Friday, October 23, 2009

The Musings of 'Precious' Director Lee Daniels

Director Lee Daniels' baby is gestating and is due next month. That baby, a film called "Precious", which has since been backed by Tyler Perry and Oprah and is the front-runner to win Best Picture at next year's Academy Awards, is the story of a 350-pound girl who is physically and sexually abused (there's one scene where she's forced to give her mother oral sex!), is carrying her father's child and discovers she's HIV positive. It's a powerful story based on the 1996 novel "Push" written by Sapphire.

In a riveting interview with the New York Times magazine, Lee, who once told an audience “I’m a little homo, I’m a little Euro and I’m a little ghetto" puts it all out on the line.

Here are a few other of Lee's interesting quotes from the article.

“'Precious’ is so not P.C. What I learned from doing the film is that even though I am black, I’m prejudiced. I’m prejudiced against people who are darker than me. When I was young, I went to a church where the lighter-skinned you were, the closer you sat to the altar. Anybody that’s heavy like Precious — I thought they were dirty and not very smart. Making this movie changed my heart. I’ll never look at a fat girl walking down the street the same way again.”

“I am so used to having two faces. A face that I had for black America and a face for white America. When Obama became president, I lost both faces. Now I only have one face. But old habits die hard, and sometimes I can’t remember who I’m supposed to be.”

“Mariah is everything we’re not supposed to love and yet, we absolutely love her. She’s crazy — look at her! She would throw herself under the train for you, as long as her hair was perfect."

“My sister was an obese crack addict. She had a chicken wing in one hand and a crack pipe in the other, and yet she had a line of white men waiting for her. People make assumptions about fat people that are wrong, and like my sister, Gabby is comfortable in her body. She may be in a state of denial or on a higher plane than the rest of us, but either way, she breaks your heart in the movie.”

Says Lee's Aunt Dot: “Leonardo is Lee’s given name, and we all call him Lenny. I think Lenny was gay from the time he was a baby, and his father saw him walking and acting real feminine, and he wanted Lenny to be tough. He tried to get him into boxing. He was verbally cruel. He cracked the whip.”

“He regularly beat me. One time, I put on my mom’s red patent-leather high heels, and he beat me. I knew he loved me, but he thought I wouldn’t survive as a black gay guy."

“I’d prefer to be bisexual. But I don’t think any woman is going to accept me being with a man. I had to choose. And I did. But there’s a deep connection with me and women. They listen to me. I understand them better than I understand men.”

“I asked Mo’Nique to grow a couple of pimples. And I asked her not to shave under her arms, and she went there for me.”

“I had shown the movie in L.A. to my manager, and he didn’t respond positively. My manager, who is white, said, ‘I’m sorry, but I don’t think anybody is going to see this movie.’ That man is no longer my manager.”

"I told Mo’Nique, ‘They’re going to hate you for this movie.’ She said, ‘Let them hate me.’ ”

The NY Times was able to track down Mo'Nique, who reportedly is refusing to promote the film. The Times' writer says: "I met Mo’Nique and her ever-present entourage — bodyguard, assistant, full-time videographer who records her every move from the moment she leaves her house in Atlanta to when she returns at night." Mo'Nique was in town to promote her new talk show, took a few questions about the film. She revealed that when she was 7 years old, one of her brothers began to sexually assault her. The assault lasted for four years.

"I said to Lee, if you want me to play this demon, I am there.” “Lee said, be a monster. And my brother was that monster to me. When Lee said, ‘Action,’ that’s who I became," Mo'Nique says.


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