Oprah Winfrey on Precious: Don't Expect to "Enjoy" It

Find out how the talk show titan saved a movie from going straight to DVD

By Marc Malkin Nov 02, 2009 6:27 PMTags
Oprah Winfrey, Tyler PerrySteve Granitz/Getty Images

Director Lee Daniels insists he never thought that his new movie, Precious, would have much success.

In fact, he never even thought it would be released in theaters.

"I thought it was going to go straight to DVD," Daniels told me last night at Precious' AFI Fest 2009 presented by Audi premiere in Hollywood. "I mean, who was going to want to see a movie about an obese black girl learning how to read?"

But then he got a call from Oprah Winfrey

"I was winning my second award at Sundance and the phone rang," Daniels said. "It was Oprah. I knew then I was not going to DVD."

Winfrey and Tyler Perry immediately signed on as executive producers of the film, which centers on an illiterate 16-year-old Harlem girl (played by newcomer and now awards-season favorite Gabourey Sidibe) who gives birth to two children fathered by her own father.

"I called to say, 'I have to do whatever I can to help promote this movie,'" said Winfrey, who received a standing ovation last night when Lee introduced her in the theater with, "Mama is in the house!"

"When I finished this movie, I said, 'It split me open,'" Winfrey said. "You are in for an experience...I don't know if the word is enjoy, but you will appreciate this experience."

Also at the premiere were castmembers Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd and Sidibe, along with Will Smith, Sidney Poitier, Paula Abdul, Star Jones, Mary J. Blige, Forest Whitaker, Olivia Wilde and singer Robin Thicke.

Daniels said he has another project in the works with Ms. Winfrey. "I'm writing something for her," he said, quickly adding, "But I'm not allowed to talk about it."


What else went on this weekend in celebrityville? Check out our Big Picture photo gallery to find out.