It’s hectic time for Keke Palmer, with the launch of her “Rags” movie that debuts tonight (5/28) on Nickelodeon. Plus the July 13 premiere of “Ice Age 4: Continental Drift,” in which she voices mammoth Peaches, coming up fast with all its own attendant publicity. Plus filming of two music videos, the first one June 9. Plus more recording.
“I’m just moving with it and thinking, ‘This is what I have to do to make my dreams come true.’ I have to work hard, I have to really work hard,” she insists. “If I’m not going to work hard, then I’m not going to get the results that I want. So I can look past the stress and the tiredness and keep pushing.”
Having already proven herself a truly gifted actress (“Akeelah and the Bee,” etc.) and had a hit series (“True Jackson, VP”), the beautiful 18-year-old has already made a lot of dreams come true. But she tells us she has much more she wants to do.
Indeed, a chief attraction for jumping into “Rags” was the fact it afforded her the opportunity to get her feet wet as a producer. “The first thing that happened was, I had a little lunch meeting with Nick Cannon. He told me about this movie that he had for awhile, that he thought it would be great if I could come on board as a producer as well, and be in on the development of it, really help bring some authenticity to the script — the dialogue of young kids, and just the flavor of it. I was immediately like, ‘Yes, I want to be part of it.'”
The result is a fun, high energy flip on the Cinderella story — with Keke as a pop princess named Kadee, whose dad just happens to be a record label owner as well as her manager. Cutie pie Max Schneider (“How to Rock”) plays the musically-talented orphan who has to contend with a dreadful, demanding step-father and two crummy step-brothers. Being in on behind-the-scenes work, from plotting scenes to casting, Keke found, “It was weird to have so much power because I’m not used to it.”
She was especially interested in getting across the fact that “even though my character seems to have it all, she has her own issues” — issues Keke herself understands all too well. That Kadee is unhappily thrust into an image that’s not right for her is
something with which her alter-ego can relate. “In this industry, everyone comes across the situation where someone is trying to change them or put something on them that really isn’t them. I definitely have been there before,” she says.
She’d love to produce another project with Cannon. “We’re best friends,” she tells us. But at the top of her list of ambitions right now is getting her own music across, especially in the wake of some delays and “a lot of confusion.” She loved working with “Rags” soundtrack producer Rodney Jerkins, and says, “I’m really, really looking forward to working with him on my music. He really gets who I am as an artist.”