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'Jem' creator sounds off about being shut out of film adaptation

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This post has been updated. See below for details.

Last week, news that a live-action film version of "Jem and the Holograms" was in the works sent fans of the cartoon series and Hasbro’s line of dolls into an online frenzy.

But one person not so excited about the reboot? The creator and head writer of the original series.

Christy Marx, creator of the “Jem” series, said that she was not only shut out of the reboot but also learned about the film’s development a few days before its YouTube announcement.

The writer and video game designer took to Facebook to issue a lengthy statement after the announcement was made.

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“Many people wonder how I feel about it. I don’t think I can hide that I’m deeply unhappy about being shut out of the project,” Marx wrote. “That no one in the entertainment arm of Hasbro wanted to talk to me, have me write for it, or at the very least consult on it. I wouldn’t be human if that failed to bother me.”

Marx said that someone “high in the Hasbro PR department” contacted her about the film and its impending reveal so that she “wouldn’t be blindsided by it.”

The syndicated '80s cartoon series is set to come to the big screen courtesy of a high-powered team. Jason Blum (“Paranormal Activity,” “Insidious”), Jon M. Chu (“G.I. Joe,” “Step Up 2: The Streets”) and Scooter Braun, the brains behind Justin Bieber, have teamed up to bring a “modern day, live action reinvention” of the series to theaters.

The trio is planning to crowdsource a chunk of the creative process. In the YouTube video announcing the reboot, they called on fans of the series to help them make the movie, “from writing music to designing costumes to even casting,” Chu said.

“Whatever it is, we want you to be part of our creative team. Sort of like Kickstarter -- but rather than asking for money, we’re asking for your creativity.”

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The YouTube announcement asked fans to upload photos, video and messages of what they love about Jem on Tumblr. They can also audition for roles.

Marx also wrote that she has had a conversation with Chu -- he will direct the film -- and said that she believes “he is sincere, passionate, and filled with a desire to make the best Jem movie he can make.”

In her statement, she also pointed out that the reality of franchise intellectual property is that “they can do whatever they want with it.”

“My other unhappy observation is that I see two male producers, a male director and a male writer. Where is the female voice? Where is the female perspective? Where are the women?,” she asked about the film, which Chu, Blum and Braun will produce alongside Hasbro.

The 1980s animated series ran from 1985 to 1988. The cartoon followed Jerrica Benton and her pink-haired alter ego Jem, the frontwoman of glam rock band the Holograms.  

Producers said the re-imagining will center on an orphaned teenage girl who becomes an online recording sensation and embarks on a music-driven scavenger hunt with her sisters across L.A. in an attempt to unlock a final message left by her father.

Updated, Mon., 4:45 p.m.: An earlier version of this post indicated Hasbro's line of Jem dolls pre-dated the start of the series.

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gerrick.kennedy@latimes.com

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