« WTF with Marc Maron Podcast

Episode 847 - Lee Daniels

2017-09-17 | 🔗
Lee Daniels got his start in show business by running a nursing agency. That may seem unusual but the road to success for the producer-writer-director behind Precious, The Butler and Empire has always been unorthodox. As Lee tells Marc, the sideways nature of his path to achievement matches up with his personal life, in which he found out by phone one day that he was going to have to put the breaks on his partying and become a father to his niece and nephew.

Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sign up here for WTF+ to get the full show archives and weekly bonus material! https://plus.acast.com/s/wtf-with-marc-maron-podcast.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Alright, let's do this. How are you what the fucker is, what the fuck buddies, what the fucking is, what the fuck nick's what's happening. I am MARC Maron. This is my podcast how's. It go. today on the show, look at me setting up the show properly today on the show. Daniels. The director producer writer of empire the butler monsters ball. They then he's at he's going to be here. We we talk. about an hour, he only had I had tight window, but it was good. I think we locked in and we can. We got some stuff done got we emotionally bonded and shall each other a little bit and it was a exciting It was moving. I need one of those. I need one,
That's why I'm like this kind and a knife making me have feels that have the kids say it feels that we're at so what happening. I'm sick, I'm sick, not only you know. Not only do I have like four stitches in my mouth now. I've got a fucking cold, I'm sure you can hear it but The show must go on? Ok, the show must go on But if, if you wonder why southward, that's it? Those two things Harry dean, Stanton passed away, which is sad. He was very old, but it's sad still nonetheless does not matter. He was one of those guys that you just always thought was going to be forever and so on some level, and he is because in so many movies by we did repost the original interview. I did with him which, if any of you have been with me for a long time. I was very insecure about it
two people got mad at me because they said it was fine. He was old and I as too hard on myself or what did you back to you idiot he's old man but I just wanted to say that we did not put that interview back up. If you wanted to check in with that, I did see there. new movie lucky to that, but I would have to be his last movie and I think it was a very It's a very personal movie for him. I think not I'm not being paid say this and I don't know where I got the film or who sent it to me. It was directed by John Carroll, lynch, who is also an act that you might remember, played death, Frances, mink, dormant husband, enough fargo, but the movies where's harry gain and he's just like ninety or old atheists to his out lived now smoked his contemporaries. So you do it's like it's not him, but it is him in a way, I believe- and it's a pretty great movie. Wages in iran livingston tom scare. It has apart It is want older cats. You haven't seen. It
by recommended I don't know where you can find it, but death. It's good movie. It's called lucky if you have a a jones, to see the last film that harry dean. Stanton did, I believe, I'm I'm not mistaken. You shall wash out cause it's it's it's Oh little movie, it's it's a little stylized, but it's great You have harry dean. Ok, I just want to put that. There are more embryo raw little rock, I'm fucking sick. So here's! What Let's read a couple of emails want to talk about Eric clapton for a minute I talked about. Oh, the bag situation. That sounds dirty, but it's not first The e mails area it says due to subject line dude is that right, the your butt in glow. Please say yes, that from raw
so I wrote back of course, and he wrote back nice. That was a nice exchange, one to share with you and, one subject line to good my girlfriend farted in front of me for the first time, while laughing watching too real. So thanks for that intimate moment progression in our relationship, your best work yet glad to help out man that was for marcus. That's a big moment for apple and I I'm proud, I'm proud of this special but at the moment, I'm more proud that I facilitated that. Wonderful moment between you, two and you're welcome, and thank you for Jim to real on networks. I appreciate that now the tea issue, let's get to the tea as you as you know, I spoke about buying a bag of pg tips was at one thousand one hundred and fifty tea bags in it, which was too much so I have pressure, don't think I'm going to make it for intimidating it. It's a harbinger,
of my mortality? There there's a lot of problems that have. I still have stuff that big bag into a cabinet num abbe, have a little tin for people im, just filling the tim, but I got an email after actually talking about unloading, the pg tips, pg tips wanted eagle rock, which is close to me. My name is well in my wife and I recently moved to eagle rock from london. I was listening to your lord wtf episode and heard you've over ordered pg tips bags like true english. We of doing quite a lot of pity tips congrats as it's the only tr onto our last small box, so I'd be up for buying some if you, if you wanted no joke love the podcast by the way cheers will and I dunno what's going on with me, but I'm a I am doing. Some fan outreach. And I wrote back sure I can meet you later today, I'll bring some. When is good marin will amazing afraid I'm at work the weekdays and well, but can either come meet you.
weekend or on my way home one night after work. If that's cool, just let me know how much money thanks so much- and I said maybe the weekend. Need money have a lot of t Marin he said yeah weaken is cool, I'm around great. Thank you. So pg tips is literally the only thing we get homesick for and then he hey mark. Let me know when one good, then he started started pressure a bit. Let me know when this week and I felt a jones come and like you, I teased him. I teach them with this big drop of peachy tariffs, which is a highly addictive substance. She says, going to be on york boulevard in about an hour if that works also have some vinyl for you to say, thanks cheers well. So now I No, you mail mid, who have also aberdeen like myself. You don't like it get back to your. What so now he's sweetening the deal with vinyl like you'd, like you, need to stuff raised right I don't know really on the level with this shit with this shit. It's audacious that I would expect this happened with the mid level. Celebrities such as MARC Maron, that's what I'm for hang and then I said I have to go by.
