Mariah Carey was told ‘Precious’ was a bad career move
The 2009 film Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire is a touching and gripping story about resilience and perseverance. The film, directed by Lee Daniels, featured many highly regarded performances, not the least of which was that of Grammy-winning singer Mariah Carey.
‘Precious’ was an independent film that had notable roles
Precious told the story of Claireece “Precious” Jones, a 16-year-old girl from Harlem who suffered physical, verbal and sexual abuse at home as she struggled to get her life back on track as a teenage mother. Gabourey Sidibe played the main character in what was her acting debut, while Mo’Nique played her abusive mother Mary Lee Johnston.
Mo’Nique won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Precious despite not spending time wooing Oscar voters. She emphasized in her acceptance speech that her victory was about “performance, not politics” and paid tribute to Hattie McDaniel, the pioneering actor who became the first black person to win an Oscar eight decades ago.
Mariah Carey was social worker Ms. Weiss in ‘Precious’
In Precious, Carey played Ms. Weiss, a social worker who helped Precious put the pieces of her life together. In addition to working with Precious, she confronted Mary Lee in what is now an iconic scene that featured a compelling monologue from Mo’Nique.
Carey reflected on the experience in her 2020 memoir The meaning of Mariah Carey. She had previously had a working relationship with Lee Daniels, and the veteran director asked Carey to join the film with almost no warning.
“One day, out of nowhere, with one day’s notice, Lee asked me to play the character of social worker, Ms. Weiss (a role originally intended for the phenomenal Helen Mirren),” she said. told. “I was thrilled, but also a little panicked. I had a little over a day to prepare.
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Mariah Carey was told she shouldn’t be on ‘Precious’
The experience was exciting for Carey. “The whole filming process was renegade and brilliant,” she said. “Lee believed in me and I believed in him. I believed in the remarkable cast and of course I believed in the sparkle that was on the page.
Even though his role in the film is beloved, it hardly happened. “I love working on the film, ”continued Carey. “My management at the time had discouraged me from doing this, because it was last minute and on a low budget, but I knew it was a rare and extremely human story.”
“It was also a creative step, which was artistically rewarding for me,” she added. “I was so proud to get involved. “