The life, death and shady times of Lou Pearlman, the producer behind boy bands including Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, are the focus of a new documentary film in the works for YouTube Red.
“The Lou Pearlman Project” (working title) comes from producer Pilgrim Media Group and executive producer Lance Bass, a former member of *NSYNC.
The film promises to reveal the dark side of stardom and the music biz, documenting Pearlman’s fall from grace. The documentary will feature interviews with the former members of Pearlman-produced groups including *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, O-Town and Take 5.
Pearlman died in August 2016 at the age of 62 while serving a 25-year sentence after admitting in 2008 to a $300 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of people and about 10 banks.
“I’ve always wanted to tell the story of the rise and fall of Lou Pearlman; I thought I knew most of the story since I had a front-row seat,” Bass said in a statement. “I was fascinated to learn so much more through the eyes of other artists that were also subjected to Pearlman and his nefarious operation.”
The project includes interviews with some of Pearlman’s closest collaborators during his heyday in the 1990s and 2000s. Those include the Backstreet Boys’ AJ McLean; *NSYNC’s JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Bass; O-Town’s Ashley Parker Angel; recording artist Aaron Carter, brother of Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter; and Diane Bass (mother of Lance) and Lynn Bomar Harless (mother of Justin Timberlake). It is currently in the editing phase.
In a recent interview with Variety, Bass said of the film: “I thought that I knew everything about Lou, but I knew nothing. We interview childhood friends of his, all the groups that he had at Transcontinental Records; Backstreet, O-Town, NSYNC. … And everyone gives their firsthand account of working with Lou Pearlman.” Sadly, Pearlman’s real-life cousin, Art Garfunkel, who by association introduced the future Ponzi schemer to the music industry, is not featured.
Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s global head of original content, noted that music is an extremely popular category on the video platform. “[T]his documentary gives fans a level of access to the true stories and real life highs and lows of their favorite artists that they can’t find anywhere else,” she said.
“The Lou Pearlman Project” is produced by Pilgrim Media Group. Craig Piligian, Nicholas Caprio and Sam Korkis serve executive producers along with Bass.
YouTube Red, which costs $10 per month for ad-free access to YouTube as well as exclusive originals and unlimited music, is currently available in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Korea.
With reporting by Michele Amabile Angermiller