Pop Culture

Milli Vanilli Biopic About the Pop Duo’s Scandalous Rise and Fall Unveils First Look

The headline-making rise and fall of ’80s pop R&B duo Milli Vanilli is getting the big-screen treatment in a biopic titled Girl You Know It’s True. New images and casting details were first published by The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday, unveiling newcomers Elan Ben Ali and Tijan Njie as the group’s frontmen, Fabrice Morvan and Robert Pilatus.

Girl You Know It’s True is captivating on so many levels,” the film’s writer-director Simon Verhoeven said in a statement to the outlet. “It not only tells the spectacular rise of two underdogs making it to the zenith of showbiz within one summer, it also gives a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of that illusory world of fame and its sometimes tragic and unscrupulous machinations. Personally, I think Rob and Fab did not deserve to become the sole scapegoats of this scandal.”

For the woefully uninitiated: Milli Vanilli experienced a meteoric rise and ultimately catastrophic fall in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The duo scored three number one hits in the U.S. with tracks “Blame It on the Rain,” “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You,” and “Baby Don’t Forget My Number,” earning a best-new-artist Grammy Award in 1989.

But the pair was soon plagued by scandal when it was revealed that Milli Vanilli was a false musical enterprise engineered by producer Frank Farian. In reality, the group’s hit tracks were sung by other vocalists. When the truth was exposed, Milli Vanilli’s Grammy was stripped from them—a first in Recording Academy history. As the faces of the group, Morvan and Pilatus took major heat for their roles in the deceit, and after several failed attempts at career rejuvenation, Pilatus died after reportedly mixing alcohol with pills in 1998.

Joining the titular duo in the cast are Matthias Schweighöfer as Farian; Graham Rogers as Milli Vanilli’s U.S. assistant, Todd; and Bella Dayne as Milli, Farian’s associate and inspiration for the duo’s name. Some of the scandal’s original players are involved behind the scenes as well. Kevin Liles, a member of the band Numarx—whose song “Girl You Know It’s True” Milli Vanilli covered—and CEO of music company 300 Entertainment, is executive-producing. Associate producers include Jasmin Davis, daughter of the late John Davis, and Brad Howell; John Davis and Howell were the actual voices behind Milli Vanilli. Carmen Pilatus, sister of the late Rob Pilatus, Milli Vanilli’s former assistant Todd Headlee, and Ingrid Segieth, a.k.a. Milli, are also signed on as associate producers.

Girl You Know It’s True has yet to receive an official release date. Filming on the project is scheduled to wrap in December.

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