“Emily the Strange”:

The teen comic book cre­ation is in­vad­ing pop cul­ture in a big, multi-plat­form way.

Los Angeles Times - - Calendar - Noe­lene Clark noe­lene.clark@latimes.com

In ad­di­tion to the an­nounced Chloe Moretz film, the char­ac­ter will also come alive in mu­sic.

Ex­pect to see a whole lot more of that al­ready ubiq­ui­tous, raven-haired teen with the trade­mark bangs. Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures last week an­nounced that it had acquired the rights to Dark Horse Comics’ “Emily the Strange,” with Chloe Moretz set to play the 13-year-old girl with an en­tourage of dark kit­ties and a pen­chant for the pe­cu­liar.

But Emily will be brought to life on stage as well as on screen; Emily’s cre­ative man­agers at Cos­mic De­bris are team­ing up with Vir­gin Records to give the mu­si­clov­ing rebel child a voice of her own in a multi-plat­form mu­sic project that will likely in­clude an al­bum, on­line mu­sic videos and even live per­for­mances.

Emily, who came into the world as a skate­board de­sign be­fore evolv­ing into a comic book char­ac­ter, al­ready has her own Dark Horse se­ries, a slate of teen nov­els pub­lished by HarperCollins, a Nintendo DS game com­ing out this Christ­mas and an ar­ray of mer­chan­dise sold on­line and at the likes of Hot Topic.

“I feel more and more ev­ery day that this vi­sion of mine that’s been strictly two-di­men­sional and imag­i­nary in terms of prose and words is com­ing to life,” said Rob Reger, Emily’s cre­ator, who is par­tic­u­larly ex­cited about Moretz be­ing cast in the role.

“From the moment I met her, I could tell she’s very gen­uine,” Reger said of the ac­tress, whose lat­est film, “Let Me In,” opens in the­aters Fri­day. “Her en­thu­si­asm for Emily and the project was con­ta­gious. Her fam­ily and ev­ery­one around her were very en­thu­si­as­tic about it. From her films and from hang­ing out with her, it’s clear that she can play a very cool and sneaky char­ac­ter. She’s very ad­ven­tur­ous.”

Reger will serve as ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of the film, along­side Keith Gold­berg of Dark Horse En­ter­tain­ment. DHE Pres­i­dent and founder Mike Richardson will pro­duce.

At the moment, Reger has his hands full work­ing with Vir­gin Records on a sep­a­rate project that would give mu­sic-lov­ing Emily a mi­cro­phone. Emily makes her own in­stru­ments and blogs about what vinyl she’s lis­ten­ing to. Her comics fea­ture nods to mu­sic idols and in­ter­views with real-life artists such as Mar­i­lyn Man­son, Karen O and Ger­ard Way.

“Mu­sic in gen­eral has al­ways been a huge part of Emily’s world,” Reger said. “We were brain­storm­ing one day, and some­body said, ‘Why don’t we take her and ac­tu­ally do a record­ing with her be­ing the singer?’… This is the coolest next step, ac­tu­ally do­ing it rather than com­ment­ing on it or talk­ing about it.”

Reger and Vir­gin Records Pres­i­dent Rob Steven­son were tight-lipped about the specifics but said Emily’s mu­si­cal de­but will likely strad­dle sev­eral medi­ums: teasers on HearS­trange

Mu­sic.com, an al­bum ac­com­pa­nied by a comic book and, even­tu­ally, live per­for­mances.

Vir­gin has some ex­pe­ri­ence cou­pling fic­tional char­ac­ters with real mu­sic; the la­bel has en­joyed great suc­cess with the Go­ril­laz — a mu­sic project cre­ated by Da­mon Al­barn fea­tur­ing four an­i­mated band mem­bers.

And Emily is cer­tainly not the first mu­si­cally in­clined comic book char­ac­ter to be brought to life. Archie spinoffs Josie and the Pussy­cats hit the big screen and mu­sic store shelves in 2001. More re­cently, Sex BobOmb and The Clash at De­mon­head — bands from Bryan Lee O’Mal­ley’s “Scott Pil­grim” se­ries — made their big-screen de­buts this sum­mer.

But while the Scott Pil­grim bunch were voiced by suc­cess­ful artists (Beck and Met­ric) with dis­tinc­tive, rec­og­niz­able sounds, Emily’s voice won’t be tied to any par­tic­u­lar artist, Reger said.

“It can’t be some­body else’s. It has to be hers,” Steven­son said. “We’re not re­ally look­ing for some­one who’s al­ready es­tab­lished as an artist them­selves for that very rea­son. I per­son­ally would not want any­one lis­ten­ing to Emily the Strange and think­ing, ‘Oh, that’s Karen O. ”

Reger said he’s care­ful to make sure all the Emily sto­ries from the comics, nov­els, mu­sic project and movie fit co­he­sively.

“I think as long as we stick to the ethos of Emily, the ‘be your­self, think for your­self’ ethos, it will work,” he said. “If we let the over­ar­ch­ing ide­ol­ogy of Emily lead the way, her iconic things peo­ple know, I think ev­ery­thing will land right.”

STAR:

Chloe Moretz is set to voice the lead role in a planned “Emily the Strange” movie by Uni­ver­sal.

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