the same time they demand that we treat these people differently by hiring them to do a job even if someone else is better for the position, or admitting them into colleges even if there are other people that have better grades and extracurriculars.

    So Aurora Perrineau is light skinned, but if she acts better than the other 200(or however many tried out) actresses who auditioned, some of which were dark skinned, wouldn’t choosing someone else because she is darker skinned be racist? How do you justify doing something like this, but saying that we shouldn’t treat people differently?

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