August 14, 2013 |
NEW YORK -- Lee Daniels is never one to hold back on hot-button topics like race and the movie business. So when the director of “Lee Daniels' The Butler” is asked why he thinks it was hard to get his new movie financed, he comes back with a direct answer. “Hollywood would not allow me to make a black drama,” he said last week in an interview in Manhattan, where he primarily lives. "I couldn't get this movie off the ground even after 'Precious' made $100 million around the world,” referring to his 2009 award-season hit. PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times He ended up making “The Paperboy” first instead, a melodrama with some racial overtones but a largely white cast, before making the $30-million “The Butler” with a patchwork of independent financing.
January 9, 2014 |
"Lee Daniels 'The Butler," "12 Years A Slave" and the ABC drama "Scandal" were among the top nominees for the 45th NAACP Image Awards, which celebrate the accomplishments of people of color in film, TV, music and literature. Both films were nominated for outstanding motion picture, along with "Fruitvale Station," "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" and "The Best Man Holiday. " Nominated for outstanding actor in a motion picture were Chadwick Boseman for "42," Chiwetel Ejiofor for "12 Years A Slave," Forest Whitaker for "Lee Daniels' The Butler," Idris Elba for "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" and Michael B. Jordan for "Fruitvale Station.
July 31, 2012 |
EXCLUSIVE: Lee Daniels and Hugh Jackman failed to get a civil rights picture off the ground when their passion project "Selma" fell apart two years ago. But the pair are taking another crack at that subject, exploring the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination with a new film that takes an unconventional view of King's murder. Daniels will direct and Jackman will star in "Orders to Kill," a story that aims to tell an alternative version of the King shooting, according to a person familiar with the project who was not authorized to talk about it publicly.
October 3, 2012 |
NEW YORK -- By his own admission, Lee Daniels sets out to "discombobulate" actors on set. But he made his star Nicole Kidman actively uncomfortable when he asked her to say the N-word during a scene in their new movie, the period melodrama "The Paperboy. " The polarizing film, about a journalist and a murder in 1970s Florida, is a simmering pot of race and class, with Kidman's Charlotte Bless a vixen who speaks her mind. In one scene, Daniels wanted her to aim an N-word at a black costar.
October 5, 2012 |
If there were ever a genre referred to as "film maudit hot mess," movies so irrepressibly wrong as to be irresistibly right, the work of Lee Daniels would be filed on that shelf. Not many filmmakers would follow a success like "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," a film that was nominated for six Academy Awards and won two, with "The Paperboy," a movie already notorious for a jaw-dropping scene involving Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron and a jellyfish sting. That's not even the wildest thing in Daniels' interpretation of Pete Dexter's 1995 novel, brought to the screen as an overheated Southern thriller cross-wired with a melodramatic coming-of-age story underlined by an obsession with sex, race and violence.
November 14, 2013 |
Veteran costume designer Ruth Carter had her hands full with her latest feature film, "Lee Daniels' The Butler. " In it, she tackled eight tumultuous decades of U.S. political and social history - and changing fashions - filled with dozens of national figures (including LBJ, JFK and Jackie O) and had to factor in an equally daunting number of celebrities in the cast: Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Oprah Winfrey and, of course, Forest Whitaker in the lead role, among them. Carter says her focus had to be stout, and she ignored the shine of the 24-karat celebrities who surrounded her, on film and in her fitting rooms.