Dog and cat on call rada next to the poker place in the strip mall. Can you be there for thirty I'll hand off the goods and will said well see you then no cops. So I did key drop in the parking lot strip mall did a pg tips, tea drop for my english pal and I got a couple records Don't they'll go crazy, I'm not I'm not going to be doing that every week is just dumb and fragile and vulnerable, I'm a little ill. I like I got. I can't I'll explain it later, oh man, so I went and saw clapton and, as some of you know, I I don't What years a thing, and I guess I can tell you. I have a tremendously big fan of Jimmie Vaughan. I don't. If you know, Jimmie Vaughan is Jimmy When is guitar player he Stevie ray vaughan. Your brother and
at a band called the fabulous under birds and the first two fabulous under birds records are for my money, from my from my from where I'm sitting to the greatest sort of attacks, texas booze records that you can, that you can own just beautiful fuckin, jump, blues guitar point I mean he's just he's like he's easy, classicist of booze guitar playing and great blues muse. A lot for a lot of it from the texas guys. I guess I'm getting at is yes, I did interview Jimmy Vaughn, but that's not what this is about: Jimmy Vaughn and another cat that he plays, with billy pitman, who I also know there. opening for clapton at the forum and after I talk to Jim in here. What you'll hear. Eventually he let me play with him to the roof over a fucking honor. I let you checkout check out the first two, Sound of birds records. Are girls, go wild? What's the word just get those two I play are with those two records more than almost any other record like ebay
more than peer, green. Those first, you fabulous under birds record. So It was a real thrill and honor to hang out so they're opening for clapton at the forum, it's Jimmy Vaughn and his Gary clark and then crafted now. As you know, I I respect clapton, but I've. I've been a little bored by him at at times, But I went to see these guys and watch Jimmy alton jimmy show me some legs and he gave me some strings told me. I gotta do flat lowndes, that's where it's at. This is only important to guitar players, but, like watch clapton, and I think I figured it out, it's like he's always been pretty laid back right. Just as you got older, it isn't put any effort into it. Just worrisome stone wash genes, maybe some car no pants burke, docksiders in just a short sleeve shirt. And I don't know what I'm expecting from a seventy one year old man, but you you just
grounded and does has nothing to fucking, prove and It is sad there a did like three fuckin rockers and he sat down the acoustic and did a bunch of his hits on acoustic, and then he picked up the electric again white room and some other shit, and you know it- I'm not saying it was riveting, but it was pleasant and the one I felt was that when he did lay out a lead and he's really done his homework on the acoustic blues playing over the years when he really fucking, no that shit out. That was really some of the best, the acoustic blues, and that's probably, where he's at he's a real boost. Guy, As you know, he's not gonna be a run around like a like mick Jagger, just kind of being up or be slow hand lay back. Take it easy, not talk to the audience. Do as well, job he seems like a very grounded, sober spiritual, dude, yeah in a way, that's almost shy, but
One thing like one thing I do have to see like you know when they do hit that lead like during white room or whatever during one of the classic old ones. What do you do a key to the highway? You know it's can't we just lay out a twenty minute jam. You can't we just do that cuz when he's get on those runs, I'm like that's. Why he's fucking great those runs are outstanding. These blues runs into my gets. I've been watching his fingers on the big screen anyway. I am sorry that I dismissed Eric clapton for being he's a wizard and he he is like it's a lie, responsibility to r e r t to be a guitar hero, and to hold that mantle and eat fuckin dead and I'm sorry Eric aright
The? U s in that that I talked to you not that even met you, but there you have it okay, if it's a great job. I just wish. Maybe a twelve minute lead twelve minute, like jam, just fucking lay it out cream style right. Why not? Maybe I left you soon? Did you do that? Are you still playing now? I don't know maybe was continuing Lee Daniels was in and out here it is doing a junkie doing other interviews in no he's got his show empire and star premieres. the new season on september, twenty seventh, my birthday and I was happy to talk to him. It was kind of intense. This is me Lee Daniels, yeah, the
so yeah. He has a pretty decent production car right there right just walking in you're dealing with some. What what is it is you which show star- and it was about me yeah so hard it so are when you deal with that every day, right here, right now, but I was literally were trying to find a song about on here in one of the episodes were, as if analogy number it's sort of like about where we are right now as a country, and I wanted it to be. My interpretation of we are the world, I hit bird sitting, but I remember when we are the world with done. I have felt that even though they had all those stars little little like cutie shirt. like disneyland have solutely yeah, but it was it was. It was so trying to find him a rough fur
grittier version of that song, song not acts on iraqi, but sort of like in his operation that you know cause we're enough, but the place right now bad so I'm just trying to find a song that is that, and why did she hire a bunch of cats to cover that thing? We do The call that I was making we recording yeah. Well, that's exciting, and then you shifting gears and I'm thinking is m driving up. Ok, where am I going? When am I doing right now? I walk into year right now to this great space that yap is filled with such you've got to ground yourself, yeah and adjusting to it as it's a it's, a brit, afro pick and everything it's pretty young It says my kind of style. It really is my camera, your clutter, historical yeah. There's. That word is that what your house looks like
good. I appreciate collector yeah you're, my mother, junk Well, I mean I don't know why. I don't it's comforting to me. It's very soothing. I felt apple right. A home trying to figure out already on when it like, attack the books in when it I'm leavin. That thing might there grew up with the troll allow air. yeah there's a lot of time. The bible is like it's. You got from the bible. to whom boil with air, to which one other thyssen ties it, just a picture that somebody pay yet that that somebody put add to that. I used for my logo. What a bunch of different people now that was what that was. So what's so, you don't live here. I do I do you do I didn't meant. I'm homeless. Right now I live in the EU. Are you break my heart on the home thy? They I got home. I been that home, but I'm not I'm not that kind of homeless, but I prefer that country was actually really yegg as if you know I know it
