If you can't get enough of V Factory's Asher Book, you'll have the chance to stare at him during an entire feature film when he stars as Marco in Fame! While you won't be seeing the same characters as its 1980 original, the reprisal does follow the ups and downs of a group of talented performing arts students at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts, known today as Fiorello H. Laguardia H.S.
Here we chat with Asher about his character Marco, how he related to him throughout filming and how he approached his cover John Legend's 'Ordinary People' for the movie. Read our exclusive interview below! Fame hits theaters on September 25.
JSYK: Can you tell us more about your character Marco?
Asher Book: Marco is the aspiring singer of the film. He kind of grows up singing in a family restaurant and basically ends up meeting his main love interest in the movie, Kay Panabaker, who I play opposite, and you see the chase that I go after and the ups and downs our relationship goes through. It's more based on upon our relationship and me being a singer than it is anything else.
JSYK: How does the new Fame differ from the 1980 original?
Asher: There are similarities, yet a lot of differences. The good thing is, it's not a remake so we're not trying to do the same characters. I think it's a new age, so you're going to see fresh new music -- I think the music is breathtaking -- and with the dance, you're going to see a lot of new, edgier dance moves. I think the storyline is still a little bit there, but there's a lot of differences. I think kids are going to like this movie a lot.
JSYK: Were you nervous to re-record John Legend's Grammy-winning song 'Ordinary People'?
Asher: It's funny, I have my own version about it, but I think with my character, I was never trying to copy, or did what he did, or make it that much better. I think I was just doing what Marco would do. The way Marco sings, he doesn't do great big flourishes and ad libs, he just sings straight from the heart. He's got a very pure-sounding tone to him. So when I sang it, I was a little nervous, but I wasn't trying to up John Legend!
JSYK: How did being in V Factory prepare you for your role in Fame?
Asher: I guess it mades me ready vocal-wise, because with the group I'm constantly singing. I'm the lead singer in the group and I think the record label and all the guys love the fact I would be singing in this movie, so more or less the singing was correlated between the two.
JSYK: Do you find any similarities between you and your character Marco?
Asher: Absolutely. I went to the Fame school when I was in middle school, we both grew up singing since we were little and we both come from a good family. Even personality-wise, he's always got a smile on his face, he's kind of happy go lucky and his comedic timing is very similar to mine. I mean, there were a lot of things about him that I was able to relate to for sure.
JSYK: Which do you prefer the most -- acting, singing or dancing?
Asher: They're all passions of mine. I don't think I could really narrow it down to one thing. I think all of them are so much a part of my life that I don't want to pick one yet. Maybe it will become more prevalent later on but for now, I'm trying to do them all.
JSYK: Why do you think teens will identify with this movie?
Asher: I think what's good about our movie is that it's different from High School Musical in a sense that it's not [just] kids walking down the hall, singing -- it's not an instant thing. I think what our movie really capitalizes on is the work ethic that's involved and what kids actually have to go through to be in the performing arts and to be in this business. It shows the fact that you might get turned down and you might not do well in an audition, but it gives you hope to do better and gives you the outcome of what we all go through. We all just strive to do better and work hard, so I think there's definitely more of what artists really truly go through. I think it will inspire kids to be like, "Oh my gosh, I can do the same thing!"