I was originally going to write up a “5 Facts About” Cassie Steele, the Degrassi alum who is starring Epitome Pictures’ new series The L.A. Complex. But then I realized that Degrassi fans — probably the viewership that the studio is banking on — already know plenty about Cassie from her days playing Manny Santos. And it turns out there’s tons of juicy info on the show itself, which premieres in Canada tonight.
Much like the failed Melrose Place remake, The L.A. Complex focuses on a group of hot 20-somethings trying to make it in Hollywood… except most of them aren’t American! Per the latest press release, here’s the breakdown:
- Abby (Cassie Steele) – the naïve Toronto actor who is ready to fight to get to the top
- Raquel (Jewel Staite) – a street-smart Haligonian who’s frightened of becoming yesterday’s news
- Connor (Jonathan Patrick Moore) – a break-out Australian with drop-dead good looks and a dark past
- Nick (Joe Dinicol) – a struggling stand-up comedian from Edmonton who is always the best friend and never the boyfriend
- Haldrick (Andra Fuller) - the extremely successful hip-hop artist hailing from the streets of Oakland
- Alicia (Chelan Simmons) – a sensitive, aspiring dancer from Regina who will do whatever it takes to make ends meet (can we say prostitute like on Melrose?)
- Tariq (Benjamin Charles Watson) - the confident and talented Montreal hip-hop artist with a secret
Here’s what else we were able to dig up.
1. The L.A. Complex was originally intended to be a spin-off of the TV movie Degrassi Goes Hollywood, where Manny and Paige (Lauren Collins) competed to star in Jason Mewes‘ coming-of-age movie. The film ends with Manny getting the role, and in subsequent seasons she was mostly in Hollywood trying to make it as a movie star (with short visits back to Degrassi High). So the show was supposed to track Manny’s career, but, as Cassie explains it, “as it matured and more people kept giving all these good ideas, it turned into something completely different.”
The only downside was, Cassie — who had been locked in as the star — had to re-audition. “It’s even worse auditioning in front of people you’ve known for 10 years,” she told the Toronto Sun. “It’s really nerve-racking.”
2. It sounds like this show will surpass Degrassi in terms of risque plotlines: As the Toronto Sun reports, in the first episode alone, Abby goes through the following:
- getting evicted
- a violent ex-landlord
- unprotected sex
- emergency birth control
- sleeping on a roof
- a burning car
- vomiting at her audition
3. Perhaps my favorite detail about this show so far is that after these young actors busted their asses moving to Hollywood and enduring shitty living conditions and a grueling audition process, they got a job… in Toronto. Yep, even though the series recreates famous LA landmarks like the Chinese Theater, it’s actually being shot in Canada.
4. The L.A. Complex premieres tonight in Canada on CTV and MuchMusic, but it’ll take a bit longer for it to make it to the United States. However, it’s good news: It was just announced that The CW has purchased the first six episodes and will premiere them later this spring.
5. There’s a show-within-a-show: Connor lands a role on Critical Unit, a fake medical drama. And according to TheStar.com, he shows up to work too drunk to recite all the medical jargon.
You gotta love a show that’s as meta as this. And here’s a preview!