Voltage Pictures has boarded worldwide sales excluding Germany on Milli Vanilli biopic Girl You Know It’s True from Leonine Studios and Wiedemann & Berg Film and has kicked off talks with buyers at the EFM.
The production, financing and sales company showed first footage to buyers during a lively presentation at CinemaxX on Thursday evening.
The film charts the meteoric rise of the Grammy-winning German French R&B duo, who took the world by storm in the late 1980s before it all came crashing down when it emerged they lip-synched their songs.
Simon Verhoeven directs and Quirin Berg and Max Wiedemann (The Lives Of Others, Dark) are producing the film, which wrapped in December after principal photography in Munich and Berlin, Capetown, and Los Angeles. The biopic – named after Milli Vanilli’s breakthrough 1989 album – is due for delivery in the fourth quarter.
Newcomers Tijan Njie from Germany and Elan Ben Ali from France play frontmen Robert Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan, while Matthias Schweighofer (Army Of The Dead, Christopher Nolan’s upcoming Oppenheimer) is German music producer Frank Farian. The cast includes Graham Rogers (Ray Donovan, The Kominsky Method) as Milli Vanilli’s US assistant Todd and Bella Dayne (Humans, Troy: Fall Of A City) as Farlan’s assistant Milli.
Kevin Liles, member of Numarx and co-founder and CEO of music company 300 Entertainment, is an executive producer alongside co-producers Verhoeven, Farian and Stefan Gartner. Jasmin Davis, the daughter of the late John Davis and Brad Howell are the associate producers. They were the true voices behind Milli Vanilli10 and the development consultants on this project. Carmen Pilatus, sister of the late Pilatus, Milli Vanilli’s former assistant Todd Headlee, and Ingrid Segieth AKA Milli, are also attached as associate producers.
Voltage president and COO Jonathan Deckter said he and company founder Nicolas Chartier read the script in September 2021 and swiftly signed a deal to handle sales and serve as executive producers. “Once we saw the tapes of Tijan and Elan, we immediately decided the only way to present this film properly to buyers was to do absolutely nothing until we had footage that would blow them away, and I think we just did that,” said Deckter after yesterday’s promo screening.
Leonine Studios and Wiedemann & Berg Film are producing in co-production with Sentana Film, SevenPictures and Mediawan. Financial support comes from German Federal Film Fund, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, German Federal Film Board, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, MFG Baden-Wurttemberg and Bayerisches Staatsministerium fur Digitales.
Verhoeven, who also wrote the screenplay, said, “Girl You Know It’s True is captivating on so many levels. The film tells the story of Rob and Fab’s incredible rise to fame in just one summer. It also shows the fascinating world behind the scenes of the illusory world that is fame and its often tragic and unscrupulous machinations. Personally, I think Rob and Fab did not deserve to become the sole scapegoats of this scandal.”
Berg, chief creative officer and chief production officer of Leonine Studios, added: “Our film celebrates Rob and Fab and what they achieved with Milli Vanilli and at the same time Simon’s fantastic screenplay also captures the complexity and ultimately tragic dimension that came with it… We are excited to partner with our great colleagues Nicolas and Jonathan at Voltage pictures and it was fantastic to see how buyers from all around the world respond to the first material we have shared.”
Berg, Max Wiedemann, Verhoeven and Kirstin Winkler are serving as associate producers on a separate Milli Vanilli documentary from MRC, which Luke Korem directs and is producing through his Keep On Running Pictures. Bradley Jackson and Fulwell 73 also produce, and Hanif Abdurraqib will serve as executive producer.
Voltage’s YA-heavy buyer presentation included promo footage from Roger Kumble’s Beautiful Disaster starring Dylan Sprouse and Virginia Gardner which gets a global theatrical release in April; Beautiful Wedding, which completed principal photography in December; Verona; and Aftermath, the fifth instalment in the After franchise. Voltage is also selling the YA novel adaptation Marked Men.
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