An international casting search involving over 1,000 teen actors across the United States, Canada, and the U.K. has led to the casting of three rising young talents — Matt Prokop, Justin Martin, and Jemma McKenzie -Brown — as sophomore "Wildcats" in Walt Disney Pictures' upcoming theatrical production of "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," according to a press release issued by the studio Monday.
The trio of new stars will join all of the original "High School Musical" cast — Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman — in this all new feature film, which begins shooting later this month. Kenny Ortega, who helmed the first two "High School Musical" films for Disney Channel, will once again direct, in addition to adding new duties as executive producer.
Commenting on the announcement, Ortega said, "Peter Barsocchini's exciting script for 'High School Musical 3' called for the addition of three sophomore characters, so we set out on a massive casting search across North America and England to find just the right young actors to play the parts. We think these talented performers will bring lots of humor, new twists, and musical fun to the film. Jemma was one of the many young actresses that we met in London, and she impressed us with her singing and dancing, in addition to being very exciting and effervescent. Matt has a terrific personality, and a great sense of comedy and fun. And Justin had a great presence and charisma, besides being a wonderful comedic actor who could really dance. I am confident that the three new actors joining our original cast will help to bring great musical thrills, surprises and a lot of fun to Senior Year and the halls of East High."
Jemma McKenzie-Brown's previous television credits include a supporting role in the BBC production of "The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard." Matt Prokop has had featured film roles in "Marked," "Walking Miracles," "Somewhere Else" and "Four Square." His television credits include "The Office," "The O.C.," and Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana." Justin Martin's film credits include "Raisin in the Sun," "The Vineyard," and the upcoming "The Soloist." He has also appeared in the television shows "Cold Case," "Judging Amy," "Malcolm in the Middle," "The Bernie Mac Show," among others. For the Broadway stage, Martin appeared as Young Simba in "The Lion King."
"High School Musical 3: Senior Year" finds high school seniors Troy and Gabriella facing the prospect of being separated from one another as they head off in different directions to college. Joined by the rest of the Wildcats, they stage an elaborate spring musical reflecting their experiences, hopes and fears about their future. With incredible new music and exciting dance numbers designed to take maximum advantage of the big screen, this motion picture extravaganza delivers plenty of high-energy entertainment from East High's talented ensemble. The feature film will be shot on location in Utah and set for release in theaters on October 24, 2008.