MRC Non-Fiction is announcing the production of a new documentary, “Girl You Know It’s True,” about the quick rise and faster fall of Milli Vanilli, the late ’80s pop duo that won the best new artist Grammy and sold more than 10 million records before losing it all amid a musical scandal.
The documentary about Fab Morvan and the late Rob Pilatus will be directed by Luke Korem, who directed and produced the SXSW award-winning non-fiction film “Dealt.” Korem will be a producer on the new film as well, under the banner of his Keep on Running Pictures, alongside producing partner Bradley Jackson and Fulwell 73. The latter company’s Richard Thompson is an executive producer, as are Kim Marlowe, Morvan’s longtime manager, and music critic and author Hanif Abdurraqib.
“Milli Vanilli has made an indelible mark on music and pop culture history, yet the truth of what happened is more bizarre than anyone knows,” Korem said. “There are so many layers, characters and twists that have never before been revealed. I’m elated to partner with MRC and share the truth behind what has been dubbed the greatest con in music history.”
Milli Vanilli’s explosive success came to an abrupt end when it was revealed that the good-looking duo had effectively lip-synched their way through their smash debut album while uncredited ringers provided the real lead vocals. Along with previously unseen footage, the new doc will include interviews with the musicians who actually sang on the recordings, as well as with Morvan, the surviving member of the duo, in the service of what producers call “a cautionary tale that is more relevant now than ever in today’s fame-obsessed culture.”
Amit Dey, the head of MRC Non-Fiction, stated the approach will spotlight the injustices done to the disgraced pair. “For 30 years, Fab and Rob have been unfairly maligned while the industry machinations that exploited them continued to flourish,” said Dey. “Luke and Bradley’s perspective comes from a place of empathy and understanding for characters who were caught in a game where nobody explained the rules. We’re excited to go on that journey with Fab and the whole team.”
MRC has a minority investment in Fulwell 73, a company formed in 2005 by Ben Winston, Leo Pearlman, Ben Turner and Gabe Turner, with James Corden joining as a fifth partner in 2017. Fulwell 73 is responsible for Corden’s “Late Late Show,” has produced films including “One Direction 3D: This is Us” and “Shawn Mendes: In Wonder,” and is currently behind the upcoming feature “Cinderella” with Camila Cabello. The company has also produced “Bros: After the Screaming Stops,” a BAFTA-winning BBC documentary, along with music videos for Harry Styles, Little Mix and Zara Larsson.
MRC has pegged “Girl You Know It’s True” as the first of four music documentaries planned in a partnership between Fulwell 73’s Music & Sports and MRC’s Non-Fiction divisions.
MRC Non-Fiction’s first feature-length doc, Edgar Wright’s “The Sparks Brothers,” about the rock duo Sparks, world-premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. The company recently announced a Sly Stone documentary being directed by the Roots’ Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson.
Variety is part of PMRC holdings, a joint venture between PMC and MRC.
“Girl You Know It’s True” is not the only Milli Vanilli project planned for the screen. Brett Ratner, the #MeToo-beleaguered producer/director, recently announced a dramatic feature film based on the lip-synching scandal with 300 Entertainment’s Kevin Liles, one of the writers of Milli Vanilli’s first stateside hit, “Girl You Know It’s True,” as executive producer. Liles co-wrote the song along with Bill Pettaway Jr., Sean “DJ Spence” Spencer, Rodney “Kool Rod” Holloman and Ky Adeyemo as members of the Baltimore-based group Numarx, which first recorded the track.