it is useful to mean that there is a level playing field when you gave it when you got nothing, you got another whether we d on this is a different type of the homeless in that might If my home is your right and- and I shows in in atlanta and in new york and in chicago, so I go back and forth between both cities, empires cargo, no kin, yeah, shooting, and you shouldn't you should all there. So I stay at a hotel there and then I stay at a hotel in Chicago and then I am nicer tough. I like Chicago, I urge you to look at in this summer time when they automatic it came as with that body and hey. I didn't know about chicago for years, and I started playing there and working there and I was like this is a real city with it's own thing. You know it's really grounded it's good point and I mean I know it's got it's problems, but I mean it's a nice city, don't you thank you atlanta,
I don't like. I never really got a handle on atlanta, but that's not bad yeah. It's not bad. It's it's! It's actually, there's some good group. Isis is as nice as chicago yeah yeah, and now it's like a big. It's like the hub of show business. I'm told you get what you should and there you know writers, I'm not I'm not a. You know you get an in into your bubble around what it is. You really don't know about other people's sure world's yeah, but where'd you grow up philadelphia when it was tough, yes, Oh, my god, oh yeah, the move, experience rizzo air has mayor experience on yeah and it was I like philly. Now, that's beautiful right, it's really be well what you go downtown here and then you step into nor philadelphia and you step into the than to the depths of westward althea, and you see the countless role,
have homes that are abandoned, and then you see one little haunt like row. Homes, museum and, like all these abandoned homes are boarded up. Even the annual see a person living on that street here, literally one family out of a thirteen row home family is pretty intense wiser. What happened? I dunno You got now has really deep idiotic here. If they say it's not, I drove I drove my brother. Had a family lived until it be until it up the end em I drove down a stream of all these abandoned homes was his and it is the way as it does that it doesn't you don't hear it now to troy. They didn't you eddie. I am sorry, but certain parts of philadelphia. It's it's bad, it just now this dire
and the houses. It is their. What about where you grew up is still live, yeah, yeah, so funny. You know it's secure when we moved in, we were the first black family that lived on our street, the west wingfield here and there It was a bunch of white people live there. Then we sit. They sit as skirted off to the suburbs, right out and you move there and then hid behind all black anyhow it some and now because there's this college, their saint Jos, it's now it's now white again with them. Sprinkles in your african american families, so it all comes back around my weight and when you grew up there was just a working class, neighborhood, yeah and lower middle class me. I was a middle class neighborhood that became lower middle class
and what was your, what was your families? Would your men do? He was a cop really like a cop that work for rizzo programme ere. You know when you think of so my earliest memories were a group of white men crying over maya fathers body and in blue and hoary fifteen. That's what start the areas where we are memory- namibia, nine them. My earliest memory was being the maya grandfather's shoe, you did that on purpose I would imagine its internal remember. I just remember being in my grandfather, shoot, that's a very tough coincidence except a united. I can just had but you're here your father was killed in duty, a duty gun down it was. Was he lived the way he died here, which is,
violent death, a violent man, how many siblings you got for ya It was his violent family, not all the time or just a lot of stuff going on explosive. I'm sorry! You went through that that I thought it was normal yeah so hard to process as you process it I mean, do you have you worked through it? I'm working through it yeah yeah. I worked with. Do my work, yeah yeah and then I learned that that wasn't enough. So now you know, I know your therapy and yeah. He d worked you in your work at work or were you avoiding it through your work, do you know what I mean like. I know you work people, artists, new, create stuff that resonates with them and move them through stuff, but a lot of times you seem like a very busy guy, so I imagine Sometimes you have just working. Gets you
way from your whatever emotions that you are that's a very powerful statement at having to accurate is very accurate because you don't and then you come back and will you still got the same problems, but I do I do everything that I do comes from a place of experience, europe, rand, and so it is. It is really therapeutic on an I come back to steal what you just said. We are who you are, and so a dumb fifty cents and so I'm you know for the first time ever I've been in therapy and it seems to be working. You are good, I feel good man. I feel good, I'm glad it's working because you, like you, know, I'm not drinking, and I'm going through this sober thing. Oh yeah and I've I've been sober a long time me too, I'm in a yeah me too. I dunno whether I should you're not supposed to That's what I say I talk about all that supposed to know you can you I? According to the programme
You all know a regionally. Why did you want? Peace well, who were famous people talking about it because they didn't want those people to rep. They don't want to have public representatives of the program, because say that, like somebody get sober because you, you said a a right and then also maybe you you don't stay sober, then whoever says then they're like well, that's the reason. I got sober right. You know what I'm saying. So It certainly will delete this part. No, no! No! I talk about it all the time, I'm just telling you what the traditional means. How long you been over six months, Oh so you're you're in it so you're doing I mean though yeah I got sober and then I got or I may I I was like I was- I was on drugs yeah. You know some fifteen years ago right and then I got. inside and I drank media and then I recently just said right. I need it
As I didn't know, everything hm well good, so this is an exciting time. You're going to find out a lot about yourself, knowing that I am having difficulty now having sober sex yeah, that's something! That's that's not as loose as you use now, maybe maybe there's something to do with being fifty seven, two sure not really like it. So they will. It's a little more. You know you can't hide from yourself as much yeah yeah it's hard when its setting Now. I've been really honest with who I am and what I, what I've been through and a lot of people are receptive and a lot of people are not and then never cared really nice long as I'm staying and living. In my truth, even when I was high yeah saying I'm high
truly high well. This is interesting. My guy where's where's, this interview go. How far along are you in the richard pryor movie? I'm not I'm blessed. I know I was, and I related to it so much because I was I was you know I was I did what he did. I knew I was going cocaine via am, and we were gonna do it yeah, and then I decided just I dunno. I just I got caught up in tv land and it really it sucks you in it dry, you're, very demanding yeah it can't it's not like I'm going away for six months to make a move. I didn't know that, though, and I signed up for it- We know that the show was going to be. I didn't even have the shirt was going to get picked up. I literally am gyre yeah yeah, that's the first.
