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Interview: Gabourey Sidibe

By BRETT MICHEL  |  November 18, 2009

I haven't read the book yet, but it sounds like her character is even more monstrous on the page.
Yeah, well the book is pretty graphic. And there's not a whole lot of room for light in the book. The book is a lot more graphic, sexually.

There was not as much of that in the film
It would be porn if we put it in the film. So yeah, less in the film than it was in the [book]. For instance, the difference between the book and the film: the film has fantasy sequences in it. And the book didn't. And our director added fantasy sequences so that people can breathe. . .I felt like every day I had blood in my hair and on my face and dirt on me and I was running. So it was awesome on those days where I could put on a dress and be pretty, and hang out with the hot model -- that fantasy boy who is my best friend and roommate. Those were some of my favorite days, the fantasy days.

And you got to work with Lenny Kravitz too
It's cool, Lenny is actually pretty funny. He's awesome. I like him.

Have you stayed friendly with many people from the cast?
Yeah, I made a lot of really, really good friends in the cast. Paula Patton, like, I call her "Auntie Paula" because I love her so much. She's an awesome, awesome awesome woman. And, of course, the girls. I’m really close to Mariah and actually I’m friends with Lenny’s daughter Zoe. So yea, we certainly stayed in touch.

And you’re already making a second film?
Yeah, with Zoe. It’s called Yelling to the Sky and it’s a very different role in fashion. I get to be Queen of the School, Miss Popularity.

Any truth to that, from your own life?
Yea, some of it. My school wasn’t really set up between the cool people and the nerds. I feel like that sort of stuff happens in suburban schools, which I was fortunate enough not to go to. So yea I was kind of popular, in junior high school, at least.

It sounds like you have not much in common with Precious at all then.
Well, no, I’m certainly not her, that’s true. We have some things in common, but they’re hard to find because my life was so very different than hers.

Did you know anyone like her, growing up?
I knew a lot of people like her. While reading the book I realized I knew this girl in so many different people. Not just girls, but boys, and not just black people, but white and Asian and Indian. All these different kinds of people. I’ve known her in so many different ways.

So you had people to draw off of for your performance then. Was it easy to play that role? 
It was easy because of our director. He had a lot of experience with heavy subject matter. What it really took was for me to trust him.  We had all these conversations, we talked about ourselves a lot, not in a narcissistic way, but in order for me to get some walls down, so I would trust him. So even though it was kind of a hard role, all I had to do was trust the director and I never went home emotionally drained. Never. Physically, of course, but we were working 15 hour days, 15 to 20 hour days.

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