‘Scream Queens’: Keke Palmer Was Kept in the Dark About Zayday

Since Keke Palmer has been making waves in the industry since she was a child, she has no shortage of memorable roles. But perhaps one of her most iconic is that of Zayday in the TV series, Scream Queens. Palmer’s character was packed with strength and humor and was a great foil to Emma Roberts’ character, Chanel. But just how did Palmer land such a coveted role? The process was actually fairly abnormal.

Scream Queens alum Keke Palmer attends the Thanksgiving parade in a large coat and earmuffs
Keke Palmer | Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy’s Inc.

Because of Palmer’s resume, some of her roles are offered to her outright in lieu of an audition. So, it wasn’t unusual when Palmer’s agency reached out to her and shared that Ryan Murphy, who created Scream Queens, was considering her for a part in a new TV series that he was creating. However, what was unusual was that Palmer’s agent had little to no information about the show or the character that Palmer could potentially be playing. In a conversation with Interview Magazine, the Jump In! alum shared how she first learned about Zayday.

Keke Palmer reveals how she first learned about ‘Scream Queens’

“I was actually on vacation and my agent called and said, ‘Ryan Murphy’s doing a new show, and he’s considering you as a character on it,'” Palmer shared about how she first learned about Scream Queens. “I’m like, ‘What? What’s the new show?’ ‘We don’t know any information.’ ‘When’s it going to shoot?’ ‘We don’t know any information.’ ‘What part does he want me to play?’ ‘We don’t know any information. He just wants to meet with you.’ I’m like, ‘Okay. I definitely want to meet with him and I definitely want to be a part of whatever it is he’s doing,’ but it was kind of blindly going into it.”

The ‘Nope’ movie star was kept in the dark about her character, Zayday, even after she was cast

But even after the Akeelah and the Bee alum did meet with Murphy, she still didn’t have a bunch of information to go on before she accepted the role. In fact, all Murphy would tell her was that he pictured Zayday as a very strong character and someone who could rival Chanel. Thankfully, that little bit of information was enough for Palmer and she agreed to come aboard Scream Queens. Still, she didn’t receive a script or more information about her character until about a week before she started filming. But while that might have made some people uncomfortable, Palmer found it both challenging and fun.

Palmer loved the challenge of ‘Scream Queens’

“With most shows, you get all the stuff upfront,” the Scream Queens alum shared. “You know what’s happening with your character, you know what’s it about. It’s this type of format and that’s it. But that’s not how Ryan Murphy’s shows are. His shows are all about keeping it fun and exciting. The less information that he can give the actors, the more it forces us to really be engaged in what we’re doing. It was a totally different experience working with him. It was a really fun, thrilling set to be on. Off the top, you’re coming to work everyday playing games with yourself: ‘How can I make this better? How can I make this funnier? How can I really put all that I can into this character?’ It was exciting, because that’s how the scripts made you feel. You’d see this material and you’re like, ‘This stuff is outlandish. How can I really give it what it deserves as an actor? How can I make this beat work or make that moment explosive?'”

Clearly, not having much information about Zayday didn’t limit Palmer’s acting capabilities. To this day, Scream Queen fans enjoy what the Chicago native was able to bring to her character. We’re sure fans look forward to seeing what the actor does next.

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