I didn't know that we were going to get picked up so will we did? I did it as a you know, whitney cummings came, and you know she is sure she came over and said. Why are you poor because you get these oscars for, but you're like why. She said this to you when you said she just came over around vc was because she's friends, you know him over and she was in your house, and she says leanne get a lot of money and a lot of money. If you do, a tv show me a whole lot of money at oh, really anna money and then she told me what kind of money that's it or he and she said yeah and that's just like a as okay, and so when my partner, who wrote the butler, came to me and said: okay, let's just do another movie about and we had in common and we loved king lear.
And we wanted to do a family about a black through the hip black people wearing it yeah. We were going to do it as a film yeah, and I said no, let's do it as a tv show right, because I I think I'm told by my We need that we can make money so television, and so we didn't think that the pilot was gonna get picked up. Does no one was buying african american anything though I was really little literally went off to do, we were going to do as going to richard pryor afterwards and and and then it got picked up, which meant? Oh, my god, okay, that's great more! You gotta, you gotta do thirteen more and if so, what? What does that means? And then we had to sit and think about what that meant as a season and that's time consuming elio. Then you, you got writing room together. It was. It was like what it was. Deep and then I make him what I am making money there and then they then I say: hey Lee, you want a deal here.
yeah. We like you over here, you're making money. We had no idea, I said so as a work kind of money cause. I really have never been would it be right that you know the minute and maybe I have been motivated by money, but I'd be a little bit. I always wanted to do it for for like to leave to make sure it's important or that that can be made. My kids proud right at the end of it. That's that's the what's important right for me, yeah and but the kids were going to college, and so I said I ain't, got them tat, is the most phallic. This is crazy this when I love this rule which room bargain really academy out in his hand. What is it exactly? It's him somebody I mean it could be a coward. Forefinger said a mosaic Minas head susan, the kids are in college. You know, as I said, I had to fort dad. You know I did put the kids through college, so I
so. What brings you here? You got two twins mere and twenty one. Now and- and you don't want to go to expensive school. So I I really I was sort of forced into the tb world, but then then it became a job. What the heck is like it now, there's no end will know. Oh yes, there is he after eleven not future really right. They keep what do you mean forcing myself so but going back to prior of it all. I'm no longer at this point going to direct it, I'm going to produce it. Oh okay! Okay! So is still moving forward for sure and and there is a script being written, the script has been written by you know bull and I did a pass on the script below london.
he's incredible is very bob. Fosse is very good. All that jazz, except he's directed but no bills, not he was going to directly added. He he's not so we're looking for directorate right now. so would they based what book they based on our word and embrace of anything it is basically together put it together. We know from his life is in the dock and a couple of documentaries and he gets excited some of the kids, the wife, oh yeah, the wife, some of the not all the kids, wake up I mean, like I'm, sort of fascinated with geico the sort of nuts and bolts of how you got to where you are from from, like it was show business. The thing in the beginning, when you were a kid, was that what you saw yourself doing you're, you like a mogul. You, like
I got a lot of different elements of showbiz. If you've been a manager or producer a writer, an actor a bit, a director really an actor. I only acted as a fourth and there's nobody else to stand and say the lines that was good. So I Is it you don't owe me right rather than I mean we all damages stuff, you know you came out an actor. Ok, I try to meet. I too am. I am in the first episode of my new season, because again you know, if you say one word, that's nice to have it's like signing a thing. You know what I mean: there's a guy like hitchcock and his movie a little bit so, but well, how do you get from? We too here I mean It's a long story. My vote. The first book I read was literally
to the latter. This is it. This is exactly out at me. I went to the public library, I went into the theatre section. I saw book that was titled whose afraid of a genuine wolf by edward I'll, be I read the book in the library I got a library card. I came home. I had all my friends on the stoop and my sisters and my brother act out all the parts martyr and george we are very yup and and and it sort of just took over from that you a stew production of stupid idea of who's, afraid of Virginia woolf, and then I went to Would he be many years later? Ask if I could do a black and he said no. Did you really that must have hurt a little. did he give you any reason, or that was a bastard. I don't. I guess he's at it a certain way and I understand you're, but it's a play
You release it out into the world. I can argue with you or edward be, but I'd love to do it as a play at love it. I think it's a great play You could probably do all you wanted to do a movie yeah, oh, you could probably do a play. I don't think he allowed it and that's that's. Dishes by gabby crazy. I believe I don't like this can be done by people. I believe so. I don't call me now so so go from there to your night want to be in show business from added. Another will show business. I did really like it. I didn't know Why are young? Because wasn't any really there weren't, you know my grand father one day and then one he was the manager of a theater. So I saw a lot of black exploitation films as a kid ah shaft and superfly and claudine, and the lady sings the blues and a halt. There was a period of wonderful cinema there where people, and then there was the
