NEW YORK — Ramping up its commitment to original telefilms, VH1 will begin production today on “Daydream Believers: The Monkees’ Story,” about the four musicians/actors who starred in the 1960s TV show, and “Out of Sync,” an original music-based telepic starring Gail O’Grady (“NYPD Blue”).
Lensing in Toronto, both will debut on the music cabler in mid to late June.
VH1 is close to beginning production on three other telepics and is developing 22 film projects overall. The cabler — which introduced its original telefilm series last year with “Sweetwater” — plans to debut one film a month eventually.
Graeme Campbell (“Murder One”) will direct “Out of Sync” — the story of a music producer who uses the voice of a housewife (O’Grady) to supply an untalented diva with vocals — from a script by Eric Williams and Richard Schenkman. Kari Wuhrer (“Sliders”) has been cast as the diva and Peter Outerbridge (“Mission to Mars”) will play the music producer. Anne Carlucci will exec produce.
“Out of Sync” will feature original music that VH1 hopes to release as its first soundtrack, according to VP of TV movies Michael Larkin. “It’s our take on the Milli Vanilli controversy,” Larkin said.
“The Monkees”– which will trace the TV-created pop group’s career — will feature a cast of newcomers, including George Stanchev as Davy Jones; Jeff Geddis as Mike Nesmith; L.B. Fisher as Peter Tork; and Aaron Lohr as Mickey Dolenz.
Wallace Langham (“The Larry Sanders Show,” “Veronica’s Closet”) will play Don Kirschner. Producers hope to cast the roles of Bob Rafaelson and Jack Nicholson, who were involved in the creation of the band.
Like “Out of Sync,” “The Monkees” will rely heavily on music, as the film’s producers have acquired the rights to the entire Monkees catalog. Rhino Records will likely release the film’s soundtrack.
Neill Fearnley (“21 Jump Street”) will direct “The Monkees” from a script by Ron McGee, who wrote the screenplay for VH1’s upcoming telefilm “Meatloaf: To Hell and Back.” Harold Bronson of Rhino Films and Howard Braunstein of Pebblehut Prods. will exec produce.