Meet Gabourey Sidibe the up and coming young actress who has received critical acclaim for her performance in the movie ‘Push: Based on a Novel by Sapphire.’ See photos, video and a biography here.
Lee Daniels, director of Monster’s Ball and Shadowboxer, directed the movie which, as its full official title implies, is based on a 1996 novel by Ramona Lofton who publishes under the pen name Sapphire. Geoffrey Fletcher is the screenwriter. The movie is also known as simply ‘Push.’
Gabourey Sidibe portrays Claireece Precious Jones, a teenager in Harlem who confronts great obstacles in her life, including obesity, illiteracy, giving birth to two children fathered by her own father, and a mother who abuses her. Yet she refuses to become downtrodden and victimized. The movie tackles very grim subject matter yet is ultimately a triumphant story of redemption. The movie also stars Mo’Nique as her mother, and Paula Patton as her teacher, Lenny Kravitz as a nurse and Mariah Carey as a social worker.
The movie had its premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival where it won three awards; Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic, Audience Award, Dramatic, and the U.S. Special Jury Prize, Dramatic which was awarded to Mo’Nique, for acting.
Despite its dark material, the film had Sundance audiences laughing at several comic scenes, revolving around surrealistic dreams Precious creates to escape. In one, she sees herself and her mother transported into a Sophia Loren movie playing on television, where her mom curses at her in Italian.
As a biography, Gabourey Sidibe was born in 1983 so her age is 25. She is also known as Gabby Sidibe. Her mother, Alice Tan Ridley, is a singer. She grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York and later moved to Harlem. She attended college at Borough of Manhattan Community College and The City College of New York and Mercy College. Although she had performed in several plays at Lehman College, she did not have plans to pursue acting as a profession. She was working as consumer complaint call center while pursuing a degree in psychology.
It was her mother who had been approached by a production company to play the role of Precious’ mother in the screen adaptation of ‘Push,’ but she declined the role because of its emotional intensity. It was as that time that Sidibe read the novel.
Stage director Henry Ovalles, whom Sidible had worked with at Lehman College, encouraged her to audition for the role of Precious. The audition that changed her life; she impressed casting agents tremendously, which led to a meeting with director Lee Daniels, and the starring role in his movie all in less than a week.
Here are several photos of Gabourey Sidibe. A video is below.