Some have worried that high-profile endorsements from Oprah and Tyler Perry might overshadow Precious, this fall’s Sundance- and Toronto-fêted Oscar-contending drama about a Harlem teenager living under abuse (were Oprah and Perry to blame for the film’s snub by the Gotham Awards? wonder Lou Lumenick and Tom O’Neil). But last night, the Times posted Lynn Hirschberg’s awesome profile from Sunday’s magazine of loose-talking Precious director Lee Daniels, and it’s now clear that if anybody steals the movie’s spotlight this awards season, it’ll probably be him. You should definitely read the whole thing, but we’ve pulled some out-of-context highlights after the jump.
• “I’m in another place right now … I realize I don’t have to sing a song or dance a dance just to make my dream come true. I’ve got Oprah!”
• “Mariah is everything we’re not supposed to love and yet, we absolutely love her. She’s crazy — look at her! She would throw herself under the train for you, as long as her hair was perfect.”
• “I asked Mo’Nique to grow a couple of pimples. And I asked her not to shave under her arms, and she went there for me.”
• “Even now, I don’t think twice about raising money. It’s no different than a drug deal. People have trouble getting movies made, but how many people could go out and steal for their families? You go in, you go gangster, you get what you’ve got to get and go on to the next. It’s just another hustle.”
• “I’d been using a lot of cocaine. I’m embarrassed to say this, but I had to learn to bring down my bravado. When you’re finding yourself in the world, you start blinging and dinging and dingdingdang dang, and next thing you know, you’re in the hospital.”
• Here’s the one sentence that best encapsulates the whole piece: “‘I kind of co-directed Monster’s Ball,’ Daniels told me as he ordered another drink (the actual director was Marc Forster).”
If Precious is this year’s Slumdog Millionaire, then Lee Daniels is definitely 2009’s Anil Kapoor.