Tonight will see the premiere of TLC‘s long-awaited biopic, CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, which stars Keke Palmer as Chilli, Drew Sidora as Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, and Lil Mama as Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez. The VH1 original movie chronicles TLC’s humble beginnings in Atlanta and rise to fame in the ’90s.
Chilli explains to ABC News Radio why Lil Mama was chosen to play the late Left Eye, who passed away in a car accident in La Ceiba, Honduras in 2002.
“She went all the way in, I mean it was obviously something she truly wanted, it was very important to her,” she says. Chili adds that Lil Mama “absolutely adored Lisa, I mean she was a true fan. When we saw her audition, I called Tionne immediately and was like, ‘Ugh, did you see Lil Mama?’ It was like hands down, she had the part, she had it.”
The “Lip Gloss” rapper came to the audition in character and wearing brown contacts over her natural hazel eyes, which made her look exactly like the late singer. T-Box admits it was a bit eerie at times.
“Lisa had doe-baby-deer eyes, we always used to say she had the most beautiful big, dark eyes. When Lil Mama had those junks on it was so hard to look at her at times,” T-Boz says. “I had to look away a couple of times like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa Freaky Jason, you’re scaring me.'”
The film was executive produced by Chilli and T-Boz, who ensured that the final product would be something that would make Lisa proud. “Oh my God, I know our sister is smiling down, I know it,” Chilli says. “And I know she had a hand in all of this, and I think she had a hand to make sure Lil Mama did it, because Lil Mama was just crazy like her gestures, everything, she just had everything down pat.”
So what made them want to release the film now? Chilli explains, “We wanted them to understand what went on behind all the headlines, to really get what emotions and all those things we were going through.”
She adds, “And we shared a lot of things so you can understand our story a lot better, and we definitely want people, that when they watch this movie, to see how resilient we are and we just never gave up.”
Even with the group’s bankruptcy and other hardships, T-Boz says it was important that the film told the complete story. “What we’re hearing from everybody else, they feel like they want more but you don’t feel like nothing was left out,” she says. “You feel fulfilled when you leave, like you saw a complete movie.”
CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story will air on VH1 on tonight, October 21 at 9 p.m ET.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio