Dave Franco to play Vanilla Ice in biopic

Tom Butler
·Senior Editor
·2-min read
Portrait of singer Vanilla Ice backstage at a club in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2, 1990.  (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
Portrait of singer Vanilla Ice backstage at a club in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2, 1990. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Now You See Me star Dave Franco is working on a Vanilla Ice biopic in which he’ll play the US rapper, real name Rob Van Winkle.

Talking to Insider about his directorial debut The Rental (UK release TBC), Franco revealed that he’d been working on a film about the Ice Ice Baby performer for some time, and that it was close to getting off the ground.

"We have been in development for a while but we are inching closer and closer to preproduction," Franco said about the biopic, called To The Extreme.

Franco, younger brother of actor-director James Franco, says the film will be similar in tone to the Oscar-nominated The Disaster Artist, the film he made with his brother about Tommy Wiseau and cult film The Room.

CITY OF INDUSTRY, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 18: Dave Franco attends the Los Angeles advanced screening of IFC's "The Rental" at Vineland Drive-In on June 18, 2020 in City of Industry, California. Available in select theaters, drive-ins, and On Demand July 24.  (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
Dave Franco attends the Los Angeles advanced screening of IFC's "The Rental" at Vineland Drive-In on June 18, 2020. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

"With [The Disaster Artist], people expected us to make a broad comedy where we make fun of Tommy Wiseau, but the more real we played it, the funnier and heartfelt it was — that's the tone we want for this one as well," Franco said.

Read more: Coronavirus fears freeze Vanilla Ice’s concert plans

The film was originally announced in 2019 in Production Weekly with the synopsis: "From a high school dropout selling cars in Dallas to having the first hip-hop single to top the Billboard charts with Ice Ice Baby, a young Vanilla Ice struggles with stardom, extortion attempts, and selling out as he makes music history."

Chris Goodwin and Phil Van have written the screenplay which appeared on the 2018 Black List, a list of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood.

Rap singer Vanilla Ice in 1991. (AP Photo)
Rap singer Vanilla Ice in 1991. (AP Photo)

As well as having the first hip-hop single to top the Billboard charts, his first album To the Extreme was the fastest selling hip hop album of all time, and spent 16 weeks atop the Billboard 200, and sold 11 million copies.

He briefly dated Madonna in 1990 and appeared in her photobook Sex, he made a cameo and provided a song for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, and starred in his own movie Cool As Ice in 1991.

The Insider profile also reveals that Franco has written as rom-com with his wife Alison Brie during the coronavirus lockdown in which he plans to direct her.