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Oprah Looking Forward To Return To Acting; Talking To Tyler Perry, Lee Daniels, Jonathan Demme About Potential Roles

by Tambay A. Obenson
November 11, 2011 12:01 PM
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As was recently announced, she's also been chatting with Broadway producers about starring in future stage projects. So yes, expect to see Oprah Winfrey in something sometime soon, whether on stage, or on screen - and I'm not talking about another talk show - now that, as she says, she now has more flexibility, given that she no longer hosts her previous hit talk show. Although, I figured she'd be buried in building her new network OWN, and wouldn't have any time at all for anything else... certainly not right now, given that the network is struggling in its inaugural year. 

"For years, I couldn't do it...," Winfrey told Variety yesterday; "... If a film comes along that I feel really speaks to me, I would do it... I am the most relaxed I have ever been in my life doing a film because it's the only real vacation I get (and) I no longer have to be myself... I just love the opportunity to submerge into somebody else's life and not to have to deal with my own for a while," Oprah said further.

The Variety piece went on to mention that Oprah says she's "talking to helmers Tyler Perry, Lee Daniels and [Jonathan] Demme about potential roles." No Spike Lee? :)

No word on what roles specifically, nor in what future projects by each director. But take heed... don't be shocked to hear Oprah's name attached to upcoming projects by any of them. 

If I remember correctly, she was once up for a role in Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls, when the project was first announced in 2009. 

It's been just about 13 years years since she last appeared on screen in a film - Jonathan Demme's Beloved in 1998; an $80 million, near-3-hour film that failed at the box office, making just over $22 million, much to Oprah's chagrin; an occurence that, as she later said, really did a number on her. Nothing like putting your heart, soul, time (10 years) and money into a project, expecting it to be embraced, only to see it summarily rejected. But really, 3-hour dramas, set shortly after the Civil War, centered on black people, even those based on Pulitzer prize-winning novels by prominent authors, are tough sells. Lesson learned.

I doubt she'll be visiting that territory again. But ya never know.

Let's see what she cooks up with Perry, Daniels, or Demme. 

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  • Yolanda | November 14, 2011 12:36 PMReply

    Oprah needs to concentrate on producing movies. There are so many films she could produce and could greenlight because she is Oprah.

  • cc | November 12, 2011 1:20 PMReply

    I wonder if she'll make theatrically released films or if she'll make straight to tv movies for her own [OWN] network?

    The second option seems like it makes the most sense right now b/c her network is new/struggling and will need fresh content in the coming years to attract/keep viewers. It seems like that would be the best decision overall for the 'Oprah' brand (I hate when people are referred to as brands, but whatever).

    Releasing someone else's film in theaters (Perry, Daniels, Demme etc.) and having to spend time and use media coverage promoting it would just pull too much focus away from the network, I think.

    Acting for one of these directors might be a nice vacation for her, it would be good for Oprah (the person), but in the long run, possibly bad for 'Oprah', the brand.

  • BluTopaz | November 12, 2011 11:55 AMReply

    "I just love the opportunity to submerge into somebody else's life and not to have to deal with my own for a while"

    As much as I respect Oprah, I am NOT a fan of being oversaturated with mega-celebs. And again I think she's wonderful and her accomplishments are beyond phenomenal, but if starring in mega blockbusters is the only vacation she gets maybe she should discuss that with her therapist. And aligning herself with TP is not helping her credibility any.

  • CareyCarey | November 11, 2011 3:08 PMReply

    Beloved bombed b/c it was a bomb. The book to movie translation just didn't work. For one, I doubt Thandie Newton's character was the image many had in their mind. And, it wasn't one of her best performances. But Oprah can act and she's shown that she can multi-task.

  • jmp | November 11, 2011 2:30 PMReply

    jmac, you made a very good point. I am shocked "Beloved " cost $80 million- no wonder it bombed.

  • JMac | November 11, 2011 1:52 PMReply

    She really should get OWN on solid ground first before pursuing this career move.

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