Lee Daniels discusses the struggle and strategy behind funding his new movie, The Butler, as well as how his personal experiences of homophobia and racism affects his storytelling.
Banner image: (L-R) Forest Whitaker and Lee Daniels. Courtesy of The Weinstein Company
Hollywood News Banter
John Horn of the Los Angeles Times and Michael Schneider LA Bureau Chief of TV Guide magazine discuss top entertainment news stories. (Kim Masters is away.)
- The independent movies of Summer, 2013 -- like Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine and Lee Daniels' The Butler-- that could teach the movie studios a thing or two. It may be that grown-ups still want to go to the movies. Woody Allen is on more screens than any previous Allen film. "Fruitville Stations," "The Way Way Back" and "the Purge" all are doing well for indy films.
- TV's highest paid stars. Hint: Jon Stewart & Judge Judy. Late night salary king is Jon Stewart, who makes almost thirty million dollars a year on his show alone. He beats Letterman and Kimmel combined in income from the program. Judge Judy makes 47 million a year, more that any Supreme Court Justice ever made in their entire career.
- Two new channels target Millennials -- Pivot from Participant Media and FXX, an offshoot of FX. The demo is the computer and cell phone generation, who watch less TV, are less likely to be wired to cable and Sean John "Puff Daddy, Diddy,P. Diddy" Colmes has a new channel called "Revolt", a music culture station with music news, live events and, of course, music videos. FXX is moving toward millennial and slightly older, with sharp edged comedies, dramas, lots of reality TV and of course X-treme Sports.
Filmmaker Lee Daniels
Filmmaker Lee Daniels talks with Kim Masters about the uphill battle to fund his new movie, Lee Daniels' The Butler, an African American historical drama. In the end it took creative casting of white actors and a slew of producers to get the movie a green light. Daniels wonders aloud if it would have been easier to get investors if it were a white drama. He also opens up about how his personal suffering has impacted his filmmaking. As a child he experienced physical abuse at the hands of his father for being gay -- something Daniels says is not welcome in the African American community, and when attending a white High School he encountered racism. Kim asks him if, in today's Hollywood, it's harder to be African American or to be gay. He says he needs to remain silent because he wants to work.