As a teenager, producer Jeroen Koopman was already a fan of the Australian series Heartbreak High, which enjoyed global success at the turn of the last century. More than twenty years later, Koopman and his company NewBe are tasked with performing the reboot of the hit show, viewable on Netflix from Wednesday. “Of course I’m a bit biased, but I’m also a fan of the reboot,” the producer told ANP.
Doing a reboot of the favorite series of his youth is at the top of his list for Koopman. The series means a lot to him. “I was 14, something like that, and I lived in Middelburg. I was really a boy in Zeeland, who loved inline skating. In Heartbreak High, the coolest and toughest character also rollerbladed. I was not hard at all. I just wanted to be like that guy on the show. According to Koopman, the success behind the original Heartbreak High, which aired from 1994 to 1999, was that a large group of different people identified with the show. “It was a really representative series, especially for the time.”
Koopman acquired the rights to the series in 2019 and produced the reboot with Australian producer Fremantle over the past year. With the new series, which has eight episodes, he hopes to be recognizable to a new generation “in a similar way”. “So we’re not doing it for old fans, although of course it’s fine if they’re watching too. The story focuses on a new viewer,” says Koopman. He deliberately chose to tell a new story “If you repeat something, I feel like it’s unique. We have now tried to roll out something new. The common denominator of the old and the new version is the country of Australia This land is such a big part of the original series. You can see that in the new series, which was shot in Sydney. Australia is almost like an underlying character.
Because the Heartbreak High reboot appears on Netflix, that automatically means a wide audience can view the series. “For us, as a creator, that’s the ultimate goal, that you can reach a global audience,” says Koopman. This is the first series in English that he has produced with his company NewBe. “It positions itself as an Australian series. It’s quite special that this idea came from the Netherlands.”
In the new version, Koopman and his team discuss a number of new global topics. “Subjects that are much more relevant to the current generation, such as climate, gender, diversity and identification. And of course, social networks play a big role. It’s an inseparable part of this generation,” Koopman says.
As a maker, Koopman is already working on a new season in his head. “But it’s not something that’s already happening,” he explains. “Let’s do the first season first.” Koopman and his team are already working on a different trajectory, however. “Knowing that Heartbreak High will be released in September, we wanted to hear from you in case it becomes a success. We are working on a major new project that is in full development.
The cast of the new Heartbreak High, viewable on Netflix from September 14, is made up of Ayesha Madon, James Majoos, Chloe Hayden, Asher Yasbincek and Thomas Weatherall. The original series was very popular at the time in several countries like Germany, United States, Mexico, and the Netherlands. The show was broadcast in 80 countries.
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