and some great tv we are at the time norman lear tv was inspirational, but I didn't really know that that was what I didn't know that that was called a director or a writer or a creator. I just knew that I wanted to be a part of something that I didn't know what it was so I went to school or when I went to play lindenwood colleges in ST louis and ST charles Missouri haha. I dunno why you don't know, and that was the only place. I probably would accept me if you graduated high school in the end up in Missouri, went to the all white high school, all white high school, which is really interesting back in the in in the seven. How is that for a fantastic but my neighbor? the butler I ended up doing a movie because of him for the butler
and he my mom. My mom knew that early on that I would get in trouble. They, the principle of our device principle of my junior high school, said that I would amount to nothing that I was going to end up dead in my mother said: no, we won't and m mr Brodsky sidney yeah, and so so my neighbour work workforce, chauffeur that had the only and thought the eagles and in he lived in, though an over here end and head, and so he said well, why don't we use? address at snyder was his name and we use is addressed and he was kind enough to. Let me- and I went to an all- have literally was transported from an all african american world too, completely aware, I was the only spot in that spot. Okay, so it was just me and maybe a couple of in and it was, eight so that you had an experience racism at all, which is I dont, know how that is, but I Didn'T- or I was too naive to see it here
high school. You wouldn't known yet would have no choice. I would have I didn't each audition for a play called them the sound of music, and I couldn't understand. Why was it act? They wouldn't give me the role of some von trop, and I was like. Why did a better edition in this, not least in the they gave me max? Instead, I plead the nazi. I think nazi sympathy that's alright, that's pretty good job. and am the bug. Was there again, I didn't know what it was and so went to college. To study political science cuz? I wanted to make my dead father happy because he wanted me to be a lawyer, a hand where are you still on earth if you know your feelings are mixed about them that you still honor them. Even you may not want to dvd
I feel that during that I you know like. Why am my my doing that? Yes, do you? why do like you know what I find is that yeah, my father still alive, and you know he is sort of receded a bit in my psyche and in my heart. But but you know I do do things like him and I you know, when I talked to him, I have to make were that I have some very serious boundaries around who I am and who he is, and sometimes it's emotional. But I try not to show that cuz. I can't afford it and I'm fifty three. You know, and I'm going to be stealing what you just did what you just shared with me at I'm stealing that for a scene or two okay, the answer is because it was so visceral, ok you can sometimes get bad ideas. He s estate,
with you here, and I still that moment that would you to set good and you go wait a minute. That's her eyes, but if you look in maybe episode twelve been of empire or to start with, we mean it is a very real good. So, it's so you don't do the law thing. I don't do the law thing I go to and yeah I don't do the wrong thing in the political science thing and second year into school yeah, I just decided that was. It was a wrap. I was going with this girl from hawaii, yeah and and decided. I was act was finding out what was sexually yeah, you know and and then an arrival in error yeah
If the girl I dated said you know, you're gay, don't you and I don't know why. As I say, I said no, so I said, and I said I want to go to hollywood and she said okay, he was seventy bucks, so I think is either She gave me. Seventy bucks took a bus in ny, landed in hollywood and that there is no point. No I'm here, I swear movie gay yeah crazy that's crazy. I was homeless for a who are little more than an earthquake agency I went to. I went to work at an early age z at those times unaware they still have em at but classified ads. And now here I am, I went and I saw a reception is, and I became a reception, is at an early age, can see, and it was just because it was a job here knows a job. They know that I know I knew at a good voice at nootka at you know here
an m sales job, and so I was selling nurses and nothing of nursing and good em. If your mom got sick or if you do your dad got sick and they it in home care. Know of your wife. having a baby and they need a nanny or whatever of that kind of stuff is literally like a booking agency for nurses. For nurses and so and then erin. They made me the manager, because I was a good sales rep and then, after that I was like I'm like. Why am I doing this when I was living out of a church, I was four after I was homeless and then I moved into a church and then I was directing theatre. That's how it started. I directed the theater in the church because they they had a theater in the back of the church, as I was directing in baldwin hills. So I was directing theater in the back of the church and they just let you live there will you found he had found out elaborate. Then I moved I long was like like three weeks or two hours or,
I wasn't there was a short lived. I mean when you on this. You go from placed place. You know what I mean, so that was a place, but I remained at that church and and and they had a theater and I was one x, still unaware what it was that I wanted to do right? You know from acting to directing it really in and then I am and I got a job. I had my first apartment in hollywood in there. or the job you in this delicate area, nursing area and then a year in nursing agency after agency me manager, I manager as wait a minute hold on right wrong with this picture. I can do this myself, and so I ended up to five of their nurses and I become friends with all of the how you get their work there. As you become intimate friends with discharge plan, at different hospitals and or social workers, a different hospital yeah that call in for help right, end m? Most of them were african american women, and so
