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Oprah Passed On Masturbating Maid Role In 'Paperboy' + Lee Daniels On What He Owes Blacks

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act October 5, 2012 at 12:29PM

All the behind-the-scenes reports on this film are maybe more interesting than the film itself, or at least give you some idea of just how much of a spectacle it is. 
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Lee Daniels

All the behind-the-scenes reports on this film are maybe more interesting than the film itself, or at least give you some idea of just how much of a spectacle it is. 

From yesterday's post on the battle between Nicole Kidman and director Lee Daniels over her character's use of the N-word, to this post revealing that Oprah Winfrey was initially offered the role that would eventually go to Macy Gray, that of maid Anita, Winfrey turned it down. 

And even though he may have been disappointed by her rejection, Daniels now says that it was probably for the best, because, in thinking about what Oprah would've had to do, like masturbating on a floor, he now sees that Gray was better suited for what he was going for, stating, while doing press for the film, “everybody has [their] own interpretation. She would have played it very stoic, you know, something very different. I think Macy Gray was the right choice after all.

And with regards to his representation of a maid in the film, Daniels said that he wanted his depiction of a maid to challenge those portrayed by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer in The Help, adding, “I just didn't think that the maids were right [in The Help], because I had so many family members that were maids. I really wanted to tell my version.

Well, I guess maids are human beings too, right, and like all human beings, they masturbate.

And, finally, I thought this other quote from Daniels would generate some debate:

"I owe it to African Americans to bring my A game... Some of this shit [that is released] is just wack. I take movies very seriously. And I speak for people that do not have a voice, and I owe it to my comrades that are bullied and beaten and that are told that they are nothing."

Of course, there are those who'd question whether Daniels is bringing his "A game," given his attraction to chaos on celluloid. He's a man that lives on the fringes; but that's what makes him the filmmaker that he is.

I've seen The Paperboy, and I can tell you that, at the very least, you probably won't be bored.

The critics aren't too high on it though, with a 43% consensus on Rotten Tomatoes.

This article is related to: Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey


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