The buzz about Precious has been building ever since it swept awards at this year's Sundance Film Festival. (I even put it on my list of Fall movie picks.) Now with its release around the corner and Oscar whispers beginning, I sat down with some of the stars and the director himself. The film is based on the novel, Push, which follows a pregnant sixteen-year old living with her abusive mother. Despite the film's dark subject matter, every cast member I spoke to brought up the story's healing and feel-good power.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be bringing you their interviews. First up: Paula Patton, who plays Precious's teacher and mentor, Ms. Rain.
- On the film's unexpected success: "We thought it’d maybe be on Netflix or in my mother’s living room! And then Lee called me in the beginning of the year and said, 'We’re going to Sundance.' That was it for me. That was an award to be able to go and be part of the selection, and then it just steam-rolled.”
- On her response to those who think the film is going to be depressing: "I understand saying, 'I want to see it, but I don’t want to see it right now, because I don’t want to go there.' It’s not like that. I say it’s like buying a ticket to a roller coaster ride. You laugh, you cry, you scream, and at the end of the ride, you’re left shaken, but with your heart more open. What’s beautiful about this film is that it breeds love."
- On what she learned from Precious: “I think we’ve all judged a Precious. What this movie tells you is, don’t judge, because you don’t know their story. I think when we made this film we all had to admit our own racist feelings, our own prejudices, and deal with them head on.”
- On newcomer Gabourey Sidibe: “So many actors will have worked their whole life and never achieve what [Gabby] achieves in this film. It’s remarkable. She’s not Precious. She’s like, ‘Paula, oh my god, did you see The Hills?' She’s such a girly-girl and loves to be happy. It's a difficult thing when you have a character that’s talked about the way she’s talked about — you're fat, you're ugly, you're stupid — that it took someone as smart and as confident as Gabby to play her and not be affected by it.”
- On the inspiration for her character: "[My mother] was a public school teacher for 35 years, and she was one of these teachers that went above and beyond the call of duty. She would bring students back to the house, help them pay for books, and be supportive. When I decided to do this role, I was like, this is for my mother and for all the teachers out there who are like her.”
- On what's next for her: “I just finished a comedy with Queen Latifah. I went from [a character] who has dedicated her life to helping others to someone who is the most selfish human being on the planet. I call her a gold-digger with a heart of gold. It was so much fun to explore a different character and flex those comedic chops!”
For more of what Patton had to say, read more.
Are you looking forward to Precious? I'm dying to see it and Patton's film with Queen Latifah now!