Here’s the answer to an age old question. Ok, well, a question and rumor from 2009. Is Brett Ratner directing the long-gestating biopic of ‘late-80s fraudulent pop stars Milli Vanilli? The answer is: no.
In the works since 2007, the Kennedy/Marshall Company (the producers behind the “Bourne” franchise, plus Steven Spielberg‘s two upcoming films, “War Horse,” and “The Adventures Of Tintin“) have now officially found their man in German filmmaker Florian Gallenberger, whose Mexican-shot “Quiero Ser” (“I Want To Be“) won the 2001 Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film. He also directed the 2009 drama, “John Rabe,” starring Steve Buscemi, Daniel Brühl (“Inglourious Basterds“) and French actress Anne Consigny (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly“) which won four German Oscars that year including Best picture.
Gallenberger has been tapped to rewrite and direct the picture and while that may seem odd at first, it’s not. Milli Vanilli was formed in Germany in 1988 by record producer and songwriter Frank Farian, and the two faces that fronted the band, Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus met in Munich and were essentially known as a German duo before they were outed as frauds (Morvan was French born, Pilatus was German-American).
Originally a project set up over at Universal, the Kennedy/Marshall Company and “Catch Me If You Can,” writer/producer Jeff Nathanson are running the project independently now and are looking for financing (Nathanson was originally hired to pen the script in 2007; not a bad idea considering DiCaprio’s character in that movie was a fabulist faker too).
The original idea remains the same: to make a movie based on the rise of and fall of the pop duo, who won a Grammy in 1990 for Best New Artist. However, their good fortune wouldn’t last as the award was rescinded when it was revealed — in news that shocked the pop music nation at the time — that Milli Vanilli did not actually sing any of the melodies on their 1989 album Girl You Know It’s True. Shocking, but true. We still bear the scars.
Selling 30 million singles and 11 million albums and then becoming the biggest laughing-stocks of pop entertainment, founding member Rob Pilatus died in 1998 by an accidental overdose just months before the group — which included Fab Morvan — were to mount a comeback album. Morvan has been cagey about rights and further damaging Pilatus’ memory, but Nathanson obviously convinced him he’d treat the story with respect over four years ago. Maybe we’ll finally see this picture, about one of the ultimate cons in music, hit the screen within the next few years. [Deadline]