The authorized projects will give fans an up-close look at the 56-year-old talk show queen’s personal and professional life and the obstacles she had to overcome in order to find success.
When it came to casting Williams for the TV movie, the choice was easy.
Lookalike actress Ciera Payton was cast to play Williams, according to The Freelance Star.
In a Zoom interview, the Wendy Williams Show host said Payton was perfect for the role because “she wanted it. And she actually knew who I was…or am.”
Ciera Payton Was Frequently Told That She Should Play Wendy Williams if a Movie Was Ever Made About Her, So She Prepared for the Role Before She Was Even Called To Audition
Because she looks so much like the TV star, Payton, 35, revealed she has frequently been told she should play her if a movie was made. Once the biopic buzz started making the rounds, The Oval actress began studying Williams’ mannerisms and “soaking her in” by listening to her audiobooks and watching her TV interviews.
“I’m a big believer in once you kind of put things out there and start doing the actions,” Payton told the New York Post. “I thought if this happens, I want to be prepared. So I started brushing up on my Wendy Williams and watching her show and, lo and behold, in January 2020, I had the audition and had the callback and got to meet with the producers and got it.”
When she finally met the movie’s subject, Payton revealed “it felt like we had known each other for years.”
In addition to the BET soap The Oval, Payton has appeared in episodes of The Walking Dead, General Hospital, She’s Gotta have It, and NCIS. She also had a supporting role as the character Sylvia in Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral, per her IMDB page
Ciera Payton Revealed That The Hardest Part of Playing Wendy Williams Was Transforming her Body to Look Like the Curvy Star’s
While she’s Williams’ twin up top, Payton told the Post that it was “challenging” to take on Williams’ body. Because she is smaller-breasted than the voluptuous star, Payton’s styling crew had to figure out how to make her enhanced chest look “realistic.”
During her biopic audition, the actress used socks and silicone cutlets, “and that worked” to score her the part, she told the outlet. The wardrobe department later used “a lot” of socks “and we taped and pushed up” for filming, she said.
“We had a lot and they were very, very heavy, and quite honestly I don’t know how she does it,” Payton said. “Myself and what I have on my body is extremely humble.”
The padding also caused the young actress to become “sore” by the end of each filming day and she ultimately got back massages to relieve the pain.
Wendy Williams: The Movie airs January 30 at 8/7c on Lifetime.