“Fame” is gonna live forever

Fame, the film that launched a thousand ill-conceived auditions for the drama club, is being remade for release in 2009. Production begins this week with Kevin Tancharoen (Search for the Next Pussycat Doll) set to direct.

Variety is reporting that the new (and improved?) cast includes Charles S. Dutton, Kelsey Grammer, Megan Mullally and Bebe Neuwirth.

Most importantly, the relentless dance teacher of the original Fame, Debbie Allen, will return and has been promoted to the role of principal.

No word on whether or not her cane will reprise its role as evidence of an unspoken threat a motivational tool.

The original was written and directed by Alan Parker (Evita, and the timeless classic, Bugsy Malone) in 1980 and followed the lives of a group of teenagers honing their creative urges at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts.

The kids were tortured artists archetypes: the insecure actress, Doris; the socially-awkward composing genius, Bruno; the neurotic stand-up comic, Raul; the gay guy, Montgomery; dance prodigy and problem-child, Leroy; and Coco, the triple-threat singer/actress/dancer who will become famous at any cost. Any.

Think High School Musical but with self-loathing, boom boxes and man-perms.

The film also featured an equally-tormented teaching staff who tried heroically to get the kids to learn the importance of discipline instead of just focusing on the fun part of performing, like when the school turns out into the street for a spontaneous song and dance number.

In the 2009 version, the teaching staff includes Mullally as a voice instructor; Grammer as a conductor, Dutton as an acting teacher; and Tony-winner Neuwirth, who will out-perform all of her students as the dance instructor.

I would like to nominate Wanda Sykes as the stand-up comedy teacher. Somebody needs take the piss out of all those drama queens!

Director Tancharoen gave Collider.com a lengthy interview about his vision for the film, and in it he promised, "The thing about this is that this is not Fame starring like a Zac Efron or Miley Cyrus or those kinds of characters — people who are already famous. I want to discover young talent in the same way Fame is discovering new talent, so all unknowns and we’re going to make stars of them in the movie."

(I’m a little disappointed by his comments, as I would pay at least matinee prices to see Efron and Cyrus in a "Don’t Cha" dance-off — to the death!)

Please tell me I was not the only overwrought drama club dork who breathlessly awaited each episode of the mid-80s television version of Fame.

Remember Janet Jackson as Cleo in season four?

Anybody? Bueller?