Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Dave Franco to rock the mic like a vandal in Vanilla Ice biopic To The Extreme

Illustration for article titled Dave Franco to rock the mic like a vandal in Vanilla Ice biopic iTo The Extreme/i
Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images), Mick Hutson (Getty Images)

Would we ever have imagined that, 30 years after the release of “Ice Ice Baby,” we’d still be writing about Vanilla Ice? Just in the last few years we’ve seen the rapper get arrested for burglary, go viral from tweeting inside a quarantined airplane, and have his single covered by the cast of TV’s most popular show. Hell, it was only a few weeks ago that he canceled a Fourth of July concert that would’ve made attendees sicker than a poisonous mushroom. The kid don’t play.

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Now it appears Ice (née Rob Van Winkle) is getting the biopic treatment from someone versed in telling the stories of offbeat cultural icons. Dave Franco, who co-starred in The Disaster Artist, will play the rapper in To The Extreme, a 2018 Black List script that, per Franco, will soon head into pre-production. This news was quietly announced last year, it appears, but the actor opened up about the role in a new interview with Insider.

First and foremost, he says, don’t expect a hit piece or an over-the-top rendition of Ice. To The Extreme, per Franco, will exude the same kind of vibes that The Disaster Artist did in its depiction of gonzo auteur Tommy Wiseau. “With that movie, 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.

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Chris Goodwin and Phillip Van’s script chronicles Van Winkle’s struggles with “stardom, extortion attempts, and selling out” as it follows him from being “a high school dropout selling used cars in Dallas to having the first hip hop single to top the Billboard charts.” We look forward to seeing who they cast as Suge Knight.

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Franco also says he’s been spending some time getting to know Van Winkle in anticipation of the film. “Rob is such a sweet and intelligent guy and 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.”

Dunk on Van Winkle all you want, but the guy’s lived a tumultuous and eventful life that’s rich in conflict, whether it’s the stabbings and drug abuse or the mental reckoning that comes with being both a history-maker and a punchline. He’s in good hands with Franco, though. Not only was The Disaster Artist well-regarded—not by us, but still—but Franco’s directorial debut, The Rental, demonstrates that the young artist’s talents are far-ranging.

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But To The Extreme, like just about everything in Hollywood right now, will stay on hold as long as the coronavirus haunts the air. Will it ever stop? Yo, we don’t know.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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