Last year Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe was a college student and receptionist, just another young woman trying to find her place in the world. Her life changed suddenly when a friend convinced her to go the audition on a whim. Sidibe got a callback within the hour. The next day she met with Lee Daniels, and the rest is history.
Daniels was trying to find the perfect precious, but he soon found he was looking through the wrong group of girls. He didn’t want to cast someone who was exactly like Precious, he wanted someone who could act like Precious, who could understand Precious but wasn’t currently mired in a desperate situation. “I realized I needed someone to act that, not be that,” he says. “I knew she (Sidibe) was the girl. She brought a sense of confidence and smarts (to the role). She got it.”
Sidibe wasn’t a trained actress, but she is a mighty fine actress. In interviews (seen below) she’s a bubbly, effervescent young woman full of giggles and secret crushes. In her recent interviews with Conan O’Brien and Ellen she takes over the show with her school girl anecdotes . But on screen, she transforms into a depressed, withdrawn, abused, and illiterate girl with almost no options to better her situation.
About her connection with Precious, Gabourey told IndieWire.com:
“The thing about Precious, she’s so far from a Hollywood character. She’s so honest and real, I definitely felt like I knew her. I also felt guilt because I’ve done the same thing as some of the people she [has relationships with] in the film. I’ve ignored people who I should’ve helped. Precious is ignored by the system, parents, friends and everyone who should’ve been there to help.”
Below is Gabourey’s audition video, and interviews with Ellen, Conan O’Brien, and on Good Day LA with director Lee Daniels.