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After winning an Academy Award for her role as Effie in 2006’s Dreamgirls, Jennifer Hudson says she was asked to audition for the lead in Precious — but turned it down because it required her to pack on pounds.
“I had done that with Effie … and as much as I was moved by this film, I wanted to try a role that had nothing whatsoever to do with my weight,” Hudson wrote in her new book I Got This: How I Changed My Ways and Lost What Weighed Me Down (via Uptown magazine).
Hudson’s rejection put Precious director Lee Daniels in a tough position.
“We were weeks away from the shoot but I still hadn’t found Precious,” he told The Guardian at the time. “Do you know how difficult it is to find a 300 pound black girl to be great in a movie? They don’t exist in Hollywood.”
Enter Gabourey Sidibe. The Tower Heist star immersed herself in the role of the overweight, pregnant teenager in the 2009 drama, resulting in an Oscar nomination; Hudson, who won Best Supporting Actress in 2007, has since acted in the Sex and the City films, continued her career as a singer and lost more than 80 pounds as a Weight Watchers spokeswoman.
In September, Hudson opened a weight-loss center in her native Chicago; her new memoir, I Got This, arrives Jan. 10 and tells the story of the actress-singer’s weight struggles and adoption of a healthier lifestyle. The book is published by Dutton, a Penguin Group imprint.
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