TLC fans who tune in to VH1’s Crazy, Sexy, Cool Monday may be surprised by what they see, but Carl Payne, who plays L.A. Reid, said the movie is a real depiction of what can happen in the music business.
The biopic follows the young women of TLC as they first meet and eventually become a chart-topping trio, but viewers will see that their success didn’t necessary translate into financial security.
Although he’s not a singer, Carl has enough experience in the entertainment industry to know things definitely could have gone down the way the film suggests.
“None of that surprised me at all. It’s like par for the course,” he told Sister 2 Sister. “I’ve heard and seen it happen a million times.”
In the film, not even platinum albums allow Left Eye, Chilli and T-Boz to live the celebrity life they’d hoped, and their manager doesn’t seem too interested in lining their pockets.
Though he was portraying a real-life person who’s still living, Carl said he opted not to meet L.A. Reid in person or get his side of the story.
“My contract was to read the script and do it well. That’s it…on to the next job. At the end of the day, if somebody feels some sort of way about it, then maybe that’s a good thing. I must have done something right,” said Carl who studied interviews and tapes of L.A. to pick up on his mannerisms.
Though he’s mostly known for his comedic characters on “The Cosby Show” and “Martin,” Carl said he was eager to take on the dramatic role, especially after years of being typecast.
“They didn’t even really want me in the room,” he said about those more serious roles he auditioned for after “Martin.”
“It got easier because there were some people brave enough to give me an opportunity and they weren’t disappointed,” said Carl who learned about the L.A. Reid role from Chilli. “You just want your shot. It’s one thing if you get stopped before you get to the door, but at least let me in there.”
While celebrities try not to be typecast and limited to a specific kind of role, it’s sometimes a result of having put a major stamp on a character that everyone loves. That’s not a bad problem to have and Carl accepts that.
“My brother told me, ‘There’s not a day that goes by that you haven’t been on TV for the last 20 years,’” he said. “Right now, you got people from 8 years old up to 75 who know who I am.”
So, is there a chance Carl will be bringing Cock Roach or Cole back to TV. “Never say never,” said Carl who still keeps in touch with “Martin” co-stars Tichina Arnold and Tommy Strawn.
“Crazier things have happened.”
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