Filmmaker Lee Daniels is glad he’s around to enjoy things like the Oscar buzz he’s getting for having directed The Butler.
There were plenty of times when he felt he could not go on.
‘I had a rough childhood growing up – very rough. Oftentimes I wanted to kill myself as a kid,’ he tells The Hollywood Reporter.
‘You know, I was bullied because I was gay and then I was bullied because I was black going to an all-white school later on. Thank God I didn’t kill myself, huh? I think that the universe took care and God took care of me. I am the product of that environment.’
Daniels has in the past written about the beatings he endured from his police officer father for doing things like dressing up in his mother’s clothing.
But he survived the rough beginning and has gone on to director The Butler, Precious, The Paperboy and Shadowboxer and procuced such films as Monster’s Ball.
During his difficult childhood and youth, movies played a big role.
‘I was always in trouble,’ he says. ‘I was mischievous. And movies were always a part of my world. Wizard of Oz; Cinderella with Lesley Ann Warren; oh, man, a lot of black exploitation films that were rated-R that I shouldn’t have seen but that I snuck into the back of the theaters to see – Cleopatra Jones. [laughs] Yeah, they were very much a part of my life.’