Wendy Williams' Lifetime Movie Recreates Her Viral On-Air Fainting Moment -- See the First Look (Exclusive)

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Wendy Williams: The Movie will premiere Jan. 30 on Lifetime, and ET has your exclusive first look at what to expect from the biopic!

Executive produced by Williams, the movie takes fans on her real-life journey from a complicated child with big dreams in Asbury Park, New Jersey, to becoming a successful radio and TV host, along with all the challenges she has faced along the way. Williams is portrayed in the bopic by actress Ciera Payton, who's previously appeared in shows like The Walking Dead, General Hospital, The Oval and NCIS.

Payton told ET's Kevin Frazier that she got into character by watching clips from The Wendy Williams Show over and over. Needless to say, she has nailed the role of Williams, perfecting everything from the host's lovable Jersey accent to her sassy mannerisms.

One of the most difficult scenes Payton had to recreate, however, was the moment Williams fainted on live TV in October 2017. At the time, she was dressed as the Statue of Liberty for a Halloween-themed episode of her talk show. 

"We were literally in the hair and makeup trailer just playing it on loop," Payton explained, of how she prepared for it. "Like, 'OK, when do her hands go up? When does she blink?' It was the scene."

Payton admitted that covering the ups and downs of Williams' life had many challenges, like the moment she had to recreate the talk show queen's famous interview with Whitney Houston. Back when Williams was still interviewing celebrities on the radio, she asked Houston, "Is there drug use going on at this present time?"

"It was challenging for me because of the love and respect I have for both women," Payton explained, telling ET that she was a huge fan of Houston, who died in February 2012. "But what I love about Wendy Williams is that she goes there, and she holds nothing back." 

Of depicting Williams' own struggles with drug abuse in the past, Payton said she found the scenes triggering as she dealt with similar issues within her family. "Those scenes are very challenging, but they were also a way for me to kind of work on my own healing," she said.

Following the release of Wendy Williams: The Movie, Lifetime will also air a new original documentary -- Wendy Williams: What a Mess! -- on Jan. 30 at 10 p.m. ET. In the meantime, hear more on Williams in the video below.

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