Quick hypothesis: If you’ve got a problem. And a quick scientific solution: Yo, I’ll solve it. With these two steps clearly outlined in his smash dissertation “Ice Ice Baby” (not to mention an assist in the research by Queen), Vanilla Ice became an improbable hip-hop success in the 1990s. That single became, literally, the first hip-hop single to top the charts in America, and its album To the Extreme has gone septuple platinum. Since then, Ice (real name Robert Van Winkle) has struggled with many personal matters and a widespread cultura; evaluation as a punchline. But he is still making music to a surprisingly vital underground community. This wild rise-fall-rise story is rife for a cinematic portrayal. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s getting one, courtesy of Dave Franco.
Via Insider, Franco will be playing Vanilla Ice in an upcoming biopic about the man. The film, currently titled To the Extreme, comes from a Black List-making screenplay by Chris Goodwin and Phillip Van. Now, Vanilla Ice experts may know that Van Winkle himself has already dramatized a version of his own life in the 1991 camp cult classic Cold as Ice. But this project will take Ice a lot more seriously, feeling in a similar mold to Franco’s own The Disaster Artist or something like I, Tonya, also a reexamination of a ’90s punchline.
While quarantine has certainly halted some of the progress of the film, Franco said “we have been in development for a while but we are inching closer and closer to preproduction.” He also explicitly framed the movie’s goal next to The Disaster Artist, about Tommy Wiseau‘s making of The Room, notoriously seen as one of the worst movies ever: “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 also revealed he’s been speaking with the real Rob Van Winkle: “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. 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.” I’m not gonna lie to you: I’m a huge hip-hop fan, and have always written off Vanilla Ice as a curious and even annoying footnote. But it sounds like To the Extreme might make me take a deeper, more critical look at the life and times of Vanilla Ice, all centered by an interesting Franco performance.
The initial synopsis for To the Extreme, starring Dave Franco as Vanilla Ice, is below.
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.