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Lil' Mama Has Been Cast As Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes In VH1's TLC Biopic

by Tambay A. Obenson
February 9, 2013 10:35 PM
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Lil' Mama

An update on VH1's in-development biopic on pop/hip hop/R&B group TLC, which the network announced, last November, would begin shooting in early 2013, with casting underway at the time.

From a VH1 press release, screenwriter Kate Lanier (What’s Love Got To Do With It, Set it Off, Beauty Shop) penned the screenplay for the film, which is currently untitled (Untitled TLC Biopic), and it said that Chilli and T-Boz had signed on as consultants and executive producers of the movie, along with Bill Diggins and Maggie Malina, as well as Alexander Motlagh for Pop Films.

Thanks to a tip from reader Cordell, in the red carpet video interview embedded below, MC Lyte reveals that, not only is she working with Lil' Mama on an album, she adds (prefacing by saying that she's not sure if she should be revealing this or not) that Liil' Mama has been cast as TLC member, the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes.

Because I'm not hip enough, I actually had to Google Lil' Mama's name to remind myself of who she is. I've obviously heard the name, but never really bothered to find out more. In short (no pun intended), she's a rapper/singer/dancer who was a judge on America's Best Dance Crew, which is no longer on the air.

She's 23 years old, born Niatia Kirkland, and, according to her IMDBPro resume, she's never acted before. So this will be her debut.

As of today, she's the first member of the film's cast; so, assuming MC Lyte is right (hey, that rhymes!), we now wait to find out who'll play Chilli and T-Boz.

The film will tell the story of the hip musical trio who rose to fame in 1991 when they signed to LaFace Records, releasing their multi-platinum debut. Their 1994 follow-up, CrazySexyCool sold over 22 million copies, and Fanmail sold over 10 million copies in 1999. Of course, it wasn't all gravy; Bankruptcy, illness, group fights, and, of course, death, were just some of the group's valleys. 

Jeff Olde and Jill Holmes are serving as executive producers for VH1, for what will be the first in a series of scripted music-focused feature tele-pics that will air on VH1.

Stay tuned for more casting updates.

Here's MC Lyte with the reveal:

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  • lilkunta | February 12, 2013 11:36 AMReply

    "In short (no pun intended), she's a rapper/singer/dancer who was a judge on America's Best Dance Crew, which is no longer on the air. "

    tambay, ABDC was on successfully for 5 years /7 seasons from feb 08 - summer 12.
    Lil Mama is talented just like MC Lyte says, she just needs the right team guidance.

  • Ray | February 10, 2013 8:35 PMReply

    No she is not the first member cast, they have the other two woman as well, and all three were told to wait for one big announcement, oh well , someone jumped the gun, AGAIN!

  • ALM | February 10, 2013 5:35 PMReply

    Yes! The female mc's are finally back! I hope the music project MC Lyte is working on comes together well. Also, I am rooting for Lil' Mama. She lost her mother a few years back when she was still a teenager, and unless you have lost a parent as a teenager you will never understand how devastating that is. Lil' Mama is a strong and talented young lady with a pleasant personality. We need to give her a chance. She has an advantage in that she has had a similar career to Left Eye being that she is also a female MC. The main difference is that Left Eye was a bigger, internationally known star. Also remember, T-Boz and Chili probably had input in this decison, and Lil' Mama probably had to do some type of screen test. Let's root for her and wait and see how the finished product turns out.

  • Vann Digital Networks | February 10, 2013 3:43 PMReply

    there goes any hope for a good movie

  • CareyCarey | February 10, 2013 2:25 PMReply

    Lil' Mama, Big Mama, Left Eye or No Eyes, I don't care, this biopic has the makings for an enthralling film.

    Starting with the screenwriter Kate Lanier, she has proven that she has her finger on the pulse of the black voice. Her films have made money and they've been quite -- VERY -- entertaining. However, I have to say her journey has been assisted by superior black actors. Who can forget the performances of Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett (in her prime, in Whats Love Got To Do With It). And when I think back to Set It Off, a blooming Kimberly Elise, a pre-"Will Smith" Jada Pinkett, a young-er Vivica Fox and Queen Latifah (in arguably one of her better roles) all did the damn thang. And, if you didn't know, Beauty Shop ( a movie I thoroughly enjoyed) was packed with A-line actors including Alica Silverstone, Alfre Woodard, Andie McDowell, Omari Hardwick, Djimon Hounsou and Della Reese... just to name a few.

    But again, doesn't it always come down to the writing and the "story"? This here is ripe with intrigue, triumph, controversy, nepotism, rags to riches, in-fighting and back-biting, love and hope and of course the agony over the loss of a loved one. And to add to it's -- in my opinion - can't miss status, unlike the fictional tale "Sparkle" this film will tell a true story -- the complete story -- that for the most part is unknown by many in this new generation.

    Having said ALL of that, I believe the bulk of the weight rests with the director. The relevance, "authenticity", richness and success, will lay at his or her feet. His vision, is ultimately what we will see on the screen. I don't know who that is but I have a few who I would suggest.

  • CareyCarey | February 12, 2013 9:39 PM

    LILKUNA, I don't believe I called Beauty Shop a great film. I referenced that movie to support my belief that any "success" the film received, can in part be attributed to the cast. I did, however, say I enjoyed it. You may call it stereotypical trash (whatever that means?) but my entertainment muscles didn't get that memo.

    I've never seen Who's Your Caddy, but Pootie Tang has a special place in my heart. But wait, I bet you didn't like Players Club, Laugh At My Pain or anything Tyler Perry? But you loved Think Like A Man and I Will Follow, huh?

    So,anyway, our differences aside, are we in agree on the writer, Kate Lanier?

  • lilkuna | February 12, 2013 11:11 AM

    carey carey: I was with you until you called 'beauty shop' a great film. That movie is stereotypical trash just like 'Pootie Tang' and 'Who's Your Caddy'.

  • Vio12 | February 10, 2013 11:54 AMReply

    *DEAD* What next, Keri Hilson as T-Boz, and Kelly Rowland as Chilli? I can't......

  • kimberly reese | February 10, 2013 3:38 PM

    I do not think she could bring it they should had the other girl would look like Lisa and she did not get in the group because she look exactly like her

  • Troy | February 10, 2013 2:43 PM

    How do you go from 23 to 40 to 32. Did Lil' Mama beat you in a rap battle or something. Besides she is just going to play schizophrenic psychopath anyway.

  • Bee | February 10, 2013 2:14 PM

    I agree. While I'm looking forward to the record that MC Lyte mentions, this casting is just stupid.

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