MTV developing "Mall" musical

Fri Dec 21, 2007 8:27am EST
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By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - MTV is looking to make some noise in the original musical arena with "The American Mall."

The project, from "High School Musical" producers Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush, will premiere next year on the cable network, followed immediately by a release on DVD.

Bulgarian-born actress Nina Dobrev and Rob Mayes lead the ensemble cast of the musical, a romantic comedy-drama set at a mall that centers on high school graduate Ally (Dobrev), a singer-songwriter battling to save her mother's music store and to keep the boy she loves, Joey (Mayes), a musically gifted young janitor who fronts a garage band.

Autumn Reeser will play Ally's mean-girl adversary Madison, the spoiled and ruthless heiress to the owners of the mall who tries to shut down the music store and steal Ally's boy.

Shooting will begin in late January at a mall in Provo, Utah.

Borden and Rosenbush said they came up with the idea for "Mall" before "High School Musical," and originally developed it as a feature for Columbia Pictures. But at the time, movie studios didn't have much interest in original musicals, Borden said. That all changed after "High School" exploded.

There were a number of suitors for "Mall," but "MTV beat them to the punch," Borden said.

"For us it's a great project because we get to explore a different type of music -- it is still pop but skews older -- and we get to deal with different issues," he said.   Continued...

<p>The MTV logo can be seen on a sign in front of the MTV studios in Times Square in New York, December 12, 2007. - MTV is looking to make some noise in the original musical arena with "The American Mall." REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>