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During The Hollywood Reporter‘s recent inaugural “Breakthrough Performers Panel,” which I moderated, best supporting actor Oscar hopeful David Oyelowo had all of the other panelists entranced as he described what it is like to be directed by Lee Daniels, for whom he worked twice over the past year, on The Paperboy and Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
From the way Oyelowo explained it that day — and other stars of The Butler, including Forest Whitaker and Cuba Gooding Jr., have described it to me since — Daniels certainly sounds like one of the most unconventional filmmakers of all time.
Daniels wears his emotions on his sleeve, Oyelowo explained, and will often break into tear of joy or sadness while on set. Moreover, the actor added, “He is not a respecter of persons,” and will not hesitate to yell “Fake!” at his actors, sometimes in the middle of a take, no matter how famous or respected they are. (The Butler‘s Jane Fonda and Oprah Winfrey have both said that he yelled it at them — Winfrey in the middle of her first take on the film, which was her first acting gig on a film in 15 years.)
But, Oyelowo emphasizes, he is just as generous with his compliments (he will often yell “Genius!” after a good take) — and, he adds, “He is as hard on himself as he is on his actors.”
For more, check out the video of Oyelowo’s comments at the top of this post.
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