Gabourey Sidibe exploded out of the gate with 2009's Precious, for which she earned an Academy Award nomination. But Gabby earned something even more important thanks to an endless series of hilarious talk show appearances: a devoted following. One that has watched her flourish as Andrea on Showtime's The Big C -- a dramedy that's as multi-faceted as the actress.
Following Andrea's emotional breakdown at the end of last year when her wedding derailed at the last minute, a drastically different version of Andrea returned in last week's premiere, as she came back from a trip to Ghana newly connected with her heritage. And according to Gabourey, that's just the beginning of the changes coming this season.
Insider.com: The premiere episode seemed to embrace comedy more than ever -- will this lighter tone continue throughout the season?
Gabourey Sidibe: Yea, I think so. It's really because Cathy might be in the acceptance phase of her disease. She's got a new attitude this year – hanging out at bars, living it up, which makes everything else on the show more fun too.
Insider: Andrea returned pretty different from her trip to Africa -- will she stick to this newfound faith?
Gabourey: I have so many friends who travel to Africa and come back super Afro-centric. They're all about Mother Africa. I think that Andrea is like that. She's strong in her conviction that this is who she is now. This is her life. She went there heartbroken. At a time in her life when she was really on the floor, you know? And this is what she filled her heart with.
Insider: You know fans want Andrea to fill her heart with Adam, right?
Gabourey: Why?! It's so weird! I can not tell you how often people ask me if Andrea and Adam are ever going to get together!
Insider: You're not on board with that plan, I take it.
Gabourey: I think it's incestuous. Also, I love [Gabriel Basso, who plays Adam] – I call him my child. My 17-year-old baby [laughs]. I can not envision the two of them ever. No.
Insider: Is that an opinion Darlene Hunt [creator] shares?
Gabourey: It's mostly me [laughs] but also I think in the actual story a part of Andrea's purpose is to straighten him out when he's mean to his mother. She's someone who shows him how to be better. She's very much the big sister, guardian angel. She gives him a lot of mess. I mean, she's just always calling him names with no response from him, so I think that's very much what their relationship has evolved into. She is way older than him – even though in reality it's only a 2 year age difference, I think she's much older than him in a lot of other ways.
Insider: While we're talking about 'keeping it straight,' I know Andrea and Sean accidentally end up running a gay phone sex line this season. What was your reaction to that storyline?
Gabourey: I loved it -- with like 5 O's, 3 V's and 17 E's [laughs]. Wait until you see those scenes, they're so funny. All the phone sex stuff is so hilarious. I'm secretly, but not so secretly, in love with John Hickey. He's so handsome. Everyone loves him.
Insider: How much on-set blushing was there while filming those scenes?
Gabourey: There's a lot of blushing going on this season. In the latter part of the season there's an exchange between my character and Susan Sarandon's character that is just too much. I was giggling the whole time. I couldn't hold it together in that scene.
Insider: Did you ever think you'd talk about the scene you filmed with Susan Sarandon?
Gabourey: This season has been really nutty. We've had some really amazing guest stars. There was one really, really late night this season and around one in the morning I realized I was sitting at a table with Susan Sarandon, Laura Linney, Oliver Platt and Allison Janney. Like, this is my reality? I was at the fancy grown-up actor table. It's exciting.
Insider: In addition to the guest stars, what are you excited for fans to see this season?
Gabourey: I'm stoked for fans to see Cathy's journey – in season one, she was in this very suburban shell. I'm excited for people to see a different side of her this year. It's like an awakening in a lot of ways. There's a lot of Andrea/Sean stuff – and Andrea gets super serious about being Africa. She also gets a job this year, and because God has heard my prayers, there are a lot of Andrea/Paul scenes. There are so many, Oliver [Platt] and I are thinking about writing a buddy comedy together about two rogue cops [laughs].
The Big C airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. on Showtime.
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- Gabourey Sidibe