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THE LOU PEARLMAN STORY With Director Aaron Kunkel and Lance Bass!

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As an unapologetic fan of the boy band phenomenon, I used to be so tremendous excited to have the chance to talk with director Aaron Kunkel and government producer Lance Bass about their new documentary THE BOY BAND CON: THE LOU PEARLMAN STORY. The movie chronicles the pop music mogul’s descent into greediness and down proper fraud because the ring chief of one of many nation’s largest Ponzi schemes ever. I hope you take pleasure in my chat with the filmmakers as we go over the story and the way they conveyed the craziness of their documentary. 

Annette Kellerman:
It is nice to satisfy you guys. Thanks for taking time to speak about this loopy story. After all, everybody has to know, however how did this all come collectively? How did the movie … Lance, was it you are very private connection to it, or … How did all of it crystallize?

Lance Bass:
Nicely, it is a story I’ve at all times needed to inform trigger I, as being somebody that lived it, knew how fascinating this character was, and most of the people did not know the total story. They knew the music facet of it, however there’s such a a lot greater story to Lou Pearlman. So, I knew I needed to inform a narrative… however after I received closure with Lou. I did not know he was gonna move away final summer time. I used to be considering sooner or later Lou would apologize or take accountability, after which I’d be like, “Okay let’s do a film on you then, and have you ever communicate your peace on everybody.” 

Bass:
That clearly will not be the movie that we ended up making. And so these guys began growth a pair years in the past, with Matt [Ducey] right here, and Aaron, and Pilgrim. And, they referred to as me as soon as YouTube got here on board and stated, “Okay, would you want to assist us produce this?” I cherished the concept. That is precisely who I needed to work with and inform the story, however I knew the casting was gonna be the tough a part of it.

Kellerman:
That is considered one of my questions for certain. Had been folks reluctant to kinda rehash all of this? Are you able to elaborate on that and the way you reached out to folks, and have been capable of get them to sit down down and share their experiences?

Aaron Kunkel:
Yeah, particularly with a narrative like this, there’s loads of reluctance in wanting to return and re-live tough components of your life. Firstly, it makes you actually grateful for everybody who stated sure, as a result of it is lots to ask, and it is loads of belief that individuals need to put into you that you simply’re gonna inform the story the proper manner, and symbolize them the proper manner. I believe loads of that belief got here from Lance. Everyone knew him … Lance being on board with this and Lance wanting to inform this the proper manner, and inform the actual story for the primary time I believe was what impressed so many of those band members and so many individuals concerned with this story to truly need to come on board and inform the reality for the primary time. And inform their facet of the story for the primary time. That is one thing you possibly can’t low cost. That is precisely what you want in a documentary. You simply want belief. You want all people to belief that you’ll inform the proper story, and inform it the proper manner. That is why we’re actually lucky that he is one of the crucial real and fantastic folks on the earth. Everyone knew that he was going to do it the proper manner.

Bass:
Each story that is been advised on Lou Pearlman has been very darkish and salacious. It is all been intercourse, medicine, and rock’n’roll. It was a lot greater than that, so we needed to make it possible for we had as unbiased of a movie as we may. Simply inform the actual story. We had loads of opposition. There’s one huge publicist that was Lou’s right-hand man, that has been attempting to cease this from the day we began, calling everybody in like, “Do not do Lance’s doc. If you happen to do Lance’s doc, he is gonna make this horrible movie.” Within the meantime, he is been attempting to place collectively a documentary as successful piece.

Kunkel:
We have been attempting to actually do the alternative, which was make a narrative that truly advised the actual story for the primary time. There are lots of people that weren’t simply apprehensive as a result of they did not need to re-live all this, however they have been apprehensive as a result of the individuals who truly lived this story noticed Lou as a three-dimensional individual. Not as a monster, like loads of issues have depicted him as. As an illustration, Johnny Wright, Backstreet and ‘N Sync’s supervisor stated no initially. He did not need to be part of it.

Kunkel:
However as soon as Lance introduced him in to look at our tough reduce, he was similar to, “No, that is how the story ought to have been advised. I’d like to be part of this.”

