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August 2008
THE LONGSHOTS | An Interview with Keke Palmer

An Interview with Keke Palmer
By Wilson Morales

August 18, 2008

With the exception of Dakota Fanning and Keke Palmer, you don’t see many 14 year olds getting leading role parts in major studio films that have adult theme. Palmer is clearly one the rising stars of her generations whose talents go beyond acting. The girl can sing as well.

Breaking out in the film world in the critically acclaimed film, ‘Akeelah and the Bee’ opposite Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne, Palmer won several accolades for her role in the film and from starred in the Disney Channel Original film, ‘Jump In!’, which drew a huge audience. When you add an album she did as well a few more films, Palmer has developed quite a fan base.

Coming next for her is role where she literally had to exert herself physically as she plays the like of Jasmine Plummmer who achieved greatness as the first female on a Pop Warner football team. ‘The Longshots’ was directed by Limp Bizkit front man Fred Durst and also stars Ice Cube, Tasha Smith and Jill Marie Jones

Based on a true story, a poor Illinois town comes together behind the local Pop Warner football team and their unlikely quarterback, Jasmine Plummer, the first female in Pop Warner football history. Under the tutelage of her uncle Curtis (Ice Cube), a former high school football star, Jasmine leads her team, the Harvey Colts, to the Pop Warner Super Bowl and inspires the town of Wallace to reclaim some of its former glory.

In speaking with Palmer, she talks about her role, learning of sport of football, and her upcoming TV and film roles, which includes playing rapper Roxanne Shante.

How does it feel like to play a football player?

Keke Palmer: It’s very cool. I’m very excited. To act alongside Ice Cube is very cool and be directed by Fred Durst is amazing.

How did go about in getting the role?

KP: I met up with Fred and after a while I got the part.

How much did you know about football before you took the role?

KP: I didn’t know how to play or anything at all and then when I went to Louisiana, I was in training for about a month. I was learning the mechanics and learning what the game was about. I still don’t watch it, but I love playing it.

Do you have female friends who have played the game?

KP: I have friends who have played baseball and basketball, but not too much football.

How was working with Ice Cube?

KP: Really, really fun. He’s just a cool guy.

Did he give you tips about the game of football or about the business of acting?

KP: Yes. He just told me to do well and follow the right path and stuff like that.

How was football training?

KP: Football training was fun. I love my coach. He’s a real nice guy. I had so much learning it because I really didn’t understand what football was, so it was all refreshing to me.

How was wearing the shoulder pads and practicing in Shreveport, Louisiana?

KP: Well, it was cold while we were there so I was freezing all the time. Then we came back in the summer to do some reshoots and it was really hot, so I got to experience the best of both climates I guess.

Tasha Smith plays your mother and the both of you have been in Tyler Perry films. Did you talk about that while being on the set?

KP: Yes. We talked about how Tyler’s doing some wonderful things right now.

What was the best part of shooting the film?

KP: Playing the sport and making everyone proud. People were rooting for me as we were going through the footing scenes. That was a good feeling.

Can you talk about the TV show you’re about to do, ‘True Jackson, VP’?

KP: I play a teenager who gets a vice-president job at a huge fashion company and it’s how I deal with that and how I realize that the adult world, my job, isn’t too different from high school. There are cliques and crushes, and friends and bosses. It’s how I deal with all these issues. The cast is awesome. It comes out in the fall and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.

Are you prepared to start working on a TV show everyday as opposed to doing a film once in a while?

KP: Definitely. I love that I get to work on week and it’s something that I will be used to and I’ll have a steady tutor on set. Whenever I’m not working on set, it’s just me independently, but I’m also glad that I will have a tutor to help me out.

How will you be able to balance that as well as films?

KP: I’ll still will be doing both. I will get a break and get to do movies then.

Will you still be playing Roxanne Shante in ‘The Vapors’?

KP: Yes. Hopefully, it will still happen. They haven’t got the funding yet. So, we are just waiting for that and once they do, I will definitely be part of the project.

How good of a rapper are you?

KP: I’m a very good rapper and will make Roxanne proud.

Have you met her?

KP: No, I haven’t met her, but my mom has spoken to her a couple of times on the phone.

The story of the Vapors came before you were even born so how much do you know about that world?

KP: Didn’t know much. Look some of it up. Already know about Marley Marl, Biz Markie, and a few others, but didn’t much on Roxanne Shante, so my mom talked to her and we found out a little more about her story and I thought it was interesting that after she was done with rapping and was out of the business, she had made sure that the record label paid for her education. I thought that was really good.

Do you have anything else lined up?

KP: I did a movie with Kevin Spacey and Robin Williams called ‘Shrink’. It’s an ensemble piece about Kevin Spacey playing a psychologist struggling with his problems while at the same time helps his clients going through their struggles and how they help one another. I play one of his clients. The film comes out sometime next year.

When folks come out to see ‘The Longshots’, what do you want them to get out it?

KP: I want every girl to know that we can do anything. We can play sports and not be afraid of what people will think. Just believe in yourself.

THE LONGSHOTS opens on August 22, 2008


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