The Source Magazine was on the red carpet at the New York premiere for the New York premiere of VH1’s highly anticipated “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story.” Yes, the film lives up to all the hype and more. Keke Palmer who played Chilli, Lil Mama who played Left Eye, Drew Sidora who play T-Boz were all in attendance in addition to the film’s executive producers Chilli and T-Boz.
We also spotted Diana Ross, whose son Evan Ross stars in the film as Dallas Austin. Ne-Yo came out to support the girls, as he wrote and produced the film’s closing credits song “Meant to Be.” Missy Elliot showed TLC major love, in addition to Melanie Fiona, Kandi Burruss, Teyana Taylor, Mack Wilds, Cedric The Entertainer, Eric West, Tashiana Washington, K Michelle, Cam’Ron, Christina Millian, to name a few.
How long ago did you realize you wanted to do a biopic about TLC?
Chilli: Our first album.
So since day one?
Chilli: Not day one, maybe day twenty, I knew.
What was the process like of bringing the story to screen?
Chili: Well, I had a connection in with VH1 cause I had a show on there. I talked to them about it since it was something I had always wanted to do and they wanted to work with us, you know and thank God they did and it just went off from there.
How did you choose the stories that you wanted to include in the film?
Chili: Well we just talked about everything and it was a collaboration of what exactly we would touch on, but we told the writers everything.
Can you speak about the casting process?
Chili: Well we loved the girls. We hand picked everybody and so we knew that they would do a great job. As a matter of fact, once we started seeing the daily’s and everything we were like, wow, they surprised us even more, you know what I mean? So they really delivered.
What can you tell us about the album?
Chili: Well, yeah. “TLC 20” is the soundtrack for the film and the song “Meant To Be,” that’s the new track on there. Ne-Yo did it, love him so much. That song…it’s an emotional song for us. “Meant To Be” can be for anybody, whatever’s meant to be in your life. Your job, a move, a baby, whatever. You know what I’m sayin?
Tell us about being on set?
T-Boz: I was there everyday. Had my dancing clothes on, teaching them how to dance, we was in there gettin’ it, you know what I’m sayin? So they could play the best role possible and they all did an exceptional job.
What was the highlight of making this film?
T-Boz: The highlight was just having the whole film done completely, it’s a blessing that they’re even interested in hearing our story.
If there was one outfit from the videos that you shot in the movie that you had to wear for the rest of your life what would it be?
Lil’ Mama: Scrubs!
So what’s the inspiration behind your new hair color?
Lil’ Mama: Oh yes, green, ya gotta get the green! You gotta go green, it’s eco-friendly, you gotta get the green you gotta get the money, so therefore the best color–nah I’m joking. I was very driven behind just…get that money green–get that money girl!
What was the hardest part about filming for you?
Lil’ Mama: The hardest part about filming was just getting into deep characteristics of Left Eye…to really make myself vulnerable enough to go there without restriction.
Can you speak about what was the highlight of collaborating with TLC?
Lil’ Mama: Collaborating with them through the film, going with them to Hershey Park, going to Toronto to do Drake’s show with TLC it’s a life changing experience for me and I’m just so happy to be on board in all ways.
Can you talk about the audition process?
Lil’ Mama: They ran me through the wire. It was very hard for me to get in on my first audition, it happened around Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years so they kept saying come back, come back, come back, come back, when I finally got in on–I think it was January the 8th, she told me she wouldn’t change a thing.
How did you get involved with the film?
Sidora: Oh my agent sent me the audition and I was actually in Chicago at the time and I was like oh my God this is the opportunity of a lifetime! So I literally put myself on tape, my mom had the camera, she was reading the lines, I hung up the little white sheet like that’s how bad I wanted it, so that’s why I know whatever’s for you is for you and everybody has their own journey because for that to happen is just…it doesn’t happen all the time. And then our director skyped me for my callback. That never happens. So it was very divine. It was a lot of pressure going into it cause I was a HUGE TLC fan so I googled a lot. I got on the internet found so many similarities–we’re both from the midwest. I was like, ‘okay!’ We’re both taurus. I was like, ‘okay I could do this!’ Those little connections and our struggle with sickle cell. I’ve been the spokesperson for the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois for eight years, so I knew I could really bring that and that was really important to bring that to the film.
What was it like having T-Boz mentor you on set?
Sidora: It was scary, you know you’re nervous, pressure. But at the same time they embraced us so much. They’re so down to earth…they made us feel you know like we could relax a little bit I mean because we’re fans first. So then to take it on…you just wanna do a good job. You wanna please the fans, you wanna please them–this is their life, their truth. And it was something I did not take lightly. I didn’t sleep for a couple of days, my stomach was bubbling. It was very, very challenging to capture her physically. Obviously they were known for bad bodies, still are and then emotionally and really picking her brain to see those moments where I can bring Tionne Watkins to the film and to the screen because we all know T-Boz of course and her persona. But I wanted to bring that real person so hopefully I did that.
The after-party continued at Lavo, where DJ D-Nice played TLC fan favorites mixed in the current hits. Lil Mama was spotted tearing it up on the dance floor.
We also spoke with Kandi Burruss on the red carpet. She talked about writing “Scrubs” for TLC and what made the group so special.
CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story premieres on VH1 Monday, October 21 at 9PM ET/PT.