Kellerman:
He ended up government producing, proper?

Kunkel:
We scrambled actually quick.

Bass:
He helped us with the music.

Kunkel:
Yeah, he helped us lots with the music too as a result of that was one other concern. 

Kellerman:
Yeah, that was gonna be considered one of my questions. How do you dance round that?

Kunkel:
The music writers have been fearful. They have been fearful additionally as a result of primary, clearly, I am certain they did not essentially wanna be part of a really salacious doc, but additionally they’d a superb working relationship with Lou.

Bass:
The writers by no means received screwed. They made a ton of cash!

Kunkel:
They’d a superb relationship with him, and did not actually have any need to be a part of successful piece. That is the place Johnny was superior. It was loads of getting it in entrance of them, and being like, “No, please simply watch what we truly did.” After which they noticed it and so they have been like, “Yeah we log off on all of it. You guys did it the proper manner.”

Bass:
There’s nonetheless a few Backstreet songs I want we coulda used. 

Kellerman:
Perhaps with the prolonged reduce. 

 

Bass: Sure! Extras!

 

Kellerman: Are there any tales that you simply determined to not embody? I think about there’s a ton of fabric there. Is there something particularly you possibly can discuss, or is that not one thing you wanna convey up? Or simply thematically did not work, so far as the story goes?

Bass:
There’s loads of issues we did not wanna use as a result of we did not know 100% of the info. We did not need to have a conspiracy idea about something. Once we speak concerning the pedophilia sort factor, we’ve got no info, and so we let Aaron Carter inform his story, and that is how we touched on it. Everybody heard the rumors, effectively here is from the horse’s mouth. That is what he says occurred. 

Kunkel:
There have been loads of issues that received streamlined simply because we did not wanna rumor-monger. We did not need to be the type of doc that’s simply presenting every little thing that has been heard, ever, and doubtlessly presenting that as reality. We needed to ensure issues have been as corroborated as potential, and as journalistic as potential, to inform this story the best way that every one these guys have been wanting to inform all of it these years.

Kellerman:
How did you get collectively all the archival stuff? There have to be a ton of archival stuff. Was that a few of your private stuff Lance, or did it’s a must to supply it out to those that have been round in the course of the early days?

Kunkel:
It was loads of each, like Lance and his mother introduced us loads of nice stuff. Lots of it was simply discovering outdated footage of the blokes from YouTube or wherever we may discover it. However then additionally, loads of Lou’s private stuff again from when he was a baby, got here from Alan, his childhood finest buddy that simply had loads of stuff from when Alan and he have been working collectively. Alan, a ton of the time, had a digicam with him, and was filming issues, which was a filmmaker’s dream.

Bass:
He was undoubtedly considered one of my favourite topics within the movie.

Kunkel:
And the truth that it was in the end disappointing that we could not have Lou as part of the story to inform his a part of the story…

Kellerman:
Proper, the counterpoint.

Kunkel:
Trigger he’d handed away, however that is why it was simply one other extremely lucky factor for the movie that Alan was somebody who occurred to document each cellphone name he had ever had, so we have been interviewing him and he was like, “Would you want all these cellphone calls I had with Lou when he was calling me from jail?”

Bass:
That is so necessary as a result of Lou at all times placed on this façade. He was papa Lou, so he was simply your loved ones, you really liked him. You belief him a lot, and then you definitely’re listening to these cellphone conversations. You hear the actual Lou. You hear that kinda evil facet popping out like, oh okay, you are true colours are displaying now.

Kellerman:
Not solely that, however he form of offered the proof that his nefariousness…is that the phrase?

Kunkel:
Nefariousness!

Kellerman:
There you go. This was one thing that was ongoing from early in his entrepreneur world, in order that I assume was actually priceless to have Alan and his perspective.

Kunkel:
It was a beautiful present that we received from the universe that we had all that. It allowed us to truly actually and figuratively have his voice within the documentary

Kellerman:
Creatively talking, you’ve gotten this treasure trove of all this archival stuff, however you additionally selected to movie the screaming women and the dancing guys from behind, and the shadowy Lou character. Are you able to discuss wanting to incorporate that?

