Jenna Dewan Dances to Her Own 'Soundtrack' in First Trailer for Netflix Musical Drama (Exclusive)
By Philiana Ng
Jenna Dewan is dancing to her own Soundtrack.
The actress and dancer stars in Netflix's new 10-episode romantic musical drama, which explores the love stories connecting a diverse group of people living in Los Angeles through the music that lives inside their hearts and minds, and only ET exclusively debuts the two-minute trailer for the upcoming series.
In ET's exclusive trailer (watch below), Dewan -- who plays a level-headed young professional -- ponders the challenges of finding love in the modern day, as do other characters in varying degrees. "What happened to passing someone on the street?" she opines. "Feeling that... thing. The hairs on the back of your neck... adrenaline rush."
Joining Dewan in the Soundtrack cast are Callie Hernandez, Paul James, Robbie Fairchild, Jahmil French, Campbell Scott, Madeleine Stowe, Christina Milian, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Megan Ferguson and Isaiah Givens.
As the stories unfold, the various relationshipsgo through highs and lows, with ambitious song and dance numbers illuminating the characters' journeys as hardships begin to threaten their bonds. From Smash executive producer Joshua Safran, who is also reviving Gossip Girlfor HBO Max, the series is largely inspired by Pennies From Heaven, a BBC miniseries in 1978 that was later adapted into a movie starring Steve Martin and Christopher Walken in 1981, with a dash of Magnolia.
"That show and the film was about people in the Depression who were down in their luck in their lives, who would fantasize in big production numbers to Depression-era pop songs. I wanted to update that and see how it played for today," Safran exclusively tells ET of Pennies From Heaven. A New York native, Safran found himself transplanted in the City of Angels for "a brief period," where he observed that "L.A. people were potted off into separate areas and didn't get to mix like you do in New York."
"I was interested in how, if you meet somebody in Los Angeles from outside your circle, it's like fate in a way," he observes. Watch the Soundtrack trailer, exclusively on ET, below.
While Soundtrack features a dozen key characters, at the heart of the tale are two families from very different circumstances -- one in Watts and another in Bel Air -- who serve as the lynchpins for which all the characters spring off of. The format of the show is unique as well, with each of the episodes focusing squarely on two characters and their love stories, whether it be the love of your family, your sibling, your children, your romantic partner, your parent, your work or your dream.
Each hour also features several musical numbers, which represent the characters' greatest fantasies and serve as stark contrasts to their often dull, imperfect realities. Safran took inspiration from early Cameron Crowe and James Brooks in dreaming up these fantastical sequences that he likened to "music videos from the '90s and 2000s" that are like "explosions" to the senses. "It's not your typical musical where you're singing on a stage or walking down the hall singing a love song. Every song matters to the plot and every song is a huge production number," Safran promises.
About 150 songs were on Safran's wish list before he even began writing the scripts. After working closely with music supervisor Jennifer Ross, with whom he previously collaborated on Smash, they whittled that down even more to less than half. Just don't expect any of the characters to sing Beyonce bops. "You probably can't afford Kendrick [Lamar], JAY-Z,Beyonce. You probably can't afford The Eagles," Safran recalled Ross telling him. And yes, Safran wrote personal letters to every artist, prompting some "lovely" responses back. "We kind of lucked out. We were only denied by six artists and there are 60 songs in the show."
"Each character has their own soundtrack. Depending on the age of the character, the music follows them," he explains. "Marianne Jean-Baptiste's character, Annette, has Etta James and Lauryn Hill. Madeleine Stowe's character has Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt and Dolly Parton. Dante, played by Jahmil French, has The Weeknd and Bruno Mars." But does every cast member sing? "I can't answer that. You'll have to watch and see," Safran coyly answers. "We have a very, very musical bunch. Even people who weren't sure they were musical necessarily, like Madeleine Stowe and Campbell Scott, turned out to be incredibly musical."
If you're still waffling on whether to add Soundtrack to your Netflix queue, Safran offers one last pitch: "It's a love letter to the '90s and indie movies. I'm just very, very proud of it. It's unique and it's also heartwarming -- and there's Christmas stuff in it!"
"You know what, he did give me some little tips and hints there, because it was my first musical experience," the pregnant mama-to-be told ET in August at the Industry Dance Awards, where she accepted the prestigious Trailblazer honor. "So, yeah, he was very helpful."
The Flirty Dancing host offered insight into what viewers can expect when Soundtrack hits the streaming service in a few weeks.
"Every episode is its own self-contained love story musical, so there's song, there's dance, there's acting. It's really unique," Dewan teased. "I don't think you'll ever see anything like it. It's cool."
Soundtrackbegins streaming Wednesday, Dec. 18 on Netflix.
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