(NEW YORK) — Ciera Payton says fans will get to see the “grounded and authentic side” of Wendy Williams in the new Lifetime biopic Wendy Williams The Movie.
“People know Wendy so well and they watch the show think[ing] that’s what she’s like – 24/7,” Payton, who plays Williams, tells ABC Audio. “But no one knows who she is behind the camera. And when she takes the hair out and the makeup off and stuff. And so, we wanted to really show you this human that no one else knows.”
Payton says portraying the real Wendy Williams wasn’t that hard to do since Williams was there to offer her insight.
“Her big thing was — ‘It was about confidence,"” Payton explains. “We spent a little while just talking about that because I was curious for myself. Like, ‘How do you maintain your confidence and dealing with some of the controversy over the years and still put yourself out there.’ And she was like, ‘Listen, point blank, it’s all about just getting back up, putting your shoulders back, keep your head up high and just say, ‘Screw it."”
While Payton says Williams wanted the film to focus on her confidence and most authentic self, the actress admits she was a bit “surprised” when Williams’ infamous catchphrase, ‘How You Doing?’ wasn’t included.
“I’m like, ‘Is it not in the script, like, what’s going on?,” Payton recalls saying, before adding that she even tried to sneak in the line.
“And I’m just going to say it: there is one part in the movie [where] I said it.” she laughs. “And it didn’t stay. And I was like, ‘Nooo!"”
Wendy Williams The Movie, also starring Morocco Omari and Kevin Hunter, premieres Saturday, January 30 at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
By Candice Williams
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