Home News The truth behind Milli Vanilli’s lie: "We were scapegoats, not victims"

The truth behind Milli Vanilli’s lie: "We were scapegoats, not victims"

The truth behind Milli Vanilli’s lie: "We were scapegoats, not victims"

Cinema, the most vain of arts, likes to look in the mirror. Fool yourself and tell yourself how handsome you are. That’s why awards are being given all the time. And for that, and for the late capitalist maelstrom in which we live trapped via Instagram, there is no genre that better defines our time than the “biopic.” Movies based on real livesno matter how much they have little life and even less real life, they still make us stick in our seats for a purely selfish question: where were you then?, which Miguel Ríos asked himself, Manolo Garcia And till Ana Pastor, if we put it. If you know who they were Los Fruitisyou saw on TV how the Berlin Wall was broken and you still associate Leticia Sabater with a microphone to present and not to scream, you also know who Milli Vanilli were and remember exactly how you found out about the scandal.

Fab Morvan y Rob Pilate, two young (important) black dancers (more important) who found themselves in the most cosmopolitan disco Berlin of the eighties, became the fable of rise and fall that would best explain the nineties, their cocaine addict fame and their end iconoclast, in favor of famous nihilists who smelled of joint. Since they danced well, but they sang just like you and me, al producer Frank Farian Nothing else occurred to him but repeat the “modus operandi” that had led him to break out with Boney M., and had Rob and Fav play “playback” of professional singers. The problem? That not even the public or even they knew, many times, that they were doing “playback.” With sarcasm, some bad temper and a lot of sense of humor to laugh at the ridiculousness of the matter at times, that is the story he prefers to tell. «Milli Vanilli. Girl You Know It’s True», which opens in theaters on March 27. No one is spared: neither the greedy producer, nor the boys blinded by fame, nor the Grammy Academy that gave them and took away an award, nor the record companies that played dumb, they all cooperated in the great deception and so it was. make it clear the “biopic”, which has been blessed by a Morvan who visited Madrid to interview LA RAZÓN and present the film.

Milli Vanilli's film opens in theaters on March 27
Milli Vanilli’s film opens in theaters on March 27YOUPLANET

Victims, executioners and guilt

«I didn’t even want to see the film, because of the emotional attachment it arouses in me, but it is such a crazy story that I wanted to see how they contained it. It’s literally unbelievable that it could really happen. No one had ever had a Grammy taken away from them, dammit. We were used as a scapegoat when record companies wanted to ignore the issue., as if we had found the architecture of deception and had done everything alone,” explains a Morvan hurt by the treatment received by the Press of the time, which put them in the crosshairs of the anger of the fans, who came to concentrate to burn his records: «When you do journalism, you have to investigate, paint as complete a picture as possible. The easy and sensational route was to blame ourselves alone. On TV you could only talk about Operation Desert Storm or Milli Vanilli. “That’s how big and iconic it was,” recalls the singer (because now he does sing, and very well, in fact).

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the film, in addition to discovering to an entire generation that “fake news” is as old as normal “news”, is putting the scandal into perspective. First from a strictly artistic point of view: «No one now has a problem with singing with vocal aids, or artificial intelligence. We, like artists today, decided to let ourselves be used. We were tools»; then, from a moral point of view: «I don’t like to play the victim. I take responsibility, but it’s not fair that Rob and I had to eat all that guilt cake., when there were many people involved. I’m guilty. Where is Frank? Where is the record company? “We allow ourselves to be seduced by that life, by fame, money and women”; and, finally, as a jumble of readings of class and race: «There was a lot of racism in how the topic was explained. We weren’t the two who had lied about singing, we were the two black people who had deceived people about singing,” Morvan eloquently confesses.

More than Michael Jackson’s fish that was named after his group, the half of Milli Vanilli that remains alive (Pilatus died of an overdose in the midst of a depressive spiral after the scandal) he remembers the first time he was aware of the height of his fame: «At Christmas 1987, I drew Rob on a napkin a crazy costume design and I told him that one day we would take him. “That’s exactly the clothes we wore to our first performance,” Morvan recalls, before explaining his own method of surviving the infamous disaster: “I’ve only gotten this far by believing in myself. As an artist and as a person. And, since I was left with nothing, the first thing I did was go back to teaching French. This is how I made a living for years after the scandal. Would Rob have been different if it happened today? Completely. Even the most useless and untalented of today’s artists has a voice on social media, they could defend themselves. If we had had our own platform, I think we would have even returned as a group. Singing us, of course. I don’t know if it’s kinder, but we do live in a world that respects the artist more as a person who feels and breathes.. “We never fully understood the industry, because we would have done it all for free,” he adds.

A global success

«I think the great triumph of the film is that people can understand how we felt. How we let ourselves be carried away by fame, but also by the pain of the entire subsequent process, of seeing ourselves exposed after being exploited.“, eating the shit out of an entire structure,” claims the artist, who also remembers his controversial producer: “It seems to me that the film paints a fair portrait of him and his power dynamics. He is a genius, as an artist, but as a person I don’t think he can ever forgive him », elegantly states Morvan.

“There was a lot of racism in how the topic was explained. We weren’t the two who had lied about singing, we were the two black people who had deceived people about singing.”

But how faithful to the truth is the film directed by Simon Verhoeven and that it is part of a holistic “revival” project that also includes a documentary for Paramount+ in the United States? Quite a bit, considering the sequences of drugs and unprofessional excesses that do not leave the dynamic duo in a very good position. On the crest of the wave, precisely when it was launched «Girl You Know It’s True», Milli Vanilli achieved three number ones, six platinum records and was the most requested song on MTV for months. They toured half the world (including a performance on TVE that is included in the film) and kept at least one song in Billboard’s Top 100 for 78 weeks in a row, an absolute record for newcomers and which ended up earning them a turnover of three million dollars for each between 1989 and 1990.

Canonical as a “biopic”, but different for its approach to the absurdity of deception, «Milli Vanilli. Girl You Know It’s True» It could well be defined as the truth behind the group’s big lie, a cautionary tale about the dangers of fame and an endless hangover from the crazy nineties.