Ashanti joins Build-A-Bear movie Honey Girls with music by A Star Is Born songwriter
Build-A-Bear is bringing its Honey Girls toy line into the live-action space. And if you're going to build a feature film musical event, you might as well have a few Grammy winners on board.
Grammy winner and John Tucker Must Die actress Ashanti will star alongside digital star Tessa Brooks in Honey Girls from Build-A-Bear Entertainment, EW can report exclusively.
Production on the film will soon finish with a cast that includes Broadway actor Aliyah Mastin, recording artist Ava Grace, and Black-ish actor and singer Frankie McNellis playing the titular Honey Girls.
Music video director Trey Fanjoy — who has worked with the likes of Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, and Keith Urban — makes her feature film directorial debut based off a screenplay by Mike Mariano and Cindy McCreery.
Honey Girls will include Julia Michels, another Grammy winner, as Music Supervisor. Lady Gaga collaborator Mark Nilan, Jr., who won a Grammy in 2020 for his work on the soundtrack to A Star Is Born, writes original songs.
Ashanti will star as global pop-star Fancy G, the host of a talent competition that seeks to discover the next great solo artist. Three young musicians sign up for it but quickly discover that they are "better together" — a reference to the song "Everything Is Better" written for the Honey Girls toy line. They form a secret band called Honey Girls and, with an immediate viral mega hit on their hands, perform in disguise to avoid elimination by Fancy G. In the end, the competitors must decide what is more important — fame or friendship.
"The Honey Girls story uses the power of music as a catalyst to both encourage the celebration of individuality while recognizing that we can also be 'better together,' wrapped in a fun girl-empowerment story of discovery," Sharon Price John, President and CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc., said in a statement.
Ashanti was last seen on screen on an episode of the CW's Dynasty on season 3, and she also starred in the Lifetime movie A Christmas Winter Song. Aside from her music, which includes her self-titled award-winning, chart-topping album and her most recent single drop "2:35 (I Want You)," Ashanti is also known for roles in Coach Carter, Resident Evil Extinction, and The Muppets' Wizard of Oz.
Brooks is an actress, dancer, YouTube star, and social media influencer who has choreographed and danced for The Voice, Kids Choice Awards, The Teen Choice Awards, and Radio Disney.
Now to introduce the Honey Girls.
McNellis, who published her first song at the age of 9, has performed the National Anthem for both the NBA and MLB. She was previously seen on black-ish from ABC and Play Anything from DreamWorks TV.
Grace trained at the intensive summer vocal music program A Cappella Academy and is currently preparing new music to be released later this year.
A singer, dancer, and actor, Mastin was cast in the original Broadway production of The Lion King. She recorded with the kids a capella group Acapop! KIDS and lent her voice to various charitable causes, including Broadway Kids Against Bullying.
Honey Girls is produced through Foundation Media Partners with Patrick Hughes serving as producer. John is also acting as executive producer.
The film was acquired by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and is expected to release this fall.
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