Last week I shared with you my interview with Precious actress Paula Patton, but now it's time to hear from the director himself, Lee Daniels. I asked the Sundance-award winner — the film took home the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize — how it feels to hear Oscar buzz, and what it's like when Oprah is on your speed dial. Plus, he opened up to me about how the movie helped him overcome from his own dark past. Ready for his incredibly candid responses?
- On all the hype surrounding Mo'Nique's performance: I'm not the least bit surprised. It's magic onset. People are talking about this buzz, but she and I laugh it off, because we got a movie made, and there were no arrests! Seriously, the cops came, but they didn't shut us down. They said, 'OK, we'll give you five minutes.' There were no arrests, and no one got in any trouble, so for us, the win was finishing the film.
- On how he felt when Oprah and Tyler Perry jumped on as producers: Tyler calls and says, "Hey, it's Tyler." Huh?! Oprah calls, "Heeeey." It's crazy! It gave me hope that people would see the film.
- On the Oscar buzz: Why do people say that? What happens if you don't?! Then your feelings are so hurt. You teeter on wanting so desperately for it, but dare not dreaming for it, because your feelings are so crushed if it doesn't happen.
To hear more from Daniels,
- On why he wanted to make Precious: To heal. Some horrific things have happened to me [in my past], not only at home, but outside of my home life, [like] being openly gay. Being gay is nothing like it was when i was a kid — back in my day, you were literally stoned, a dislocated arm, teeth knocked out. So I try to see the light often. It's hard, because we all have hard lives, and some of us have it harder. What I like to find is people who have had lives just a little harder than mine [like Precious] so I can feel that mine wasn't as bad as it was.
- On what he learned from making the film: I look at [the film] as a process. This was not a beautiful journey, because I learned so much about myself. I had been holding on to so much anger from the past, and it was making me an ugly person. It was making me judge people like Precious, because of who I was. How sad was that to find out at 50, that I would've lived such a better life if I had just let go of the hostility. [But once I let go] it felt beeautiful! Liberating!
I was so moved to hear Daniels talk about his own healing through the film — hopefully, it will have the same effect on others when it arrives in theaters next week.
Before the release, I'll be running my interview with Gabourey Sidibe, the newcomer that's making headlines for her Precious performance. Be sure to check back for that later — you're going to love her.