Written by Mike Cohen , The Jewish Tribune
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
MONTREAL In the first-ever Degrassi: The Next Generation movie some of the programs most popular personalities from the last decade end up in Hollywood chasing a dream to make it in show business. Paradise City: Degrassi Goes Hollywood is being pegged as an example of art imitating life, as many of the Degrassi stars of recent years have gone on to successful careers well beyond their Toronto set.
Jewish actor Aubrey Graham (Jimmy Brooks) has taken the music scene by storm as rapper Drake while Jake Epstein (Craig Manning) just graduated from the prestigious Montreal Theatre School and continues to tour North America as the lead in the Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening. Nina Dobrev (Mia Jones) will see her fame factor multiply this fall as the star of the new CTV/CW big buzz drama The Vampire Diaries; and Shenae Grimes (Darcy Edwards) begins her second season of 90210.
Epstein and Jewish actress Stacey Farber are front and centre in Paradise City and while they are unlikely to appear on the Degrassi: The Next Generation series, Farber believes the movie could be the beginning of another chapter.
The movie has already been shown in the US and attracted one million viewers, she told the Jewish Tribune while on a break from filming in Montreal. I am sure it will be very popular in Canada as well. And the way it ends, well lets just say I think there is something there for a sequel if the writers do see fit.
As for Epstein, who only did a few guest roles the past few seasons due to his commitment to school, hes not sure if the movie marks his swan song for Degrassi.
You just never know, he said. It would depend on the circumstance and availability. I love the folks at Degrassi and since it opened so many doors for me, I never want to totally close them.
In Paradise City, Manny (Cassie Steele) and the Degrassi gang including Mia (Nina Dobrev), Sav (Raymond Ablack), Danny (Dalmar Abuzeid) and Peter (Jamie Johnston) venture to LA on a cross-continent road trip with Mannys past love Jay (Mike Lobel) at the wheel. Everyone is hoping to score parts in Mewesical High, a big-budget movie musical directed by Jason Mewes, under the mentorship of Kevin Smith. But, its not all limo rides and personal assistants. The Hollywood experience leads to the rekindling of old flings, a lot of heartache and deep soul searching as the aspiring stars are reminded that the rise to the top isnt always smooth sailing.
Paradise City: Degrassi Goes Hollywood will air Sunday, Aug. 30 (8 p.m.) on CTV and again on Saturday, Sept. 5 (9 p.m. and Midnight) on MuchMusic. An encore will air on Sunday, Sept. 6 (4 p.m.) on MuchMusic.