Being in a biopic is tricky enough, but in the case of BET’s The New Edition Story, the band’s original members are all alive and well, creating added pressure for the young actors tasked with bringing their story to the screen.
According to Algee Smith, who plays Ralph Tresvant, it actually helped him to be able to speak to the man he’d be portraying. “One thing Ralph told me when he sat down with me was that he didn’t want me to try and be him,” Smith said when he appeared on Entertainment Weekly: The Show . “He wanted me to be myself because they picked me for a reason… I feel like I did him justice.”
Of course, it wasn’t only the cast who wanted to get The New Edition Story right. Producer Jesse Collins also felt the pressure, according to Smith.
“[He] spent 10 years creating this story and putting it together,” Smith said of the effort Collins and director Chris Robinson put in to ensure the story was told well. “Everyone wanted to make sure [that] if we’re going to really tell it, [to] do it the right way. Because we’ve seen some biopics that ain’t all that good.”
Watch the clip above, and see the full episode of EW: The Show, streaming now on People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the app for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, Xfinity, iOS, and Android devices.
The New Edition Story airs Jan. 24 at 9 p.m. on BET