And is there room for a Paul McCrane cameo?  The name may not be familiar, but you’ve seen him melt.

Since it’s been a direct influence on everything from Save the Last Dance to Step Up to Stomp the Yard, it’s kinda shocking that it’s taken twenty-eight years for MGM to greenlight a remake of Alan Parker’s Fame.  A gritty, very R-rated musical drama about a handful of artistically inclined kids enrolled in the New York City High School for the Performing Arts, Fame has endured thanks to its excellent, Michael Gore-composed soundtrack.  “Fame”, “Hot Lunch”, “Out Here On My Own” and “I Sing the Body Electric”… where would high school show choirs be without these songs?

And how will this newfangled Fame get by without them?  Oh, I’m sure someone will work a hip-hop inflected take on the title track (and probably “Body Electric”, which is ripe for rediscovery), but it’s hard to see these songs being as infectious as they were back in the day.  And let’s face it, without the songs, Alan Parker’s film is nothing more than a dramatically uneven drama with a lot of cursing and a smattering of tits.  Once you get rid of the f-bombs and the nudity, what are you left with?  Step Up, I guess.

MGM has tapped the twenty-three-year-old dancer-choreographer David Tancharoen to helm this inevitable update.  He’ll be working from a screenplay by Allison Burnett, who just completed a pretty decent 2007 with Resurrecting the Champ and Feast of Love (I’m not suggesting these were good films, but two produced screenplays in the same year kicks my ass up and down Sunset).  Fame ’09 will begin principal photography this Labor Day, though it’s unclear whether Tancharoen will get to shoot on location in New York City.  I always felt Parker exploited the depressed inner city in Fame, but it’s hard to imagine his movie working (such as it does) without the urban verisimilitude.