Lance Bass to Executive Produce Lou Pearlman Documentary for YouTube Red
"I wanted to do the official doc that everyone would trust and get the real story out," says Bass.
The story of the late notorious boy-band impresario and accused Ponzi schemer Lou Pearlman is coming to YouTube Red. The company on Tuesday announced that it has ordered The Lou Pearlman Project (working title) for later this year, with former *NSYNC member Lance Bass on board as an executive producer.
"I just finished shooting a documentary on the life and death of Lou Pearlman, and it was so fascinating," Bass told Billboard's Pop Shop Podcast in an interview that will debut later Tuesday on iTunes and Billboard.com. "One, I'm a documentary filmmaker and it's one of my favorite things that I do, and it's my passion, so when this subject came up, I've always wanted to cover Lou and see exactly what his life was like. There were so many things I didn't even know about Lou Pearlman until I started doing this documentary. I got the *NSYNC guys, Backstreet Boys, O-Town, you name it, all the artists that were under Transcontinental and Lou Pearlman, even Justin's mom, my mother, all different angles of the Lou Pearlman story will be told on this documentary."
The film will go inside Pearlman's double life, promising that behind the "multi-billion-dollar, pop-idol empire was a con artist who established himself as a maverick entrepreneur and music producer." The doc promises to serve up the "unfiltered" story, from Pearlman's remarkable success to his death at 62 in 2016 while serving a 25-year sentence for money laundering, conspiracy and other felony charges tied to one of the longest-running Ponzi schemes in U.S. history.
The film is being produced by Pilgrim Media Group and will feature interviews with members of many of the boy bands Pearlman elevated to world stardom, including *NSYNC's JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick and Bass, Backstreet Boys' AJ McLean, O-Town's Ashley Parker Angel, Aaron Carter and Take 5, as well as the mothers of Bass and fellow *NSYNC star Justin Timberlake (Lynn Bomar Harless). The doc also will feature interviews with entertainment industry experts who will speak about the "meteoric rise of the man responsible for these mega-acts, while federal agents, former friends and colleagues, and victims of Pearlman’s unprecedented Ponzi scheme and other scams candidly expose the abuse and fraud that culminated in his stunning undoing."
Pearlman parlayed a blimp-rental business into an Orlando, Florida-based boy-band machine that launched BSB, *NSYNC and several others to mega-stardom in the mid- and late-1990s and an entertainment juggernaut that collapsed in a barrage of fraud lawsuits by nearly all of his former protégés and the revelation of a decades-long, $300 million Ponzi scheme that bilked a long list of investors.
“Viewers are going to be captivated by these riveting stories from some of the biggest names in music as they recount the extraordinary challenges they’ve faced on their rise to fame,” said Susanne Daniels, YouTube's global head of original content in a statement. “Music is wildly popular on our platform, and this documentary gives fans a level of access to the true stories and real life highs and lows of their favorite artists that they can’t find anywhere else.”
The Lou Pearlman Project is being produced for the subscription YouTube Red service by Pilgrim Media Group; Craig Piligian, Nicholas Caprio and Sam Korkis are executive producers.
"I wanted to do the official doc that everyone would trust and get the real story out," Bass tells Billboard. "A lot of people want to make a salacious story about everything that happened. But I want to make the true story and, like I said, I learned so much more than I ever knew."
Additional reporting by Katie Atkinson.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.