Actor-singer Algee Smith imparts his soul in the movies and songs that he works on. He wants to be remembered as a person who used his time on Earth to help and inspire others along life’s journey.
Smith is embarking on leaving his footprint with his new role as Ralph Tresvant in “The New Edition Story.” The three-part miniseries is based on the R&B group New Edition and their rise to fame as the boy band from Orchard Park Projects in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
The New Edition movie was broadcast on BET from Jan. 24-26. All six members of the group served as co-producers.
Smith embodies his character in the movie. He looks, talks, acts, sings and moves like Tresvant.
“It feels good to keep hearing that I did a good job with this role,” Smith said. “It’s a true blessing to play the iconic Ralph Tresvant.”
The pressure and stakes were high.
Smith knew that he had to bring his top work to this role.
“Ralph is a ladies man,” Smith said. “He is a smooth sensitive guy who also happens to be a very humble person. He has made a ton of sacrifices in his life. He’s always sacrificing for somebody.”
It was the wardrobe that made Smith smile on set.
He even took home a few things to remember the experience.
“I truly enjoyed re-creating The New Edition performances,” Smith added. “The ‘You’re Not My Kind of Girl’ video was a classic to perform.”
The unity and brotherhood that Smith formed with the other actors on the set is what Smith will talk about in his old age.
“I didn’t know anyone on the set,” Smith said. “We had to be around each other for eight hours a day for four weeks. That allowed us to become a team. If one person messed up, then we had to start over.”
The authenticity of each actor made the story come to life.
Smith’s favorite New Edition song is “If It Isn’t Love.”
The favorite song he performed was “You’re Not My Kind of Girl.”
His favorite New Edition video is “Can You Stand The Rain?”
It seems as if the role of Ralph Tresvant was a birthright for Smith to play. His father had toured playing guitar with three of the New Edition members when Smith was just a child.
“I’ve grown up hearing New Edition songs all my life,” Smith added.
Smith sees “The New Edition Movie” as a history lesson.
“It is a bonding and a healing movie, not only for New Edition, but also for the people who watch it,” Smith said. “It shows unity, hard work and the mentality of the music business that still goes on today.”
It took 35 days to shoot the movie.
It was the tapping into emotions that Smith had not gone through that made the role challenging at times. Smith has not experienced a girl having a miscarriage. He had to really dig deep to feel those emotions.
The last day of shooting was also emotional for Smith. He didn’t want the New Edition ride to end.
“We didn’t want to leave the set on the last day,” Smith said. “We filmed the party scene that you see in the movie on the last day when Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis say they should create their own singing group. We were there until 7 a.m. in the morning.”
The incredible feeling of being New Edition made the cast want to extend the feeling just a little bit longer.
“We still feel like we are the new New Edition,” Smith added.
The New Edition movie is now an awesome memory for Smith.
He texted Tresvant a few weeks ago just to make sure that he had made him proud of his portrayal of him.
“Ralph was happy with the movie,” Smith said. “He was proud.”
Smith grew up in Atlanta. He is passionate about his family, his morals and his community.
“I want to have a big part in helping the black economic system,” Smith said. “I’m passionate about the younger generation coming up behind me.”
Actor Will Smith inspired him to pursue acting.
Smith describes himself as a goofy Scorpio who is over-analytical.
“I’m passionate about what I love,” Smith said. “Whether it is a thing or a woman or whatever and I’m serious about my craft.”
Smith is working on his music career and he has a new movie coming out that is directed by Kathryn Bigelow. It is about a police raid in Detroit in 1967 that resulted in one of the largest citizen uprisings in the United States history.
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