BET’s The New Edition Story: World Premiere Screening & Conversation
Actor Tyler Williams, recording artist Bobby Brown, and actor Woody McClain attend The Paley Center for Media’s World Premiere Screening and Conversation of BET’s The New Edition Story along with the entire cast.
The first installment of BET’s forthcoming three-part miniseries The New Edition Story premiered and guests’ were glued to the screen wanting more. But all will have to wait until the three-night world premiere on Tuesday, January 24 to 26, 2017, at 9:00 pm ET/PT on BET.
From the very beginning, viewers will watch and learn real stories about New Edition. In fact, an early scene in the film depicts a young Brown taking the stage during a school talent show, ready to jump into Michael Jackson’s portion of “Enjoy Yourself.” But instead, the Brown character freezes with stage fright and runs offstage to his mom.
“Oh, that shit’s a true story,” Bobby Brown shouted out from the audience. “Oh my God!”
Throughout the screening, Brown would comment in disbelief on how real the young New Edition cast was being portrayed. That would make sense because it was Brown that co-founded the group in the late ’70s with Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronald DeVoe and Ralph Tresvant.
Brown was asked during Q&A, his overall critique by an audience member.
“I haven’t seen the whole film yet,” Brown said. “But from what I see, I’m amazed. These talented young guys did a great job at being us as young kids and then brought it all the way home. Chris [Robinson, the film’s director] brought everything out of all these actors to make it special. I was sitting in the chair over here and got a little crying on. Watching and being alive to be able to see what my life was and has become and where my life is going from this point on? It’s special, man. These kids put their hearts and souls into this, just like we put our hearts and souls into our lives.”
The adult New Edition cast consists of Elijah Kelley, “Ricky Bell”, Algee Smith, “Ralph Tresvant”, Luke James, “Johnny Gill”, Woody McClain, “Bobby Brown”, Keith Powers, “Ronnie Devoe”, and Bryshere Y. Gray, “Michael Bivins”. Jesse Collins is the Executive Producer.
The New Edition cast as youngster (which totally blew me away with their real singing and dancing) consist of Dante Hoagland “Michael Bivins”, Caleb McLaughlin “Ricky Bell”, Jahi Winston “Ralph Tresvant”, Myles Truitt “RonnieDevoe” and Tyler Williams “Bobby Brown”.
The New Edition biopic was more than 10 years in the making: “It started at the 25th BET Awards,” recalled Collins. “I had worked with [the group] before, but it was the first time I saw the functional dysfunctional functional sides of the family, those six guys. But I watched them come together and put on one of the greatest performances we’ve ever had on a BET Awards show. We talked to the individual members and they said OK if you want to try it. I called Abdul who stepped up and wrote many drafts, many a free draft, without a deal until BET was ready to give it the greenlight.”
The pressure of being Bobby Brown: Harris who as Brown performs “My Prerogative” states he felt pressure from Brown staring at him as he was performing. “But when I heard Bobby scream, ‘Yes, that’s Bobby,” I was like OK. He and I were in the studio for a week, working on his mannerisms, dancing, his walk — and the tongue.”
Director Robinson on the films’ accuracy: “New Edition was my first concert,” he said. “I was 15 and drove from Baltimore to Philadelphia with my permit when I shouldn’t have been driving. Every single thing in this film is accurate. We got to really tell the story, starting with details about their childhoods and how they met.”
One of the big surprises in the film involves member Bell: “Ricky has a very serious downfall,” said Kelley of his real-life character. “I’m not going to tell you what type of downfall. It’s something that most NE lifers don’t even know about. He goes down in a very big way. Once you see that happen and when you see him now, you will know the undeniable force and power of God.”
The strongest takeaway for viewers: Gray states, “Fans will discover a lot of things they didn’t know about New Edition such as who started the group, their problems with contracts and relationships. They’d do interviews and they’d be tarnished inside. They didn’t know what was next”.
I personally was surprised, It really seems that as time goes on, we learn a lot more about Bobby Brown and the entire group.
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