Keke Palmer, one of the brightest young actors on the scene, is back this week in a role that required her to do more than learn her lines.
The Chicago native who first starting making some noise opposite Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne in "Akeelah and the Bee," costars with Ice Cube in "The Longshots." Palmer plays Jasmine Plummer, an 11-year-old girl whose uncle Curtis (Cube) molded her into a star quarterback for an all-boys team that played for the Pop Warner championship in 2003.
Although Palmer is a talented thespian and singer, she's not really athletically inclined.
She knew a little bit about football but had certainly never played the game.
"I knew a little because my dad watches it but I wasn't a huge fan of it," Palmer said. "I didn't really try it. So when we went down to Louisiana where we filmed the movie I was definitely coming in fresh learning everything I could about the sport. I learned the mechanics, got my feet down and everything came together."
Playing an athlete was a longshot for Palmer, but she had fun doing it and reuniting with her "Barbershop 2" costar Ice Cube.
"It was so inspiring--a young girl going to a national Pop Warner event on an all-male football team," she said. "I just thought that was definitely a story that needed to be told and I wanted to be a part of it."
The teen queen will next star in a Nickelodeon series called "True Jackson," about a 15-year-old girl who is vice-president of a huge fashion company. As someone who is into clothes, Palmer couldn't be happier. Being where she is now in her career was a longshot, too.
"It definitely was a long shot for me," Palmer said. "I'm originally from Chicago and my whole family, we drove three nights and four days to California to help me with acting and I definitely think that was a long shot."
The film, which opens Friday also stars Tasha Smith, Jill Marie Jones, Glenn Plummer and Garrett Morris.