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Staff / December 24th, 2009 / No Comments

Stacy Ferguson, better known to millions of fans as Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, took a detour from her Grammy Award-nominated chart-topping career as a pop singer to co-star in Nine, the big-screen version of the Tony Award-winning musical. In the film, Fergie transforms herself into Saraghina, a lusty Italian prostitute who belts out the show-stopping “Be Italian.”

Fergie told Parade.com’s Jeanne Wolf that getting the role was a challenge, but joining the cast of acclaimed stars, which includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman and Sophia Loren, was even more intimidating.

Ready for a time-out.
“I had been touring for five-and-a-half years straight, living a very rock-and-roll lifestyle in different hotel rooms every other night. They were planning another big tour for me and I said, ‘I’m a little bit burned out. I need to take a break.’ And then I found out Nine was casting and I just went for it. But I had to fight to get the role.”  

Her audition secret.
“I’ve learned, since I was a little girl, that when you want something, you walk in as the character. So I tried to make my lips look fuller and red and more Italian, and I re-did my hair in a bigger style. I really felt transformed. Then, as I was leaving my hotel in London, I suddenly just got scared that the paparazzi were going to get a picture of me, and everybody would be going, ‘What was she thinking?'”

Facing the A-team.
“I was definitely the singer coming into this A-list acting world. So knowing I was going to be among these people who are at the top of their game, I really just thought, ‘You know what, maybe I’ll just sit in a corner and kind of be a sponge and not speak unless spoken to.’ I remember the first person I met was Daniel Day-Lewis and 15 minutes later I had to belt out a song right in front of him. I’ve admired his work for years, and I just kind of had to push through it and say, ‘Well, what the hell.’ So even the singing was a challenge.”

Finding her inner Italian.
“I’m singing as the character Saraghina. I don’t move the same way she does and we definitely have different lifestyles. I would walk around the set and sit down and I would never cross my legs because Saraghina wouldn’t. I watched old films, actually old Sophia Loren films, like Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, to see how an Italian woman like Saraghina behaves. She has a raw physicality, a very earthy woman who’s full of fire. I really admired her lust for life.”

Pass the pasta.
“I did gain more than a few pounds to get that curvy Italian look. My approach was just to eat everything in sight, from burgers and fries to big plates of French cheese and, of course, pasta. I also skipped the gym. I guess you could say I wasn’t very health conscious, but it was great not to worry about your cholesterol. Now, maybe I should since I’m still losing weight.”

Relating to “Be Italian.”
“It’s a song about, basically, living life. It’s about enjoying life. Italians love food. They love dancing. They love to sing. They love to flirt. They love to have sex, they love to love. There is a part of me that feels a connection to that.”

Her first love wasn’t Italian.
“Actually, my first puppy love was a punk rocker, and he showed me the film Sid and Nancy which wasn’t a film that my mom would have approved of me seeing at all. But I’ve always been fascinated with boys like that. Your tween crushes give you feelings that are so strong that they really leave a mark on your memory.”

She’ll never be a method actress.
“I’m pretty good about not taking my character off the set. We’d get off work and we would go hang out. We went to the Madonna concert after one of our workdays. But maybe I’m not as committed to staying in character as Daniel Day-Lewis, who sort of was always immersed in his role of Guido, even when we weren’t filming. He sent me little notes, saying things like, ‘Great job. Love, Guido.’ I was Saraghina when the cameras were rolling and then I kind of left it there.”  [Source]

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