Beloved 1980s cartoon Jem, about the titular glam-pop star, was resurrected in October with Jem and the Holograms, director Jon M. Chu’s live-action adaptation. It bombed at the box office and with critics, but things are still looking bright for star Audrey Peeples. In addition to her first film lead, the 21-year-old plays country singer Layla Grant on ABC’s Nashville, where she was promoted to regular on the fourth season, launched in September. Now, Peeples is ready to step up her music career — and take on all the haters.
A lot of critics and old-school Jem fans didn’t like the reboot. How do you feel about that?
I don’t really care about reviews — at the end of the day it’s about doing the best you can with what you’re given. I hate that a lot of original fans weren’t excited to see this film, but I completely understand: If you wanted to see something that’s just like the series, this is not it. I think if we’d tried to do it just like the original, we would get more hate because there’s no way we could do it justice, and it wouldn’t translate well. It’s super ’80s, the graphics and everything. Which is awesome, but Jem had a young audience; in order to bring in kids today, some updating needed to be done.
You also sing on Nashville. Do you look for parts that feature music?
I don’t look for only roles involving music; I just love going for them because they’re both so important to me. It’s a separate passion, but I love combining them. I grew up doing musical theater, so I’ve been trained well.
Is a recording career something you’re interested in?
Absolutely! I would love, ideally, to release an album within the next year.
What kind of music?
My music is different from Jem’s and Layla’s; I write blues-rock, jazzy music. I’m influenced by Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, The Black Keys, Amy Winehouse. I want to bring blues and soul back but in a relevant way.
If you could be a pop star for a day, whom would you be?
I don’t know — because I don’t want to be a pop star.