Playing an abused, pregnant teen is the sort of responsibility and heavy subject matter that could make even pros crack under pressure — so how is she coping with her big screen debut? I've already showed you my interviews with Paula Patton and director Lee Daniels, but for this third installment in my Precious series, check out my chat with the actress who already has Oprah and the rest of Hollywood buzzing.
- On landing the role: "When I got hired, I was pretty sure it was just a joke. I wasn't an actress — I was a receptionist before this. I was like, there's no way they're interested in me. Since then, I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop, but this joke has gone pretty far!"
- On how she handled the first-time pressure: "I was sure I would look like a complete novice, like I didn't belong there, or that I didn't fit in, but once I got there and saw all the people involved — grips, electric, camera operators — I thought, okay, there are a lot of people whose paychecks are on my back, so I can't spaz out. So immediately all of my nervousness fell away from me, and I had a job to do."
To hear more from Gabby (including her thoughts on Mariah Carey and the Best Actress gossip),
- On the award buzz: "It's weird, because I have no idea what it is to be a part of an Oscar-winning film or any kind of accolade-winning film, because this is my first go-around. So I just take every day as a gift! I'm thankful that anyone sees the film and feels something — and if the awards come, they come, or if they don't, they don't. But what I've done so far, I'm absolutely proud of myself."
- On working with Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz: "It was insane. They're all people that I absolutely idolize. The first time Lenny Kravitz came on set, I was standing very, very still, and I knew he was around, and I couldn't wait for him to come upstairs. Then he did, and it was like, well, there is Lenny Kravitz. There was nothing to be scared about, because he was very cool. And Mariah, I met her the night before we started shooting. She was like the last to be hired, so we had done most of the movie. I kind of felt like a veteran — Mariah is stepping on to my turf. [laughs]"
- On her next project: "It's a Sundance Lab Film [Yelling to the Sky], and it stars Zoe Kravitz. I play a girl who is really loud and obnoxious, the queen of the school. It's really fun because it's so far from Precious — I like playing the bad girl! And the film has a first-time director, Victoria Mahoney, who's a lady. The DP is a female, the camera operator is female, so it's all females. It's empowering in a weird way. I've never been all super feminist, but it's really cool."
- On her new career: "It's so weird to have a 'Hollywood career.' I just want to do things that make me happy. There are so many people that I look up to as far as actresses go, but I just want to go as far as I can."
Love her! I'll be keeping a close eye on Gabby when the film opens, especially once award nominations start flowing in. Will you be checking out Precious?