Rapper/actress Lil Mama is convinced Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes was watching over her as she portrayed the tragic star in a new Tlc biopic after experiencing a series of spooky incidents on set. The Waterfalls hitmaker was killed in a car crash in 2002 and Lil Mama is bringing her back to life on TV for Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story, alongside Keke Palmer as Rozanda 'Chilli' Thomas and Drew Sidora as Tionne 'T-Boz' Watkins.
They shot the film earlier this year (13) and Lil Mama, real name Niatia Kirkland, was left spooked by what she believes was the spirit of Left Eye.
She tells U.S. talk show host Wendy Williams, "Stuff was knocking over on set and every time I did a dark scene, an ambulance would pass by, or a siren, and then it (production) had to shut down and I'd get these really deep moments to think right before I shoot (sic).
"Drew and I shot a scene and she was like, 'Did you notice that every time you shoot a dark scene this happens?' And I looked at her and said, 'Yes.'"
Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story airs on VH1 in America on Monday (21Oct13).
When VH1 announced their upcoming made-for-television movie biopic about '90s supergroup TLC, fans everywhere experienced that uncomfortable feeling of excitement and sheer terror. Biopics are like film adaptations of your favorite books – done well, they can be amazing experiences. Done badly, or improperly cast and they become on-screen catastrophes. We are seriously hoping that Crazy, Sexy, Cool: The TLC Story will not inspire the latter experience, but we can’t be sure.
VH1 has released the teaser-trailer for the movie, and they definitely nailed the look. Drew Sidora, Lil Mama, and Keke Palmer have been totally transformed into T-Boz, Left-Eye, and Chilli, but that just tells us that the hair, make-up and wardrobe department was on point. What about everything else? Like, the actual storyline, and the actual performances delivered? This trailer makes the movie look like it could be fun, but it might also just be weird. One of the biggest girl groups ever deserves a proper biopic, not a series of clips showcasing some young actors playing dress-up.
Now here’s the good news. Crazy, Sexy, Cool: The TLC Story was directed by Charles Stone III, the same guy who brought us Drumline and Paid In Full. Now neither of these movies are critically-acclaimed Oscar winners, but they were both highly entertaining, respected works. We’re not expecting VH1 to deliver anything along the lines of Ray, or 8 Mile, or What’s Love Got To Do With It. But it would be nice to see a decent tribute to the women of TLC, whose work so impacted many of our young lives. We’ll find out soon enough if all these concerns are valid or not.
VH1’s Crazy, Sexy, Cool: The TLC Story airs on October 21.
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Anchored by the fact that the demise of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes has provided the most consistent source of sadness for me over the course of the past decade, I approach the developing TLC movie with apprehension. The VH1 film has sat dormant in the works for quite some time, first gracing the pop culture conscious in 2011 — three years after remaining members Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas and Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins revived the R&B band as a two-man operation. Vulture announces now that the music television network is picking up speed, casting a musician and two musician-actresses to play the iconic 1990s trio: Lil Mama, Keke Palmer, and Step Up star Drew Sidora.
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It might raise concerns that Lil Mama — while perhaps the biggest name on the cast list, is also the only of the three without any acting credits to her name — has been handed the role of Left Eye, who will ostensibly play the focal point of the movie's narration. Having lost her life tragically in a car accident at the age of 30, the drama and sorrow of Left Eye's story is likely to command the most attention from VH1's writing staff. As such, music artist and America's best Dance Crew judge Lil Mama, born Naitia Kirkland, will be exhibiting a brand new form of artistic express in this film, and in large doses.
Palmer, on the other hand, has been tested duly in the cinematic. Owning the title role in Akeelah and the Bee, recurring in Tyler Perry's madea franchise, and headlining the sitcom True Jackson, we'll be investing a tad more confidence in the actress' capabilities in handling singer Chilli. The lesser known Sidora also has a slew of big and small screen roles to her name, most notably on That's So Raven and in films like Step Up and Wild Hogs.
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Call us cynical, but this is a few rungs shy of an dream cast. While we must keep in mind that a VH1 movie is likely to split its time evenly between acting and singing, we'd still like a big screen-caliber production when handling the story of TLC. This isn't just any nostalgic pop band we're talking about — people love the hell out of TLC. Nobody born before 1993 has managed to get through life without being part of a highway sing-along to "No Scrubs." Nobody can resist a slow, rhythmic head-bob and soulful pantomime when "Waterfalls" hits the radio waves. And nobody can think about the dynamic trio without sighing wistfully, at least a bit.
Still, we have hope. This might not be gearing up to be the musical biopic of the decade, but we're excited to see what the impassioned forces at work have in store for our beloved TLC.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter.
[Photo Credit: Wenn]
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After FBI agents Kevin (Shawn Wayans) and Marcus (Marlon Wayans) Copeland botch an undercover sting operation at a local NYC grocer they get relegated to acting as chauffeurs on their next assignment. The mission? To pick up heiresses Tiffany and Brittany Wilson from the airport and drive them to the Hamptons where the bureau will tail the socialites who are believed to be targets in a kidnapping plot. But it seems these two bungling agents can't even get this simple task right and they end up flipping the SUV over. Tiffany and Brittany refuse to go to the Hamptons with their faces scraped up and decide to recover in Manhattan. To avoid getting chewed out by the bureau chief yet again Marcus and Kevin decide to impersonate the heiresses and foil the kidnapping plot themselves. They call an in FBI buddy who happens to be a makeup genius and voila: the White Chicks are born. And with everyone getting collagen lip-enhancements the Copeland brothers are easily able to pass themselves off as the Wilson sisters. Don't worry too much about the plot; you'll be so fascinated by the Wayans in whiteface that you'll forget all about it.
Hilarious and rarely stepping out of character Shawn Wayan makes it easy to believe he's a white socialite clarifying his masculine mishaps such as chasing down a mugger with quips like "It's not just a bag it's Prada." And although both the Wayans make impressive white chicks Shawn definitely has the advantage in the physical department. As Brittany in the beach scene Shawn looks stunning in a mint-green sarong and a matching Pucci-inspired bathing suit and doesn't like any more manly than say Madonna. It's not surprising considering both actors dropped about 30 pounds each for the parts. Marlon Wayans meanwhile plays the role of Tiffany they more demure of the two sisters. Although the Wayans do resort to some hackneyed gender bending gags including a predictable date with an oversexed clueless male and the perils of a big chest the characters remain endearing because of the clichéd yarn they avoid. Although there is an all-girl sleepover party for example Brittany and Tiffany interact with their female friends in a very sweet manner rather than plot to get them out of their nighties and into the sack.
With too many writers to rattle off it's no wonder White Chicks' plot is so spotty. Getting top writing credits is director Keenen Ivory Wayans who manages to deliver a pretty hilarious comedy despite its really stupid storyline. One of the main reasons this film works is seeing the Wayans brothers in their special effects makeup which was done by Keith Vanderlaan and Greg Cannom. But unlike Cannom's work on Mrs. Doubtfire the Wayans feminine alter egos look womanly rather than drag queeny with their angular features molded into surprisingly soft ones. Don't be surprised if you find yourself overly preoccupied by the Wayans' appearance constantly looking for telltale signs of where the masks end or where the makeup doesn't blend right. There are also a few really funny scenes to distract you from the Wayans' faces including a club dance-off to Run D.M.C.'s "It's Tricky" and a mother-dissing match ("Oh my God you wanna talk about mothers?" Shawn exclaims.) But once the plot is resolved and the stars are back in their own skin moviegoers will snap back into the moment and realize "Oh right--there was a story behind all of this."