they would give me we're before I knew am owners and nursing agency and I had like several hundred nurses that were working for me. I worked out of my apartment and end up moving on whilst the braer my office. I feel your nurse agent still directing theater and one action baldwin hill at the church. No, I at that point on Melrose. Sometimes we were at the zephyr, oh yeah, sure, yeah and and as they grow a little bit yeah you were casting and you were direct and no, I wasn't casting yet. I was just it's one theater and then I was at. I saw the nursing agents. I mean, how are you putting the place on you you're directing it so you he asked it right, you are putting the whole show together. Yeah see that's how you were and show visas in your book and nurses. Yes, goddess- and then the producer of purple rain came in and asked me if I wanted to like. He was a client in this way
we do of ETA nurse at your nursing office unhappy? I can make you pay the nervously. I think I made a lot of money by the way and was a lot of money to be made and by the way we were the first nurse. Agency to be under contract with aids project LA what is crazy, cuz, no one wanted to touch people with aids, throw at cano's days and right. Handers is didn't so we had a lot of money and- and and then you know I was there when the drug use began. A lot because I didn't really you know we had money lot m run running a lot of nurses. running a lot of taxes Party began yes and euro for the guy from per boring, came in them and end up doing casting well and then it, though
I was casting. I will you know what he meant. He said he was: what do you want to do and he said I want to do enter him in the entertainment business. He said, how can you be in the entertainment business and you taking care of my father as it and why in a team effort- he says he's immediately, is about this, which do you become a ps appear? Okay, so then, with a successful business you run in your own. Business in the guy oversee says, appear job yeah. I saw the nursing agency to become, I saw the nursing agency for a lot of money and I drove on to the set of warner brothers with a armani suit a and a newport cigarette in that year and ready for my page yeah and it s very long. I went into casting and then became friendly with prince, and you know why? I'm sorry, upa on purple rain and casting sort of care. Staying said about? Have I heard, and I mean if you I am Db- mia click, I'm not I'm not even listed as credit. The minnesota
literally me goes to PA and they use you forecasting the cashier, because he was key canal. You know it was all about. It was all about our connection, and the suits against you know right the black and like I we knew I had an eye for talent then- and I didn't know that that was my god gift. Then your connection with prince you meet me after you met print, yes run. okay, so we yeah we're irony- is that clarence Williams. The third was in that film and I cast him in that. years later, I get a direct him in the butler, that's crazy crazy. It was like crazy, crazy, crazy. Yeah. I know so good usc american gangster genius it getting your movie yeah he's great, but so so that starts you you and he I was prince and friends were prints. Did you gay friendly? She awkward? You know what I mean sure in the beginning. You know yeah,
and then we did under the cherry moon and then music videos a bunch of music videos with prince alone, What is it was really happy with me and I started working over at warner brothers and looks was like head of minority talent. We called it that I don't know what the hell. It was something like that and it s a guy, I know is that you know Manaos casting and it was like before it was pre spike lee imposed the black exploitation era, so I was sitting there would a pencil and a suit Important like I was a businessman. You know on the warner lot. Minardi down. I guess I'm like that. your ear, you were the you're a casting agent at the studio, basically sort of yeah.
This kind of development to like where you not know how belgian and then I discuss it, wait a minute hold on this is a guy. I didn't dumb. I wasn't getting filled with part of the job was watching going to theater ryan watching um had given up the desire or didn't even know, looked at the longer done. Direct ia theatre. and so I was going to see plays in part of it was seeing all these black plays in new york and lady gaga. And what is in this item on the agenda what's going on over the big players- gossip illness or howard freeman, oh yeah, and I guess it was just post dream: girls post, dream girl. I was a kid when jean grills is outside I don't remember the year, but when you're scouting now it yet before what I don't know exactly minority? So I decide adoption dossier of minority town so we're dead.
Oh and I met this wonderful woman who changed my life, who her name was Paula Kelly and I had seen her in sweet charity on in in the in the in the film yeah sweet charity with shirley, maclaine and chita Rivera, and I saw her and sophisticated ladies with gregory hines on broadway, and I said why aren't you working? I need to see your work as a lightbulb I'm going a manager, and so we are. I opened a management company where I was managing actors and and and and you know I come- you know- I came from a place where, as a kid you know, most of A lot of my family members, india and neighbours were drug dealers, and so you know or pimps since in us up you need a hustle. As I know you have here, and so I figured you know, I wouldn't do it with actor and soul was really whom repair this is for a while- how
start to build right cause you. I had a good reputation at a really wanna, whether as a good reputation, but you and I got- I made sure that my talent was working. The problem was that they did not have roles that I thought were suitable for the actors that I was working with and it was embarrassing telling them that they could just display a pimp or drug dealer or prostitute at the time? so on. But I love in the game year. I started representing young white kids and that's when it changed. You know rear and so on, and then they took me around the world via you know, and I represented from and then I representing european nastassja kinski, Aishwarya rai in india the bollywood princess. Would change. The game for me was when I representing a kid named wes bentley. I found him in a play and he then start an american beauty and Oh, that's! A move that the movie that might my big break, the documentary, my big break about west and the people he lived with.
