Dave Franco may be prepping for the wide release of his directorial debut The Rental, but he’s not planning on slowing down. The actor is set to play 90s rapper Vanilla Ice in a new biopic film titled To The Extreme, which is also the title of Vanilla Ice’s 1990 album that included the hit single “Ice Ice Baby” and sold 15 million copies worldwide.
Vanilla Ice became an overnight sensation after the single’s release, going on to date Madonna and star in his own movie Cool as Ice. His stardom quickly faded once people began to regard him as a one-hit-wonder. Since then he’s become a regular on reality TV, worked with Jedward and still performs to his collection of loyal fans.
News of the biopic was quietly released in early 2019 through trade publication Production Weekly and included the longline: “From a highschool 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.”
Franco told Insider that if the project is done right, it will very much be like The Disaster Artist which was a hugely successful biopic directed by Franco’s older brother James. Dave Franco says not to expect an over-the-top rendition of Vanilla Ice but expect the same vibes that The Disaster Artist did with its depiction of Tommy Wiseau.
“With that movie, people expected us to make a broad comedy where we make fun of Tommy Wiseau,” Franco told Insider. “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 has been preparing for the role by developing his character by speaking to Vanilla Ice, whose real name is Rob Van Winkle. “He’s been super helpful in the process of getting all the details correct and making us privy to information the public doesn’t know,” Franco said. “Just talking to him I can’t help but think about the rabbit holes I’m going to go down to get ready for the role.”
With production still shut down across the country due to COVID-19, Franco confirmed that the project has yet to set a production start date and that there is no director currently attached to the film, but expressed his excitement at diving into the film and role.
Words by Charlie Vogelsang