 

Kunkel:
Yeah, we needed one thing … There is a couple causes. One, we needed a extremely stunning B-roll, and taking pictures that kinda stuff was simply nice at bringing the atmospheric and really feel of these conditions into it. Typically, when these guys have been getting began, there weren’t the very best cameras on the earth that have been filming them. So, going again I am similar to, it is not like a film from the 80s or earlier than the place it is similar to “Oh we received all this superior archival footage, and it is all movie and eight millimeter or 16 millimeter. It was simply the appearance of digital expertise. So clearly there’s loads of that within the doc too, however we needed one thing to actually convey that really feel from all of that. Early on, we had a extremely nice observe from considered one of our government producers, Sarba, who stated, “It will be superior, particularly since there’s so little footage of Lou, to search out some bodily illustration of him within the film.” In the end, that is why we selected him at his desk in his workplace as a result of it is good. It is the place the blokes would come go to him, and have their conferences.

Bass:
That was him! Behind his desk in his workplace.

Kunkel:
It is the place he could be doing his enterprise offers. It is the place even a few of the monetary traders got here and met with him to be satisfied to speculate. So many components of it got here from that, and in the end he was a enterprise man in all of this, so we thought it was the proper illustration of him.

Bass:
And to me, I like this doc. I’ve produced loads of movies and that is artwork to me. The best way that they shot that is simply so stunning, and so they’re so happy with it. Anybody can inform the story, interview folks, nice. However, it is a piece of artwork.

 

Kellerman:
Yeah, it seems very nice. One of many different selections that I preferred, and I do not know if this was your thought, or your [to Bass] thought, is you clearly have the interviews with people, however then a few of my favourite stuff was simply you and your mother rehashing it. I guess that went on and on.

Bass:
We truly picked that up on the very finish. I used to be on trip in Florida then. He shot us in our apartment.

Kunkel:
It was your mother and father’ anniversary that we crashed?

Bass:
Yeah.

Kellerman:
It is simply so private too trigger you are like-

Bass:
I believed it was so necessary as a result of it’s. It is a completely different dialog while you’re simply speaking … My mother’s over there. Hey mother. [we all wave at Bass’ mom] You get the actual, authentic-

Kellerman:
You are bouncing off of each other and similar to, “Are you able to consider”-

Bass:
The opposite factor we did, we did a sit down with me and AJ McLean on the sofa, and we simply began hashing issues out, and began telling like, “Wait, did Lou inform you this?” We did not put that in. It simply did not match within the movie, however there was some actually nice stuff. 

 

Kunkel:
Bonus scenes.

Kellerman:
Bonus scenes for certain!

Kunkel:
That is clearly a narrative with large, epic proportions of all of the bands and every little thing that was occurring, however in the end it is also a really intimate and private story of the best way that these folks’s lives have been affected by all this. That is why Lance and his mother have been so superior as a result of they introduced that intimacy to every little thing that was occurring. Not simply because she’s within the room, however Diane’s one of the crucial fantastic folks on the earth so we simply needed extra of her.

Kellerman:
Had been there any … like for Johnny Wright, any person who’s a veteran within the enterprise of boy bands… It wasn’t touched on within the movie, however in hindsight, have been there crimson flags for him? Did he ever elaborate on that in any respect?

Bass:
No, he by no means elaborated on it, however I am certain he … He is by no means actually had a dialog with me about any type of crimson flags, but when it is something just like the crimson flags that have been thrown at us from our president of our label. He was the nicest man, and I bear in mind once we have been in Vegas and he had the craziest look on his face, like he was simply so disillusioned about Lou. He lastly admitted, he was like, “You don’t have any thought how a lot cash we’ve got to pay him for y’all to get a penny.” He goes, “We’re going bankrupt for a way a lot we’ve got to pay him simply in order that he offers y’all scraps.” It was simply … it was killing him. Then I am like, “Oh, there’s something mistaken. That is loopy, that the president of our label could be very involved about Lou.”

Kellerman:
There’s not too long ago the Fyre Competition doc, which is form of one other story of this grasp manipulator.

Bass:
Simply lies, lies, lies.

