The new political drama Lee Daniels’ The Butler required 41 individual producers, a large amount for any Hollywood production.
Director Lee Daniels says he knows why.
Hollywood would not allow me to make a black drama,” he said last week in an interview in Manhattan, where he primarily lives. “I couldn’t get this movie off the ground even after ‘Precious’ made $100 million around the world,” referring to his 2009 award-season hit.
The director claims he met resistance to the film’s financing, in part, based on the notion that “black” films don’t sell in the modern marketplace.
It’s bull … that our movies don’t make money,” he said, then added pointedly that he thought industry types didn’t protest the point for reasons of cowardice and self-protection. “It’s politically incorrect to scream racism at the studios in Hollywood. People fear for their jobs,” he said.
Daniels felt insulted that Hollywood suits could dictate how much money he would need for his film given his track record. Left unsaid is that some of the biggest, most respected names in Hollywood struggle to get their films produced. Even Steven Spielberg said his Oscar-winning Lincoln almost didn’t make the big screen due to the new challenges facing dramatic film productions.