Wood Harris Argues Why New Edition’s Story Is The Ultimate Musical Biopic (Video)
In 2017, actor Wood Harris is quite busy. Approaching 25 years since he starred alongside Tupac Shakur in Above The Rim, the highly accomplished actor is staying busy through The New Edition Story and The Breaks. Both films are music-based. In the first, Harris portrayed Brooke Payne, New Edition’s longtime manager and choreographer. In The Breaks, Wood portrays “Barry Fouray,” a circa-1990 record executive with a lot of ego and success to match.
In speaking with VladTV, Wood Harris expressed confidence that BET’s The New Edition Story may be the greatest biopic of its kind. He says that he is aware of quality, based on his time as “Avon Barksdale” on HBO’s The Wire. While he admits to DJ Vlad that he’s not seen 1992’s The Jacksons: An American Dream four-night TV movie, he still stresses that BET’s 2017 representation is the ultimate musical biopic, even compared to theatrical films.
“I can’t imagine something being as accomplished as [The New Edition Story] across the board: directing, cinematically, the story itself being told [by New Edition]. I don’t know if The Jackson 5 [biopic was authorized and produced by them]. This is all of New Edition and [manager] Brooke Payne, who I portray in the movie…this is them certifying the authenticity of it, measuring up the truth, and not sugar-coating it. You saw everything. You saw them go through everything that we could show in three nights. I don’t think there’s a better biopic…I think it’s better than even some of the biopics that come out in the theater. Like, I would see this over even a musical biopic than The Doors. That was [directed] by Oliver Stone.”
Later in the interview, Wood gets more specific. “This is what makes it maybe the best biopic to date…I don’t know that I can name one better, especially with music in it: the kids, when they turned adult, you didn’t lose any quality of story. The [child actors] were great! They weren’t just good, they were great. They kept you captivated, so did the older ones.”
He even compares The New Edition Story to legendary Rap group the Wu-Tang Clan. “If you got a big group…okay, Wu-Tang [Clan] got a lot of rappers in it. Some of them cats ain’t that good, bro. [Laughs] ‘Cause the group is so big that you’re gonna have a variance of talent. So in the N.E. movie, it’s not…people might love me and be familiar with me, but really, there’s not a great variant of talent. It’s just a high level of talent across the board, including the director, and BET, kudos to them for going all the way with it.”
In the conversation, Wood says that the portrayal of production team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis was very real. Harris adds that Maurice Starr, who is credited with New Edition’s 1982 discovery at a talent show, appeared in a crowd on set. The actor says the controversial record exec (who would later discover New Kids On The Block) was dressed in an ascot, true to his common depiction. Towards the close, he reaffirms, “Yeah, that’s the best biopic. I can’t think of one [that is better].”