oh yeah good for you good, If you hadn't see, I haven't seen it though, but he mean know how I have. Should I see it? Well, I I I knew you were featured. Somehow how Well, I mean west is in it yeah. I have to see it. Good what's weird to watch I will now of the mayor, I, whether we were all high for sure, but there is too wide two or three then made it out that house wesson then Michael, shannon, I found him in Chicago. Was Michael shania manage him at the beginning. In the very beginning, I got him his first job economists, a card in the movie that I produce. It was the second film called the woodsman yeah. Kevin bacon, cure cetera. I produce that that my second my first movie, so I ended leaving management's because tired of telling african american actors. You can only play this as a It's something I've got real as I got a ticket. I gotta up my game. What was the name of your management agency Lee Daniels, a management company,
it did all right with it. How long were you doing that? I dunno eight years, so that's how that wow, what a that's an amazing, story really so then I said I got tired of that and I say I want to be I'm going to make my own destiny. Then I ended up producing my first film and it was you know it. I dunno how I did it, but we did it in the monster's ball That's it does it that's a real hammer of the movie and that's where to start a career I didn't know what I was doing, what I was doing, but I just was doing it doing whatever I could do. Sure that this movie, this vision was executed that come to the right. Is the aim to me because they at the time there was were many incarnations, I believe sean pen we're deniro end marlon branda were attached at one time a wrong and that's a big yeah annam edges agency. get the movie made. The writers came to me
and- and I said I'll, do it with this figure it out and west bentley was gonna star, he didn't and dumb, and so I got heath to star instead because he was a friend of wessex, ah and um, and so and that really began my career. As you know, and I learned to said well, you know puffy and I dunno what I guess. As a producer, you could say that why wouldn't you, why? Wouldn't you say that? What is it? What would you all? Because I did more than that? Just I mean very much involved with the you know, the the the acting sure you know what you wanted. You knew yet in india sites, you sort of words a secret co director. I don't know it act think that's the right word to say because, as a director now take deep offence to our case, I like more foresters genius and I think, but I knew that I knew I wanted performances and I learned from mark how to hold a camera learned, really onset, literally yeah, I
that I learned the makings of what how to direct you know in that medium haha, and also from the medium from when I was on set with other actors who I know me so I was there and then I, this is how this is, how you went to school on, set and how to direct from other directors that I respect, I put my actors rector's at I respected and now we're at dead the point where it you're going to direct a movie yet, and there was a his movie? I do. I was gins cocky anyway, I was getting cocky and I was still mean, oh sure there, in an leave the press on you. Leave after monsters, ball, yeah yeah, you believe it the and you're doing coke. as any combination and our values into whatever. I would ever have yet aigner we're done her less ally did want. I do about, couldn't take it anymore. I have the exact. experience the exact I'll. Never do it again, snorted it
can we do got? Eighty, oh, my god through me too, and am I don't need you ever How'd you even get high. I remember now I tried it one other time where I smoked it and I definitely felt the hive is still not for me. I go up. I don't like to Doubt let me too, and we will do yeah trouble if we do so. Why not? I mean like he was darling, with woodsman, you know we won. Can there's heavy man kevin playing a childminder, well yeah, but the thing was that I wanted to not. I remember after monsters, ball like okay, he's the he's new on the scene. What are they going to? And so I got offered all these black film right. Just work in everything that didn't want. My client is a manager to do right now there. I left a majority guy get from the relevant part. Seven, oh was wanted people by six here. You know what Then never even read it in air and stuff. So I wanted to do something different and I got my kids, my kids, my you know my I raised my brother's kids. I got my
will happily run is going to jail out and he called me up and he said, can you come? My wife is going to have some kids and she won't take care of 'em. Can you take care of them, as I know, No you already and yes exactly. I was in palm springs white. A white party guy had no intention of my partner at the time who was a very famous casting director in in in in in l in new york, kids, and and so on the three days after they were born. I got him. I didn't want him at first, the mother rang the doorbell on of my mother's house and left to bass nets down in a month.
philadelphia in the winter and took off before my mom opened the door you're kidding me and my mom said almost biblical. It is, it is and mamma mia it isn't loud, and we looked at like that. My mom said call me up and said: listen I've raised all of you and I raise all these other grandkids yeah, I'm not raised no more. So I'm calling social services if you don't come, get them. So I said really and my partner was like okay, that's what I wanna do, so we ended up taking them and them, and that's when I got off of drugs right cause. I was you know there. I remember them like they were two ish yeah, maybe yeah. They were in front of the tv and it was living on the upper west side and I remember stepping over them and going out to the man around the corner and realizing that I let them in
And I said: that's it and it was the end and ever, and that was the end- is tat beautiful. That was the end of the day. Yes, while they just the fact that you know you, you realize that you are putting these yeah lives in danger, and that was more. Powerful than drugs. Yeah. That's good got a good heart it. we know I thought when I got them, that I was saving them and they ended up. Saving me is that sometimes the way it works brother still in jail or is he just came out recently no kidding was great. He was face timing me with my sister car he hadn't been in jail for forever and like years here, hears music any space time remain, you could see that he was like it was like the jet, since he was trying to figure out how to hold the base. Is
It's wild yeah! Now you guys, you have you seen him in person, yet I did. I saw him last sunday and for the first time, oh my head. How has that power- I can't our. He sent me a letter towards the we separated yeah we'd, be didn't we weren't friends, yeah we were very close and then he went one direction and I went in another direction. He sent me a letter from jail yeah and he said I'm sorry for hating you all these years. Just because I guess I was gay, india and it affected me deeply yeah, yeah and and and is is the. Are you guys? Alright, I mean you know yeah. This is all right as we can do with all the years that have been separated. You know
