Actress Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe is getting rave reviews for her portrayal as Claireece Precious Jones in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. But before the 26-year-old newcomer was cast, another unlikely actress was thought of for the role.
Sapphire, the author whose novel inspired the much-buzzed-about film, told Entertainment Weekly about the many offers she received and eventually turned down to take her book to the big screen.
One of them came from a producer who thought R&B singer and “Moesha” star Brandy should play the obese, illiterate New York City teenager. “I remember this one producer told me that he had found Precious—and it was going to be Brandy,” a shocked Sapphire said. “Excuse me? I literally almost hung up on him.”
She even received an offer from pop icon Madonna. “Then Madonna wanted to produce it. I was like, ‘Madonna?’ I don’t think this is her film.”
Filmmaker Lee Daniels (Monster’s Ball) eventually won the rights to make the movie, casting Sidibe as Precious and comedian Mo’Nique as her abusive mother, Mary Jones. Precious is now open in select cities.