I don’t know how to feel about this bio-pic on TLC, which is currently in production.
Not that I am not a fan. The Grammy award-winning group, whose repertoire features a certified diamond plaque and the title to the most successful female groups of all times, pretty much had the 90s – as well as my tape deck – on lock. However when VH1 last week, announced that it had begun production on a full-length scripted film about the group’s rise to fame, a part of me couldn’t help to scrunch my face and say: it’s just too soon.
Irrespective of all the backlash on Twitter, my reservations have nothing to do with the current cast, which includes Lil Mama as Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez (so glad to see her working again and getting some respect), Drew Sidora (best known from “The Game”) as Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and KeKe Palmer as Rozonda Chili Thomas. While none of them would be considered my first choices, I think that they are all capable of rising up to the challenge of the roles they have been chosen to play. And although this film is being produced and will air on a network, whose only other scripted production is a melodramatic and badly acted series called “Single Ladies,” I am hopeful that director Charles Stone III, most known for Drumline and Paid in Full and screenwriter Kate Lanier, best known for What’s Love Got to Do With It and Glitter, will add some credibility to the project. Then again, considering how much I loved What’s Love Got to Do With It and wanted to Ike Turner the crap out of Glitter, it could go either way.
But what troubles me most about this production is how much of the real story are we going to get? According to VH1’s press release about the film, T-Boz and Chill have both signed on as consultants for the film. That might inspire confidence in some but we also have to remember that, besides the outside lawsuits and conflict with group manager Perri Pebblez Reid, there was a lot of conflict between group members, particularly Lopez strained relationship with Thomas and Watkins, which resulted in her publicly disassociating herself with not only the group’s third album, Fan Mail but threatening to leave the group all together. In response, Thomas and Watkins issued their own statements in the press calling Lopez, among other things, “selfish” and “evil.” And this resulted in a bizarre statement from Lopez, challenging Thomas and Watkins to some sort of album duel-off.
According to MTV News Lopez once said:
“I challenge Tionne ‘Player’ Watkins (T-Boz) and Rozonda ‘Hater’ Thomas (Chilli) to an album entitled The Challenge,” writes Lopes, “a 3-CD set that contains three solo albums. Each (album) … will be due to the record label by October 1, 2000.”
Now I’m not saying that Watkins and Thomas will try to pad the drama in hopes of making themselves look better. It should be noted that all the women of the group have always contended mutual love and respect for one another. What I am saying though is that the likelihood that we will get see a real behind-the-scenes view of TLC will be slim, considering one of the most vocal (and oppositional) members of the group is sadly not here to contribute her insight into how not only offer up her thoughts on how she should be played but be an objective lens into the Watkins and Thomas characters too.