Studio releases first-look shots of Milli Vanilli biopic

Tijan Njie and Elan Ben Ali are set to portray ill-fated pop duo Milli Vanilli in the upcoming Leonine Studios biopic, "Girl You Know It's True."

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A biopic on Milli Vanilli is coming. Leonine Studios, a major European film studio, has revealed first-look photos from “Girl You Know It’s True,” a movie about the ill-fated pop duo from the 1980s.

“Girl You Know It’s True” will tell the story of Robert Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan, two men from Germany who rose to unprecedented heights in the late ’80s as Milli Vanilli. The duo will be portrayed by German actor Tijan Njie, playing Pilatus, and French actor Elan Ben Ali as Morvan.

In a press release, Leonine Studios revealed photos of Nije and Ben Ali in costume as the iconic duo. Each is donning the hairstyle and the outfit that Pilatus and Morvan wore in the music video for their hit single, from which the film gets its title.

Elan Ben Ali (left) stars as Fabrice Morvan and Tijan Njie (right) as Robert Pilatus in Leonine Studios’ upcoming biopic, “Girl You Know It’s True.” (Photo: Leonine Studios/Denis Pernath Photography)

The film will cover Milli Vanilli’s infamous scandal, showing them achieving massive success, even though Pilatus and Morvan never sang any of their songs. In tunes orchestrated by German music producer Frank Farian, Pilatus and Morvan lip-synced to the real session singers’ vocals for Milli Vanilli’s tours, TV performances, and music videos.

Nije and Ben Ali were selected after more than a year of casting in five countries. While the two are newcomers, veteran actor Matthias Schweighöfer — known for appearances in Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” and his own “Army of Thieves” — will play Farian. Also appearing in “Girl You Know It’s True” are Graham Rogers as Todd, Milli Vanilli’s American assistant, and Bella Dayne playing Farian’s right-hand woman.

Filming is set to wrap in December, with principal photography taking place in Los Angeles, Cape Town, South Africa, and the German cities of Munich and Berlin. Simon Verhoeven is its screenwriter and director.

Matthias Schweighöfer (above) plays German music producer Frank Farian in “Girl You Know It’s True.” (Photo: Leonine Studios/Gordon Timpen)

“’Girl You Know It’s True’ is captivating on so many levels,” Verhoeven said in a statement. “It not only tells the spectacular rise of two underdogs making it to the zenith of showbiz within one summer, it also gives a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of that illusory world of fame and its sometimes tragic and unscrupulous machinations. Personally, I think Rob and Fab did not deserve to become the sole scapegoats of this scandal.” 

Farian is co-producing “Girl You Know It’s True,” along with Verhoeven, Quirin Berg, Max Wiedemann and Stefan Gärtner. Executive producing the film is Kevin Liles, chief executive officer of 300 Entertainment. Liles, a former executive at Def Jam and Warner Music Group, was a co-writer of the song “Girl You Know It’s True” as a member of the hip-hop group Numarx. Farian recorded the song for Milli Vanilli, and it became the first of the duo’s three No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 singles.

Verhoeven and Wiedemann are also associate-producing a Milli Vanilli documentary concurrently being made by the entertainment company MRC, independent of Leonine.

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