Gabourey Sidibe of ‘Precious’

Posted on November 16, 2009 at 12:00 pm

I love Ellen’s interview with Gabourey Sidibe, who plays the title character in “Precious.” Director Lee Daniels told the New York Times he knew it would be difficult to find an actress to play the role of an abused pregnant teenager who weighed 350 pounds.

“I couldn’t call Hollywood and say, ‘Send over all your 300-pound black girls,’ ” Daniels explained. “They’d laugh”….Daniels saw 500 girls, including one of his nieces. Ten finalists, none of whom had ever acted before, were put through an aspiring-thespian “boot camp.” “It was kind of like ‘American Idol,’ ” Daniels said. “But I still wasn’t happy. We were weeks away from filming, and I still hadn’t found Precious.”

But when he met Sidibe, he knew he’d found his star.

Unlike Precious, Sidibe is well spoken and cheerful. “I’m not her,” Sidibe said emphatically. “But, when I was 14 or 15, I saw myself in a different way. Back then, I envied a life that I’d made up in my mind. I broke free of that unhappiness and I decided to change — I was going to be happy with myself. No matter what I look like, no matter what people think.” Daniels realized that Sidibe’s attitude was crucial to playing Precious.

In this interview, Sidibe talks about how the love she shared with Mo’Nique helped them get through the most brutal of the movie’s abuse scenes. It is a thrill to witness this talented young woman’s confidence and joy. Like Ellen, I want her to stay just who she is.

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