The story of Milli Vanilli, sacrificial lambs on the altar of manufactured pop music, has been kicked around for a possible biopic since at least 2007, when Universal Pictures set up a film to be scripted by Catch Me If You Can screenwriter Jeff Nathanson. Like 1993’s Rob & Fab, however, that version has languished on the shelf, but today Deadline reports that German director Florian Gallenberger has signed on to revive the project about model/dancer duo Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan, their rapid rise to fame, and their equally rapid exposé as fronts for record producer/svengali Frank Farian. The original project had received the cooperation of both Moran and Pilatus’ estate (Pilatus having died in 1998), but it’s not clear whether they are involved in this version, which involves writing an entirely new script.
Of course, as anyone who saw the first episode of Behind The Music knows, the Milli Vanilli saga barely needs fictionalizing, as the facts themselves act as a perfect blueprint for a music biopic. It’s a story full of hubris and underhanded industry dealings, with two innocents corrupted by fame and a clear villain, Farian, who orchestrated the whole thing and then revealed to the world that Moran and Pilatus were frauds after they insisted on being allowed to sing for real. It even has a built-in climax in “The Tape-Skip”—which is a scene just begging for slow-motion movie melodrama—followed by a tragic fall from grace, what with Arista Records deleting the group’s album from its catalog, the duo’s Grammy being rescinded, and Pilatus falling into a vortex of despair that saw him spending several months in jail for vandalism and robbery and eventually dying of a drug overdose. So, not much need for exaggeration or poetic license there. Anyway, we’d put the chances that this won’t be titled All Or Nothing at maybe 25 percent. (Although we suppose a case could be made for Too Much Monkey Business.)