Abbott Elementary: Emmy Winner Sheryl Lee Ralph Originally Wanted to Play a Different Character

The Emmys took place earlier this week and featured some big wins for Abbott Elementary. The sitcom debuted its first season at the end of last year, and it has already become a fan-favorite series. The show was nominated for seven Emmys this year and took home three for Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series (Quinta Brunson), Outstanding Casting For A Comedy Series (Wendy O'Brien), and Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series (Sheryl Lee Ralph). Both Brunson and Ralph's wins were major highlights of the event, and Ralph recently shared that she originally wanted to play a different character. 

In a recent interview with Variety, Ralph admitted she wanted to play Ava Coleman, the role that eventually went to Janelle James who was also nominated for an Emmy this year. Ralph said of Brunson's reaction to her wanting to play Ava, "She was just short of [saying,] 'Oh, hell no!' ... She said, 'We need a queen for Barbara Howard. And you are that queen!' And I was just like, 'Baby, if you put it that way, How do I say no? What else do I need to know about that? I'm going to be the queen. I love it. Yes, I'm ready.'"

"I am on another planet," Ralph told Variety about her Emmy win. "I think I'm on the planet 999," she added. "I feel like I'm just still floating up there. Like I'm having an out-of-body experience. I know something has happened because the glitter has come off of my face. But the response has been crazy. My husband and I were in the hotel and he got up and he turned on the TV. And I opened my eyes. And first of all, there was Emmy, right by the bedside. But I could hear these reporters talking about me. I could hear myself singing as they were talking. And I was like, 'What happened in the past 12 hours?' Everything happened."

As for the upcoming second season of Abbott Elementary, the first teaser was released earlier this month. It was also announced that Hamilton alum Leslie Odom Jr. will guest star in the new season. 

"It's impossible for The Office not to be an influence. It's the golden standard of this style," Tyler James Williams (who was also nominated for playing Gregory Eddie on the series) told Variety earlier this year. "And Randall Einhorn, who [was a cinematographer and director] on The Office is one of our executive producers, and directed [six] episodes of this season. So there's gonna be a lot of things that feel that way. However, for me, unfortunately, I can no longer watch The Office. Because I don't want to bring things in that I'm not even cognizant of. I have to lose The Office in this process so that we don't end up directly stealing anything here."

Are you excited for the second season of Abbott Elementary? Let us know in the comments!