Starring “Empire” star Bryshere Y. Gray (as Michael Bivins), singer Luke James (as Johnny Gill), Woody McClain (as Bobby Brown), Elijah Kelley (as Ricky Bell), Algee Smith (as Ralph Tresvant), and Keith Powers (as Ronnie DeVoe), the biopic will chronicle the trials and tribulations of the group’s 30-plus year music career.
Directed by Chris Robinson and executive produced by Jesse Collins, the group will serve as co-producers of the film, alongside music producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds.
In addition to ensuring the film’s music is befitting to New Edition’s musical legacy, Jam tells HuffPost, that the biopic will also present a few revelations about the influential collective.
“I think there’s gonna be a lot of surprises and a lot of things they’re gonna learn. There’s things that I learned in the movie and I know the guys really well,” Jam said. “I would love for fans that maybe heard the name New Edition to really understand the magnitude of what this group has done and what they have accomplished and why historically they should really be recognized in the upper reaches of all-time groups.”
“Their influence on every group that has come after them ― whether it’s the Backstreet Boys or NSYNC, New Kids On The Block or even One Direction ― all of that was really from New Edition. Just as New Edition was from The Jacksons, The Temptations. To me, they’re part of that legacy line,” he added.
Jam and Lewis’ longstanding relationship with the group dates back to their 1988 multi-platinum album “Heartbreak,” which spawned a string of hits including “If It Isn’t Love,” “You’re Not My Kind Of Girl,” and “Can You Stand The Rain.”
Adding to their rich musical history, Jam went on to add that he’s “definitely” expecting to work on the group’s upcoming as-yet-untitled album, which is tentatively set to coincide with the 2017 biopic.
“We have great history. And a lot of times it’s less about what we do for them as producers and more about what we do for them as confidants, mentors, psychiatrists sometimes ― they know we got their back no matter what,” he said. They’re family, and it’s such an honor to be involved with this project and I hope that the fans really like it. The anticipation for it has been amazing, and it’s so well deserved.”
The six-hour, three-night premiere of “The New Edition Story” airs on Jan. 24 at 9PM/ET on BET.