placeholder
October 26, 2017 at 06:03 PM EDT

Catch the full episode of EW: The Show here and on PeopleTV. Go to PEOPLE.com/PeopleTV, or download the free app on your smart TV, mobile, and web devices.

Gabourey Sidibe is making her directorial debut with “The Tale of Four,” a short film based on a Nina Simone song for Refinery 29’s new media platform Shatterbox. On EW: The Show, the Precious Oscar nominee talked about her experiences making the film, what pushed her to direct, and her plans for future projects.

Sidibe tells EW she initially turned down the offer from Refinery 29 to direct. “Like the theme of my entire career, I didn’t realize I was ready to be an actor until I got an audition. I didn’t realize I was ready to be a director until Refinery 29 asked me if I wanted to be a director. I actually said ‘no’ because I didn’t believe I was smart enough to do it. I didn’t believe my opinions were valuable enough to share,” she says.

But that all changed when her producing partner Kia Perry asked her to direct: “I couldn’t let her down and in a strange way doing it for her allowed me to do it for myself.”

Perry brought her the Nina Simone song “Four Women,” which inspired the short. “In less than three minutes [Nina Simone] builds an entire world, an entire universe around these three women,” explains Sidibe. “So it was kind of easy to build a 23-minute film around these four women, and what happens is, we still want more.”

The film touches on the Black Lives Matter movement, which Sidibe says she was eager to explore because the state of the world brings her so much fear and anxiety. “What I did to be proactive is, I made this film,” she says.

Though this was the Empire actress’ first project as a director, Sidibe says the job also helped put her on an important journey of self-discovery. “As an actor I only worry about my one character, I only worry about my lines. But as a director I worry about the color of the curtains. I worry about everybody’s lines, every character,” she explains. “There’s something really beautiful and freeing in knowing that I have the freedom to choose what you say and how you say it. I felt like a flower blossoming and I was learning myself and I was getting to know who I actually am and that my opinions are actually valuable because as it turns out people will listen to me.”

She hopes to continue directing and to branch out into screenwriting because she has many stories to tell, including one about her job before she broke out as an Oscar-nominated actress. “I was literally a phone sex operator the day before I started filming my first film. I took off from work so I could go to the audition,” she says. “When the movie was first coming out one big interviewer knew and wanted me to tell the story and I was like, ‘No I’m not going to let you tell my story, I’m going to do it.'” Though that career is behind her until she chooses to write a film about it, Sidibe says she still has trouble not adopting a sexy voice on the phone, especially when ordering room service.

Watch the video above for more. The Tale of Four is available now to watch.

You May Like

Comments

EDIT POST