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About The Production
Screenwriter Nnegest Likké had always wanted to create a story about plus-size women. For her, they represented a segment of the movie going public that was usually being lampooned by Hollywood when it wasn't being completely ignored.

"All the stories out there were either spoofing plus-size people or making them look like buffoons,” says Likké. "I wanted to write a comedy, but not something that made fun, or couldn't be taken seriously in some ways.”

Once Likké had her goal defined, she faced a new obstacle. "Unfortunately, I had no actor,” she says, "and I didn't want anybody in a fat suit.”

Then her mother introduced her to a 2001 DVD called THE QUEENS OF COMEDY and the brash, bawdy comedy of Mo'Nique. The actress, who has had roles in the films DOMINO, SOUL PLANE and BABY BOY, gained attention and praise for her portrayal of Nicole "Nikki” Parker on the popular UPN comedy series "The Parkers” for five years.

"When I saw Mo'Nique in the QUEENS OF COMEDY I knew I had found my vehicle so I wrote the script with her in mind,” says Likké. "I knew she would bring that loveable, comedic, sexy sassiness to the table that I needed my main character to have.”

At the time, Likké was working—and earning good money—as a writer and segment producer on a hit reality TV show. "During my hiatus, I decided I wasn't going back. After I saw Mo'Nique, I said, ‘I'm going to write this script, and I'm just going to pray to God that I can find her, get her the script, and that she'll love it.' Then she and I would go to the studios.”

Likké's spirit was indomitable. "I knew that if I wrote the script, and if I could just get to her, this could happen,” she says.

It would take three years, but Likké did write the script and eventually got it into the star's hands. But first, Likké needed a creative and financial backer. She met with producer Bobby Newmyer, who has produced such films as TRAINING DAY and THE SANTA CLAUSE films at the offices of his company, Outlaw Productions.

"It was incredible,” Likké says reflecting on she and Newmyer's first meeting which lasted a whopping four hours. "We had an instant soul mate connection and it was strangely beautiful. Who'd have thought this young, black woman from the projects and this 48 year old, privileged, Jewish white man from Bel Air would have anything in common?” she says. "We talked about everything in that meeting, even about my father being from Ethiopia and my various trips to Africa, and then I found out he was working on a project about Africa called THE LOST BOYS OF THE SUDAN. The coincidences were overwhelming.”

In another fortuitous coincidence, Newmyer and Likké discovered they had stumbled upon Mo'Nique at the same time in the same way - by seeing her in THE QUEENS OF COMEDY - and they both instantly fell in love with her and knew they wanted to do a project with her. Likké immediately began writing the script PHAT GIRLZ and a year later, it brought her and Newmyer together.

Newmyer then told Likké, he wanted to shoot PHAT GIRLZ on the then experimental HD digital video instead of film (in order to cut the budget in half) and asked her if she wanted to direct it.

"The best that I was hoping for at this meeting was that he'd say, ‘I want to buy your script and I want to produce your movie,' says Likké. "I was shocked speechless when Bobby asked me to direct this film. It was the most surreal moment of my life. My dream was always to direct one day. It was the beginning of an amazing adventure.”

The adventure continued when Mo'Nique got the script and fell in love with it—not at lunch with her agent or at a meeting with her manager, but in her bathtub.

"When I first read the script, I was in my bathtub,” the actress and comedian admits. "I could not put it down. I was sold. I called Nnegest Likké that night and I said, ‘Sister, I read your script.


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