This story about Mo’Nique being blackballed in the industry keeps getting bigger and bigger. But one voice we’ve haven’t heard yet is that of the man who made the original comment. Well, Lee Daniels sat down with CNN’s Don Lemon to address that and also the very heart wrenching scene where Luscious throws a young Jamal into the trash can.
See what he had to say and then watch the full interview below.
Don Lemon: She says that she was blackballed after the movie.
No, she said that I said that she was blackballed. I didn’t say that exactly. What I said to her was–we were on the campaign and she was making unreasonable demands. And she wasn’t thinking…This is when reverse racism, I think, happens. I said, you know, you have to thank the producers of the film. You have to thank the studio and I think she didn’t understand that. I said listen, people aren’t going to respond well if you don’t.
I love her and I’ve spoken to her and she’s brilliant. And I like working with brilliant people. But sometimes artists get in their own way…I know I certainly do, often. I have my own demons.
I think that there were demands that were made from her on the Precious campaign that everyone knows about, that hurt her. And I told her that.
Can she change that?
I mean, if she plays ball! You’ve gotta play ball. This is not just show, it’s show business. And you’ve got to play ball. And you can’t scream–I don’t like calling the race card. I don’t believe in it. Because if I buy into it, then it becomes real.
Some people would say that you’re a sell-out for that mentality
I guess I’m a sell out then. Call it what it is. But I’m not going to not work and I’m not going to not tell my truth and I’m not going to not call people out on their bull. So whatever that means, sell out… I’ll see you in the theaters.
Lee Daniels has been very open and honest about how Jamal’s character and the struggles he goes through are very indicative of the traumatic experiences he’s had in his own life being a gay, Black man.
On the scene where Luscious throws Jamal in the trash
I had no intention [of putting the scene in the show]. I told my partner this–and that’s why we’re a great team–I told him this in passing. And then when it ended up in the script, I said ‘No, no. No, no.’ And some kind of way he just talked me into it. And then it came time to shoot it–and he ain’t shooting it, I’m shooting it. And it’s my life.– And so my sister who I bring along, as a good luck charm on all my films, was an extra in the scene, in that particular scene, and when it came to the kid walking towards Terrence, with his hands on his hips, I couldn’t direct the scene. I broke down in tears. Because I just… And my sister instinctively knew, got up and directed the kid. So I didn’t direct that moment. My sister did. Who ain’t a director. Painful!