Wannabe: Principal photography begins this week in Los Angeles, CA on WANNABE it was announced today by Mike Paseornek, President of Production, Lions Gate Films, the motion picture production and distribution arm of Lions Gate Entertainment. Lions Gate Films has North American rights with Lakeshore Entertainment handling international sales and distribution.

ADVERTISEMENTThe film stars Pell James (The King, Uptown Girls), Steven Strait (Sky High) and Ashlee Simpson (Seventh Heaven, The Ashlee Simpson Show), making her feature film debut. Also starring Shannyn Sossamon (40 Days and 40 Nights, A Knights Tale), Fisher Stevens (The Flamingo Kid, Hackers) and Carrie Fisher (Star Wars, When Harry Met Sally) with Kip Pardue (Remember The Titans, Thirteen). Meiert Avis, the acclaimed music video director and documentary filmmaker who has worked extensively with U2, Melissa Etheridge, Bruce Springsteen and Audio Slave, directs. He was recently nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for best breakthrough video for New Found Glory's "All Down Hill From Here." The film is being produced by Michael Burns of Lions Gate; Tom Rosenberg and Gary Luchessi of Lakeshore Entertainment; Michael Ohoven and Marco Mehlitz for Cinerenta, executive produced by Joe Simpson and Eberhard Kayser, and will be photographed by Danny Hiele.

Set in the world of up-and-coming artists, WANNABE is a heartfelt and comic film that tells the story of an aspiring model who falls in love with a struggling musician when they suddenly cross paths on a NY subway train. Having achieved success as a NY model, Brier (James) decides to move to L.A. to launch an acting career. With the support of her acerbic agent and sometimes surrogate mom, Carrie (Fisher), Brier lands a spot in a highly sought after acting class where she befriends another would-be actress, Clea (Simpson). While out on the town discovering the music scene, Brier again crosses paths with Luke (Strait), a singer/songwriter who has been toiling for years without a record deal. Brier and Clea decide to help Luke and unbeknownst to him, they set out to create some L.A. style hype to get him noticed. As Luke's profile rises, so do the demands of his budding new career. When Luke and Brier can't hide the spark that was always there, they both discover that the price of fame may be higher than anyone expected.

"We are very excited to be bringing together such a talented cast with an acclaimed director for an uplifting romantic comedy about the trials and tribulations associated with fame," said Paseornek.

Lions Gate Entertainment is the premier independent producer and distributor of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment and video-on-demand content. Its prestigious and prolific library of approximately 8000 titles is one of the largest in the entertainment industry. The Lions Gate brand name is synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the globe.

Lakeshore Entertainment's upcoming slate includes the Clint Eastwood directed MILLION DOLLAR BABY starring Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman set for release this December by Warner Bros; the action/horror film THE CAVE to be released by Screen Gems, March 2005.