Comedian Mo'Nique gets serious in 'Precious'

NEW YORK (AP) - November 5, 2009

So the comedian knew she would be taking on a tough mental challenge when she decided to play the role of Mary Jones - the vicious, abusive mother in the critically acclaimed film "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire."

She was up to the task for most of the movie. But she admits that there was one scene that required so much hate that she almost fell apart.

"There was one time that I got scared because I didn't think that my mind or heart could go to that place," the 40-year-old said.

But she pulled it off with a portrayal so searing, so devastating, that she's being touted as a possible Oscar nominee.

The dark urban drama, which debuted at January's Sundance Film Festival, won both the top jury prize and the award as the audience's favorite film. It opens in U.S. cinemas on Friday.

The film follows Clareece "Precious" Jones, an overweight, illiterate and abused Harlem teen who is pregnant with her second child. Precious, played by newcomer Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe, is constantly discouraged by her mother, played by Mo'Nique.

The Lee Daniels-directed film - which also features Mariah Carey, Paula Patton and Lenny Kravitz - is being backed by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, who serve as executive producers.

In a recent interview, Mo'Nique talked about her role in the film, her recent weight loss and putting her "diva" ways behind her.

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