Kellerman:
Yeah. I simply discovered these loopy parallels, and I simply thought, “Oh yeah, this documentary’s gonna … Already it has an viewers, however then there’s this newfound curiosity in these sociopaths who can simply rip folks off- 

Bass:
It’s good timing. We had no clue that every one these music docs could be popping out this 12 months, and it is nice. I am so completely happy that individuals will get to see all of these as a result of I hope it helps somebody not fall into any of these traps. If it will possibly train any kinda lesson to anybody, then it is value it. Hopefully folks will take this cautionary story and ensure it does not occur to them.

Kunkel:
It is considered one of our favourite themes of the film, it is simply the unpacking of reality and lies, and what makes you consider a lie, and whether or not that is affirmation bias or your suggestions loops, or no matter. It is one thing all of us fall sufferer to each time you go on Twitter, all people falls sufferer to it. I believe it is such an applicable story, and necessary story for these occasions despite the fact that it occurred some time in the past. How do folks get manipulated, so hopefully we are able to all study from that, and ensure it is not occurring to us in our personal lives.

 

Kellerman:
It was most likely necessary for you Lance, personally, to clear your title for all these traders that principally misplaced their life financial savings. You have been the poster youngsters for what an awesome funding it was…

Bass:
We have been the carrot that they have been dangling in entrance of individuals, saying, “Have a look at the success of those guys. I can convey you this success.” It is unhappy that we have been utilized in that manner.

Kellerman:
Yeah, however it’s nice to kinda redeem your self on this manner. It isn’t precisely successful piece, however there’s not loads of redeeming qualities.

Bass:
There actually is not. We’re completely happy that we gave a platform for them to talk their peace.

Kellerman:
Had been there any type of reparations made to the individuals who received ripped off in his scheme?

Kunkel:
I consider that in the end, he stole round $500 million and so they recovered round $37 million. The factor that was actually unlucky was loads of the cash he stole additionally got here from banks. As a result of the banks had essentially the most invested, they have been one of many first ones to get reimbursed. So in the end, I believe it was pennies on the greenback that anyone received again, in the event that they received any.

Bass:
The sequel is discovering the place the cash is hidden.

Kellerman:
Sure! That is what I used to be gonna ask. I am like, “You understand it is on the market. You understand it is on the market, and also you need it to return to those individuals who believed him.” Actually shortly, speak concerning the resolution over the top credit to have everybody studying his quotes, and the place did you get these quotes?

Kunkel:
These have been quotes from his life, from numerous occasions. Whether or not from his books or no matter that he had stated, and once more it was a mirrored image again on having folks inside his life learn again his personal phrases and simply react to it. That was actually what we did. We simply at all times had quotes prepared, and we have been like, “Simply learn this, and react on digicam to it.” And each time it was similar to what AJ stated. I do not know if I can swear right here, however he was similar to, “That is bullshit.” It is so many occasions that Lou would simply twist the reality or he’d simply speak and speak and speak, and finally you forgot what query you had requested. Stuff like that. That can be very current to as we speak’s day and age. We simply needed to permit all people one final time to mirror on that. It is good that AJ’s bullshit line permits us to finish on not less than a bit chuckle, versus the actually unhappy stuff that the remainder of the film is.

Bass:
The ending of the movie, each time I watch it, I tear up. You get these goosebumps, and it is simply so emotional. We wanted that little, “Okay.” That little chuckle on the end-

Kellerman:
Just a bit topper to not depart everybody so down and out.

Bass:
On the finish of the day, you do need to chuckle at it. Life is loopy, and you’ll’t drive your self loopy with the errors that you simply made or how somebody handled you. You study from it. Thank goodness you could go ahead.

Kellerman:
Yeah, trigger there’s in the end, little or no decision that is gonna come from it. It simply is what it’s.

Kunkel:
The decision is hopefully simply that anyone who watches can study from it, each on the leisure side-

Bass:
As a result of it is nonetheless occurring.

Kunkel:
Be sure to get an leisure lawyer to have a look at your-

Bass:
I am certain the Okay-pop manufacturing unit … they don’t seem to be having any good offers popping out of that-

Kellerman:
Yeah, most likely so. I consider it. Nicely, I most likely have to wrap it up, I assume.

