Milli Vanilli, the ’80s pop duo who found themselves embroiled in one of the music industry’s biggest scandals, are getting the biopic treatment.
Newcomers Elan Ben Ali and Tijan Njie have been tapped to portray the pop stars in an upcoming film titled ‘Girl You Know It’s True’, named after the band’s debut album and global hit.
On Thursday, Leonine Studios, the filmmakers behind the film, released two first images from the production.
The photos show Ali and Njie made into a duo from Munich, Germany. Ali will play 56-year-old French model Fabrice Morvan while Njie will play German model Rob Pilatus.
In 1998, Pilatus was found dead in a hotel room in Frankfurt, Germany, at the age of 33. The Associated Press reported at the time that Frank Farian, the former producer of Milli Vanilli, said Pilatus had been drinking and taking prescription pills the day before he died. .
Shortly after bursting onto the music scene, Milli Vanilli became a global hit. They topped the charts with R&B and dance-pop tracks like “Baby Don’t Forget My Number”, “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You” and “Blame It on the Rain”.
Their earworms helped them land Best New Artist at the Grammys in 1990. Shortly after, Farian revealed to Reuters that Morvan and Pilatus were actually syncing their own songs, Variety reports.
The producer had created a fake band and the late John Davis, Brad Howell and Charles Shaw were the real voices behind the catchy singles.
Milli Vanilli returned her Grammy and was banned from the music industry.
Actor Matthias Schweighöfer, an “Army of Thieves” star who would next appear in Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” has been cast as Farian in the biopic “Girl You Know It’s True.” According to a press release from Leonine Studios, the film will tell the story behind the audience’s fall from favor.
“At the height of their fame, Milli Vanilli wins the Grammy Award but the situation behind the scenes escalates and the pressure on Rob and Fab increases. When the truth is revealed, they stare into the abyss as the world witnesses one of the biggest scandals in music history,” the press release read.
German filmmaker Simon Verhoeven is directing the film, based on his screenplay. Howell, Pilatus’ sister Carmen, and Davis’ daughter Jasmin are associate producers on the project.
Speaking about her film, Verhoeven said in the press release, “’Girl You Know It’s True’ is gripping on so many levels. It not only chronicles the spectacular rise of two underdogs to the zenith of showbiz in one summer, but also provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at this illusory world of fame and its sometimes tragic and unscrupulous machinations.
He added: “I personally think Rob and Fab didn’t deserve to be the only scapegoats for this scandal.”
Production on “Girl You Know It’s True” is set to wrap in December 2022.