With the heartbreaking story of lip-syncing supergroup Milli Vanilli previously explored only in sensationalistic fashion by heavy-handed Behind the Music episodes and cruel late-night talk show monologue punchlines, Universal sensed an opportunity to tell the tale of the disgraced 1990 Best New Artist Grammy winners in a more sympathetic and artistically ambitious fashion; according to Variety, they've acquired the rights to make a film about the duo, which Jeff Nathanson, the scribe currently charged with coming up with a fresh spin on the high-pitched ways in which Chris Tucker expresses his inability to understand the broken English of Jackie Chan for Rush Hour 3, will write and direct. In Var, Nathanson explains why he pursued this challenging project:
Nathanson, who presented a sympathetic look at a check forger in "Catch Me if You Can," became intrigued with the notion of taking a similar tack on the music industry tale. He has secured the cooperation of Fabrice Morvan, as well as the estate of Rob Pilatus, who died in 1998 as the pair were attempting a comeback. [...]
"I've always been fascinated by the notion of fakes and frauds, and in this case, you had guys who pulled off the ultimate con, selling 30 million singles and 11 million albums and then becoming the biggest laughing-stocks of pop entertainment," Nathanson said. "Fabrice had always refused to sell their rights; he was very cautious of Hollywood after all he'd been through. But my intention is to tell this story from their point of view."
Nathanson's desire to eschew a crass syncsploitation treatment of the material in favor of one more reflective of the Truth of (now deceased) Rob "Rob" Pilatus and Fabrice "Fab "Morvan's tragic story should attract top talent to the project, who by now know that portraying complicated musicians brings a near-automatic Oscar nomination. The writer/director is expected to reach out to Catch Me If You Can collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio, offering the actor the opportunity to play both roles himself and demonstrate to the Academy that he can push his mastery of his craft to a level past even the celebrated "Leo with a Boston accent" and "Leo with a South African accent" ones he achieved over the past year.
- Universal sets up Milli Vanilli film [Variety]