Publicist:
You have received a couple of extra minutes.

Kellerman:
I do?

Publicist:
You bought right here early, lady. You are on it.

Kellerman:
You kinda went into it, however Trans Con, Lou’s umbrella firm, had all these subsidiaries like TCBY and Chippendale’s. What occurred to these entities?

Kunkel:
I believe he misplaced loads of them earlier than he went to jail. We all know loads of it went to the state, after which was bought off with a purpose to attempt to assist get reparations for everyone who misplaced cash. I do not know if TCBY particularly was nonetheless within the equation at that time. Or Chippendale’s.

Bass:
He had one franchise.

Kunkel:
Yeah, that is right.

Bass:
This is among the first lies he ever advised me. I might go, TCBY. I am like, “Nicely, I like TCBY. That is nice. I did not know that was yours.”

Bass:
“Yeah, Trans Continental Yogurt”

Kunkel:
What did he say the ‘B’ stood for?

Bass:
I don’t know. I used to be like, “That is so cool.” 

Kellerman:
I do know. Why would you not consider … I am naïve generally, so I might be like, “Oh, cool!” Yeah, why would you query it?

Kunkel:
One thing else that makes me give it some thought, is loads of occasions what I believe folks like this could do is that they make the lie so particular that it makes you not need to query it. If any person’s mendacity to you about all these blimps they’ve, and planes, and all this kinda stuff, and so they can so particularly discuss all of it, after which can title folks. Just like the best way he at all times advised the paper boy story that we’ve got in there. What we heard from folks is that he would truly say the names of the person from Dunkin’ Donuts that he had made the take care of. But it surely was some made up title, of some man that by no means labored for Dunkin’ Donuts. However, it is so particular that it makes you not query what it was.

Bass:
That is the signal of a real narcissist too. They lie so effectively, and so typically, that they begin believing each single factor they created.

Kellerman:
My gosh. So disturbing. Is there something that you simply want you can return and add, or is every little thing simply good?

 

Bass:
Oh man, I believe you at all times query on the finish as a result of now that it is popping out, and it is getting a lot consideration, persons are popping out of the woodwork being like, “I’ve my story.” 

Kunkel:
I believe any person talked about in your Instagram account that they’ve tales for you, only recently. Any individual despatched me an image of similar to, “Come speak to me. I used to be a PA at Transcontinental. I’ve tales.”

Kellerman:
Sequel. Discover the cash.

Bass:
There’s so lots of these sort of issues, and I am on tour with O-City proper now. We have been within the dressing room, and so they simply began telling me all their German experiences, which we did not even get into. There’s loads of layers to this sorta stuff. Perhaps if these folks come to us, and we get one thing legit, and we consider it, and it is factual, there may very well be a second half to this.

Kellerman:
Has there been any … You talked about that some folks, professionally, did not need to contact it. However personally, has there been any blow again from folks in his private life?

 

Kunkel:
Not to date trigger truthfully, the general public perceive that Lou wasn’t an ideal individual. In loads of methods, such as you stated, he did loads of irredeemable issues. However, folks did appear to understand that it wasn’t successful piece. That we advised a narrative a couple of three dimensional individual, not a monster on the market on the earth. We actually tried to determine who he was, and why he did what he did. I believe, to date, no. Hopefully folks admire that we actually did attempt to take that method to telling it.

Kellerman:
I additionally discovered it so fascinating, the entire unique blimp story. Apparently, it is type of apparent in hindsight that it was a fraud scenario. 

Bass:
That is what began all of it. It was his first tax fraud we expect we all know of. That is what received him to maneuver to Orlando, and begin the entire thing.

Kellerman:
Alan  was part of that, however he did not have something to do with the insurance coverage coverage fraud.

Bass:
No, no. Alan had no thought. When he discovered about it, that is after I suppose the primary falling out for him and Lou occurred was when he discovered that this was all an enormous rip-off.

Kellerman:
Though he clearly was an fanatic, and had a factor for aircrafts and stuff, so he was in a position to make use of that as his first ruse. So loopy.

