Monday, September 20, 2021

Keke Palmer Talks Playing 5 Characters in Facebook Watch Series ‘Turnt Up With the Taylors’

KeKe Palmer

*Keke Palmer is showcasing the range of her dynamic acting skills on the Facebook Watch series “Turnt Up with the Taylors.” Per The Hollywood Reporter, the series is “a satirical take on the reality genre about a family navigating the future of their Taylor Time reality show after daughter Chelsea “Barbie” Taylor (a character Palmer created on Instagram) decides to break free for solo fame,” the outlet writes. 

Palmer plays all five parts in addition to co-creating, co-writing and producing the eight-episode shortform comedy series. The actress recently opened up to THR about playing multiple roles on the show and which character is her personal favorite. Check out excerpts from the conversation below.

READ MORE: Keke Palmer Sparks Debate After Announcing She’s ‘Single Until Marriage’

 

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How did you dream up these characters?

I always am trying to dive into deeper topics with any of the stuff that I create, especially when it comes to comedy, because I feel it’s so awesome when the punchline is a bigger theme. For this character, Chelsea “Barbie” Taylor, what I like to say is, we have so many ideas of what a Black American is, what they should be like, what they should listen to — hip-hop, et cetera — and I thought, what if you have this character that lived her life as if she grew up in Beverly Hills? What if she lived in a totally different culture than the one that is expected of her? That was the original formation of the character and how I found her voice and what she’s into. From there, I collaborated with Facebook to build it out and create a world where I also got to explore other characters. That was awesome because I love playing with and coming up with new characters.

What was the shoot like when you’re playing five characters?

I try to work pretty quickly. I feel that you don’t need to overbeat it — you just need to know what you’re trying to get before you go in. The hardest part, obviously, was changing into each character. The shoot happened very fast because I had very little time to do it because I was also filming [Good Morning America‘s third-hour show with Michael Strahan and Sarah Haines in 2020] in New York. I came back to L.A. to film [Turnt Up], so it was a bit crazy on the schedule. But once I get on set, I morph into the character I’m doing. I go into laser focus, do it to the best of my ability, and make sure to get whatever shots we need, and then I move on. I had Chelsea’s voice before I had anyone else’s — even before I knew what she looked like — and the rest of the characters just followed based on the narrative. Slowly, as we were writing and getting it together, their voices started to come alive and become something on their own.

You wrote it with a creative partner, right?

Yeah, Max Wyeth. I met him when I was doing Scream Queens and he was doing social media stuff. He and I really hit it off and had a vibe. He saw that I really wasn’t exposed to [social media] on my own yet and he was always looking to produce, so I started doing a lady named Jacqueline that became Southern Belle Insults. From there, we became producing partners, and we continue to create content for social media and just have a lot of fun doing it.

Do you stick to the script or allow yourself to improvise?

I don’t always stick to the script. When I’m acting in other people’s projects, I try to stick to the script out of respect unless I’m told to otherwise. For my own stuff, because it’s so alive in my mind, I come up with stuff on the spot all the time. I just rip and have fun with it in the moment.

If you could describe your five characters with one word or a quick description, what would you say about Chelsea, Lil Thad, Miranda, Rick and Gammy Tay?

Oh my gosh. I’ll start with Chelsea. She is oblivious, ironically oblivious. Gammy Tay is hot under the collar. I would say Miranda is all goodness. Thad is a good time. That’s the best way I can explain who he is. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, he’s just a good time. And Rick is a loyal family man — he’s trustworthy.

I hate to ask because you created them all, but do you have a personal favorite?

I love them all in their own way. I feel like it would be unfair not to say Chelsea because she was such a character that she helped to create a whole world. I’m going to give it to her, but if I had to pick a close second, it would be between Thad and Miranda.

What was the shoot like when you’re playing five characters?

I try to work pretty quickly. I feel that you don’t need to overbeat it — you just need to know what you’re trying to get before you go in. The hardest part, obviously, was changing into each character. The shoot happened very fast because I had very little time to do it because I was also filming [Good Morning America‘s third-hour show with Michael Strahan and Sarah Haines in 2020] in New York. I came back to L.A. to film [Turnt Up], so it was a bit crazy on the schedule. But once I get on set, I morph into the character I’m doing. I go into laser focus, do it to the best of my ability, and make sure to get whatever shots we need, and then I move on. I had Chelsea’s voice before I had anyone else’s — even before I knew what she looked like — and the rest of the characters just followed based on the narrative. Slowly, as we were writing and getting it together, their voices started to come alive and become something on their own.

Read the full interview over at The Hollywood Reporter

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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