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‘I Felt Like I Directed The Film In Handcuffs And A Muzzle’ – Lee Daniels On ‘The Butler’

'I Felt Like I Directed The Film In Handcuffs And A Muzzle' - Lee Daniels On 'The Butler'

“It’s very un-Precious and un-Paperboy… I can’t go into my bag of tricks on this one: no urination, no baby falling down the stairs, no cursing at all. We only have one ‘f—,’ which Lyndon Johnson gets. I felt like I directed the film in handcuffs and a muzzle.”

Lee Daniels talking to The Hollywood Reporter about his upcoming PG13-rated The Butler, which will be a first for him – films he’s directed that were rated PG13.

He did warn at Cannes last year, when The Paperboy premiered that I’m trying to keep it [The Butler] PG13 which is not easy for me.

Meanwhile, as you might also recall, Harry Lennix, who said he was offered a part in The Butler, after he read the script, called it “N*ggerfied… Historical Porn.

Despite what Lenix said, I’m curious to see what a handcuffed and muzzled Lee Daniels work might look like.

The film is scripted to cover several decades in the life of Eugene Allen, the White House butler who served many presidents, and is loaded with a cast that includes: Forest WhitakerOprah WinfreyDavid Oyelowo, John CusackAlan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Melissa Leo,Liev SchreiberJesse Williams, Mariah CareyYaya DaCosta, and many more.

Music for the film will be composed by the legendary Quincy Jones.

Laura Ziskin Production, The Butler is being produced by Pamela Oas Williams, the late Laura Ziskin, Lee Daniels, and Cassian Elwes; executive produced by Hilary Shor and Adam Merims; and co-produced by David Jacobson.

For our thoughts on the film’s script, and casting, read Vanessa’s script review HERE, and Natasha’s casting close-up of the film HERE.

No release date yet, but it’s expected this year.

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@CAREYCAREY I did not have a point of contention. I was agreeing that I did not see Lee Daniels films in the light of him having or that he should pull back. And my reference was that across 110 street was much more raw of film for it's time if folks want to see something raw and truly with some raw cinematic moments that's all I was saying no argument here


I'm sorry, but Lee Daniel's films have been some of the most HONEST depictions of people of all races in some of the most REAL LIFE situations that emit DRAMA ever to grace the silver screen. Most dramatic cinema is NOT representative of real life drama!! Keep on keepin' on Lee!!


Okay, let's line up. All the I hate Lee Daniels… I despised Django, The Help and Precious on one side of the room. Everyone else go to the neutral corner.

Now that we understand one another, let's look at what both Daniels and Lennix said. First, given the context of Daniels' prior films (Shadowboxer and The Paper Boy) I don't see what's so confusing about his remark. Hell, unless there's some deep dark secrets that we don't know about the man (the butler) that we don't know, the story is out of his wheel-house. I know Bill Clinton didn't have a problem getting his freak on in the White House (and Marilyn Monroe has a few secrets) but not the butler. Unless, of course he was doing the mandingo… all night long? Hey, we don't know why he keep that job all those years. Come on now, there's no secret about about ugly white women's love of a strong black stud. But nawl, this won't be a story of homosexuals bond and gagged in a 3 hour motel (damn, did yawl see that mess). I doubt we'll see a black man an an old white woman screwing in a grave (shame of Cuba & Helen Mirren). But maybe… just maybe… the butler will piss in the punch. Noooooo, stop it. This is not a soft porn movie.

Speaking of porn, that leads me to Mr. Lennix's remark. Make no mistake about it, if porn is something that's offense to some, yet pleasurable to others, the Butler could possibly be a huge display of porn. I mean, if an exaggerated form of human behavior that pleases some yet uses another human, the butler… could be described as porn. I mean, the butler wasn't no shaft or Nat Turner. I think he had to be more like Morgan Freeman's character in Driving Miss Daisy. Come on now, just think of all those racist white men who lived in the White House. Now think of some of the conversations that took place (remember Viola Davis lurking around the corner as the white women talked about her ass). Shiiiit, that brotha had to walk around like he was a ghost. I'm not saying he was a spittin' image of Samuel Jackson's "Stephen" in Django, but don't expect the image of the Rev. Al Sharpton. So get ready, "historical porn" might be the lick… ugly, offensive, nasty and dehumanizing to some… yet others will smile and be entertained and say, "it's based on a true story, so it's history… besides, it's only a movie"


Daniels' handcuff and muzzle metaphor a subliminal reference to Lennix's porn remark?


I'm really digging the Lee Daniels' hate going on in this talkback. Keep on keeping on.


This brotha needs handcuffs and a muzzle more times than often. SMH.


So….he likes to show extremely explicit stuff in film for shock value?

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