Kunkel:
And he is simply principally stealing his love for it from Alan within the first place. Alan advised us this story that Lou would at all times discuss, and even in his books, he would discuss how he would look out his window and watch the blimps taking off within the airport. And we’re in Alan’s house that he had grown up in and he was similar to, “Look, here is the airport.” After which he took us out within the hallway and confirmed us Lou’s house was on the opposite facet of the constructing, so he could not even see the airport. So he had actually simply taken the story Alan had at all times advised about his personal childhood, and used it as his story.

Kellerman:
So pathological. It is superb. Lance, I’d simply be so conflicted having such a private expertise with it, and to be duped by somebody in your loved ones too. It isn’t simply you it’s-

Bass:
It is the feelings. It is exhausting to really feel precisely what I am speculated to be feeling. I believe that is what we achieve this effectively about this movie. I believe on the finish, everybody kinda feels, do I really feel sorry for him? Do I hate him? You do not know precisely what try to be feeling about this individual, which is nice as a result of that is how all of us really feel.

Kellerman:
Precisely. It is simply actually unhappy. 

Bass:
It’s. As a result of he may’ve had the world. He may’ve been one of many largest music moguls in historical past.

Kellerman:
Yeah. It was an awesome thought. It was actually stable, and it labored. He simply could not not be grasping.

Kunkel:
When the boy bands have been at their peak, he may’ve used that to repay the scheme, however he did not.

Kellerman:
However he did not. He simply stored going. Stored going, and it snowballed … So, you’ve gotten your huge premiere tomorrow, proper? That is so thrilling. I noticed the screener. I am dying that I am unable to be there for the premiere. 

Bass:
We’re excited to see it in an enormous theater.

Kellerman:
And that is an awesome theater. I’ve seen loads of rock docs there, and I do not know they simply play effectively … it is one thing about the old fashioned with the brand new… Anyway, you guys are gonna have a good time.

Kunkel:
I will be within the again, throwing up.

Kellerman:
You are gonna be a bit nervous. You possibly can simply go conceal. It will be effective. I am actually excited for you guys. It is such a cool competition to premier a movie like this. However then additionally, that venue and every little thing is fairly superb.

Kunkel:
It is the proper competition for it. It is that combination of movie and music.

Kellerman:
Yeah, precisely. And the music is kicking off as we speak just about, so it is about to get loopy up in right here.

Kunkel:
Hopefully we’ll get loads of music followers to see the doc. 

Kellerman:
I believe you’ll. Positively. They’re going to be lining up for all that. And you will have Johnny Wright right here, too?

Bass:
He cannot come.

Kunkel:
He cannot come, however we’ve got … Joey’s gonna be right here. Which is one other nice story from the doc, that Joey did not wanna be part of it. He was apprehensive about all of it after which he noticed it, and now he needs to assist us help it, and discuss it right here at South By.

Kellerman:
That is so nice. That is so good to have turned folks’s opinion. However I can see why folks could be apprehensive at first.

Bass:
Completely comprehensible

Kellerman:
Yeah, however it’s a loopy story that must be advised. It is the kind of factor you wanna be like, “No, that is the way it went down.” I am truthfully stunned that it took this lengthy for it to return to life. I do suppose it is good timing, so I am actually excited for you guys.

Kunkel:
The timing is fairly good.

Kellerman:
Alright fellas, thanks a lot for this. I’m really such an enormous fan of the movie and I can’t wait to unfold the phrase!

 

 

Kunkel:

Thanks a lot.

 

Bass:

Thanks.

 

 

And there you’ve gotten it- my in depth chat with the director and the boy band royalty who lastly introduced the actual story of the final word Svengali to the display. Their doc celebrated its world premiere at this 12 months’s SXSW Movie Competition and may have two extra screenings on 3/14 and three/16. For these of you not becoming a member of in on the competition insanity in Austin, YouTube Originals presents the Pilgrim Media Group and Lance Bass Productions movie on 4/3. I extremely suggest it.


Thanks for studying,
Rebecca Elliott
Aka Annette Kellerman

 


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