so more to come, yeah we'll see, I think, we're okay, we're going through it in a good way. Look at, he was so happy. I gave him. I gave him a whole box of clothes. I like a whole bunch of clothes. I don't know whether this person will be sharing with everybody, but I give him a whole bunch of clothes, outgoing. He don't care either lemme give him a whole bunch of clothes in what you take for granted. What I take for granted- or I forget, yeah yeah yeah- oh, he must have been. appreciative. He is very appreciative and now came dressed up. Looking some as a damn. You looked like lead animals yeah. So how do you get like? Why imagines can be interesting with the kids? Now too huh yeah? Oh, I mean literally. This is what I'm going through right now in my life wow I gotta write and making tv and that's why I go into the world to escape
when I come back, I got to do with this mess. Why is it a mess mass but, as is messy, is have? Is messy yeah yeah, it's just a virgin makes we're trying to make light. The kids are great yeah you're going task is us that you know how he is dealing it may have what's going to have is already a, but the kids are solid. They just like the clear she's in paris spending my money in schools and film school in new york, modeling, making a lot of money he's every good. Then you get the old man's out yet and as I now I have man as a movie common while well that's interest. Let's talk about we're going run out of, I know you gotta run in about ten minutes when, let's talk about talk about how precious happened. How dared you come across that story sapphires an amazing since he just a tour de force. Unbeliever. Did you read the book? I did read it
it shouldn't, be a few think. It shook me to my core. She shook me to my core. I couldn't sleep, how did you come across the book? It was part of my sobriety good. He was. I had that in a book called ice which, by the way you should see by ratio. I had one that too that's going to be something else: I'm turning ice, iced, dude, iced, rush out and get a copy. If you can get a copy emea, it's yeah it's out of print by it's pretty good, how precious a push an iced and they sort of do and- and this other thing a paper boy that became a movie dexter yeah, and the three of those books got me sober help me with my sobriety and em. How so, by connecting you denied, or neither people experience your heart. I mean those. I dont know what it was hot of olive it, but I think that the expedient workin american experience viewed from that pursue really mia. I hear your dad is part of that, but I was going to me.
and I decided that I want to make it a movie and and when I went to everybody that you know with all the awards that I had they were like. No, so I had to go out and raise money for it and I did and we made it great. I'm really proud of in the unbelievable, unbelievable found and he did on your own, they turned you, they turned you away. Yes, and I'm used to be and turned away. The present among the very beginning, from monsters bologna deluded well who, because nobody wants you to move who was similarly interracial, you know, but I met a tremendous year in retrospect. You know like he now with empire. Isn't that a tremendous misunderstanding of of of the audience look for sure I mean you know I yeah. I think that you know they continue to underestimate
intelligence of the american public. Then I would assure that is the african american public, but the american public, of what it is. That is so it's my job and its other. It's it's filmmakers jobs. Young educate, see. Ok! This is what Gonna see right and if you're gonna say and when you do it your way, you can do that yeah right, because I just saw the headline of some article that leah because a franchises directors or interchangeable. But that's why people like you who do who have artistic freedom in licensing and want to push the the the boundaries you gotta keep making your movies? Yes, yes, and now you can which one that's the question. That's the question, but I'm excited with mine. You know empire and star. You know. I think, the dumb that I am not complaining about tb ashen complain about he because it really is. I'm enjoy
telling stories, but it's somewhat more. Immediate, isn't it than than movies in a way that in you can you can shift and move yeah, and I mean if you can like, if you can assign, if people you trust you've, got to hand over your baby to somebody and pray that the actors know who they like that they understand who, with this vision, is so you got a prey to the that through show on her nose and the actors. Remember then, salad, what have you been like you know, coming into that I mean how much cause you got some pretty powerful actors, and you know when yeah I would imagine after a season, you don't have to ride them too much. No, they get them good with I'm good, I'm good, I'm good with both shows us as a matter. I think yes, I think that there are enormous talent on the show. I've been blessed, I've been really blessed,
Well I, as I sit here and I can actually laugh yeah. I bought the homeless joke that I'm homeless here and yet I started out homeless and I preferred that homeless because that homeless, at least I knew had a dream am dreamed here. You know and I'm shifting my spirits like wherever the couches and also we open this conversation b about how horrible things are in the country and in in reaction to that. You know given that worth telling all idly stories that you tell how'd you just now, do you just do pushed or do you do? Are you making adjustments in your mind, given
we are now living in unabashedly, but I've learned that that I am allowed to curse yeah. I don't give a fuck. That's what I've learned that I will say what the fuck I want to say. I will write what the fuck I want to do, because that's exactly what they're doing right now in the white house, and I think that you, but yet I will try to do it with dignity. You know the only makes me want to it makes me know that I'm right that my spirit is right and it's clean and then it's from a pure place and though atlantic ls it before a lot I mean I want to hear it, I'm going to say it yeah, you gotta, you gotta! Do thanks for talking about beautiful women. And okay. That's it that is it, that's the show don't forget to pre order, your copy of waiting for
then enter yourself in our podcast fan. Sweepstakes go to Martin. and book tat kind of pre order and enter the sweepstakes now using the play. Guitar exam sick, but people build I can dirty guitar to go in the house and Let me get my stratocaster.
the barbara labs.
Transcript generated on 2022-08-01.