EXCLUSIVE: Gia Coppola (Palo Alto) is in production on superfans: screaming. crying. throwing up., a documentary that she’s directing and producing for global nonfiction entertainment studio XTR and Jason Bateman and Michael Costigan’s Aggregate Films, via her company Detour.
The film celebrating the culture-shifting influence of boy band superfans is based on Larger Than Life: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS, a book by journalist and lifelong fangirl, Maria Sherman. It dives into the fangirl experiences, movements and markets of the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s, spotlighting the devoted girls, women and queer fans who have turned boy bands — including New Edition, New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, One Direction and BTS — into multibillion-dollar franchises that dominate both the airwaves and pop culture phenomena.
For decades, fangirls like Sherman have had their musical infatuations demonized as frivolous or feminine, and superfans will shed new light on the power of their passion. The documentary will explore a range of fan groups and the difference they’ve made beyond making these boy bands a success, from 1D fan-generated LGBTQIA+ movements to the BTS ARMY’s support of Black Lives Matter. superfans: screaming. crying. throwing up. will celebrate the special loyalty that lasts a lifetime between these fans and bands and the symbiotic relationship between them that heals each other through a therapeutic, all-consuming adoration.
Today’s XTR news follows the announcement that it will bring its docuseries Menudo: Forever Young, about the iconic Latin American boy band of the same name, to the Tribeca Film Festival, ahead of its bow on HBO Max. Sherman is exec producing superfans alongside Kathryn Everett, Kathleen Flood and Justin Lacob from Oscar-nominated studio XTR, and Bateman, Michael Costigan and Emma Ho from Aggregate Films.
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“When I started Larger Than Life half a decade ago, my ambition was to write something that did justice to boy band fans, to celebrate their enthusiasm, undeniable influence, and life-affirming joy. Telling that story on screen seemed like a total fantasy,” said Sherman. “superfans: screaming. crying. throwing up. could not be more appropriately titled; working with XTR, Aggregate, and the brilliant Gia Coppola is a dopamine hit that rivals shouting along to a pop song’s bridge. I mean, in the immortal words of One Direction, what a feeling!”
“I’m a proud pop fangirl, so the opportunity to translate Maria’s contemporary, sharp, fun book into documentary form, a format I’ve been craving to dabble in, is beyond exciting,” said Coppola. “I’m thrilled for the collaboration between the experienced creative partners at Aggregate and XTR.”
“We are thrilled to be working with XTR and Gia to help bring Maria’s brilliant book to life,” added Aggregate Films’ Ho. “The immense power and influence of boy band superfans are often overlooked and trivialized and I’m thrilled to be bringing people into this vibrant world.”
Coppola is a writer, director and producer who broke out with her 2013 Tribeca Film title Palo Alto, starring Emma Roberts, Jack Kilmer, Nat Wolff and James Franco. Her second feature Mainstream, starring Andrew Garfield and Maya Hawke, had its world premiere at the 2020 Venice Film Festival and was acquired by IFC Films. Also coming up from the multi-hyphenate is The Seven Faces of Jane, a feature weaving together eight different 8- to 12-minute short films, which she directed a portion of, along with Xan Cassavetes, Ken Jeong, Boma Iluma, Ryan Heffington, Julian Acosta, Alex Takacs and Gillian Jacobs. Coppola founded her creative media company Detour, which conceptualizes, develops, and produces story-based programming across all platforms, alongside producing partner Nick Iwataki Darmstaedter.
Sherman is a music writer and culture critic who has worked as a senior writer at Jezebel, managing editor at Gizmodo Media Group, senior correspondent at Fuse TV, and contributor and trending news editor at BuzzFeed. Her work has also been showcased at NPR and in numerous leading publications. Sherman’s first book, Larger Than Life, was released by Hachette imprint Black Dog and Leventhal in July of 2020.
Since its inception in 2019, XTR has produced and financed over 80 documentaries, including They Call Me Magic on Apple TV+; MTV Documentary Films’ Oscar-nominated Ascension; and the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning 76 Days. Other upcoming projects from the studio include the Dungeons & Dragons documentary Role Players, the doc Miss Cleo on the 1990s TV psychic of the same name, and trading card pic The Hobby.
Aggregate is a production company founded by Bateman and partner Costigan which creates film, television, documentary, and unscripted programming across all platforms. The company most recently released the fifth season of Ozark for Netflix; A Teacher, starring Kate Mara and Nick Robinson; and The Outsider on HBO, starring Ben Mendelson and Cynthia Erivo. Other upcoming projects include the Netflix romantic comedy Your Place or Mine, from writer-director Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada), which will star Reese Witherspoon; and the Apple TV+ limited series Lessons in Chemistry, starring Brie Larson, from Unbelievable‘s Susannah Grant.
Coppola is represented by CAA, Untitled Entertainment and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum.
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