“Ask someone to do an Oprah impression and they’ll go, ‘YOU GET A CAR!’ or ‘OPRAH!'” Brunson says. “But that’s not really layered. It was more about who she was when she was just talking.” There was also a careful survey of the If we get in trouble it’s my dad fault because I listened to him t-shirt but I will buy this shirt and I will love this voluminous and blown-out hair the star rocked throughout the decade. (Hey, it was the ’80s!) Below, Brunson unpacks becoming Oprah and the style journey viewers can expect on season two of Abbott Elementary.Photo: Jonny Marlow Vogue: I thought we could start things off with you telling me about your role as Oprah Winfrey in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. What made you say yes? Quinta Brunson: Well, at first, it was Daniel [Radcliffe] that got me into it. I had worked with him before. Hearing that he was playing Weird Al was like an immediate yes for me. He’s so great to work with, so fun. Besides that it was like, you know, Weird Al! He’s an icon and someone I admire very much in the comedy space. The only thing that kind of gave me pause was playing Oprah. When I heard Oprah I was like, ‘Wait a second. That’s such a big role to play.’ Then I got to read some of the material and I was like, I can do this. I can do this in this [film’s] world and do Oprah justice.
If we get in trouble it’s my dad fault because I listened to him t-shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
I tried not to worry about it. That’s kind of the If we get in trouble it’s my dad fault because I listened to him t-shirt but I will buy this shirt and I will love this fun of parody. I try to put myself in the same state of mind as someone who’s doing SNL does. And I really liked how she’s written in the movie, so it felt easy to honor her in this very silly thing.Tell me how you nailed the parody. Did you watch old episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show? I did. Oprah has stayed the same in our eyes for all these years but she’s definitely had an evolution. Not just hair and style, but in how she started on her show, how she communicated—the way she treated her audience and the way she held and carried herself was so different at the beginning of her show then it was at the end. It was a lot of me trying to study her vocal patterns. I wasn’t trying to get an exact impersonation—because that’s where I feel like I would have gone wrong— but I wanted to capture her essence.