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And Lee Daniels’ Next Film Will Be…?

He’s about 1 year away from showing up on one of our Milk Carton alerts, although he’s certainly stacking up the projects; but when is Lee Daniels going to actually, finally make one of them? Precious debuted 2 years ago, at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Since its theatrical release, 9 months later, Daniels’ name has been attached to quite a few projects – Selma, Miss Saigon, Iced, Anna In The Tropics, The Butler, and more.

I understand taking one’s time to get things right, and, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m definitely curious to see what he does next, whatever that will be, now that all that Precious shine has worn off. I know he’s had some funding problems with Selma, which was what we all thought he was going to do next, after almost its entire cast was announced last year; but a part me of wonders if maybe there’s a part of him that’s a little hesitant to make his next film because there is pressure from folks like me, who are curious to see what he does next.

Or it all could be much ado about nothing, and I’m just stressing for nothing, and he’ll have a film out by the end of this year :)

Anyway… New York Mag’s Vulture section just reported that Daniels just may have found what will indeed be his first post-Precious project – an adaptation of an award-winning novel titled, The Paperboy, written by Pete Dexter.

I’ve never read it. Have any of you? I’m always interested in a good thriller, so I might check it out.

Apparently, Relativity Media, who’ve been really active on the financing/production front lately, have been packaging the project, and Daniels may be their man behind the camera.

Pete Dexter is certainly no stranger to Hollywood, as some of his other novels have been adapted, like HBO’s Deadwood, and he also wrote the screenplays for films like Mullholland Falls and Michael.

Described as a thriller, the synopsis for The Paperboy, courtesy of, reads: “W.W. (“World War”) James is editor of the Moat County (Florida) Tribune and the father of two boys. Ward, the elder, is a reporter for the Miami Times. Jack is a college dropout who delivers papers for his father. With his reporting partner Yardley Acheman, Ward returns to Moat County to investigate the murder of the sheriff and the subsequent trial of Hillary Van Wetter, who was imprisoned for the murder. The investigation calls Van Wetter’s guilt into question, and he is freed from death row. But at what price?

Vulture also states that Lee Daniels has made offers to Bradley Cooper (as the older brother Ward), Sofia Vergara (as the wife of a death-row inmate) and Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number Four – as the younger brother Jack) to star in the film.

Cooper would play Pettyfer’s older brother, Ward, while Vergara would play the wife of a death-row inmate.

With busy hands of Relativity Media involved, and if Vulture’s report is valid, this very well could be Daniels’ next project.

So much for The Butler with Denzel Washington.

12 comments to And Lee Daniels’ Next Film Will Be…?

  • Lee Daniels is what Tyler Perry can only claim to be: a bona fide filmmaker. He creates genuine pathos — the kind that requires subtext — rather than the cheap, topical catharsis which black audiences have become accustomed to (I blame the chit’lin circuit, for Perry and a great many other things).

    • Kris B

      Have you seen Lee very first film. It was god awful. Why do you think he ran to Tyler Perry to help produce His last film. Everything knows that Perry is on top right and has been. he’ll FCG sold more DVD in it’s first week than Oscar winning Precious. You may not like Perry but there is a reason why he is the number 1 black filmmaker in Hollywood right now and why Spike Lee and Lee D can not even get a movie Greenlit.

    • Adam, believe me, I’m trying to work with you, because I too love Daniels work, but you have to explain “the chit’lin circuit”. I mean, I know the rewards and respect we owe the chit’lin circuit, but you seem to be implying something different.

      The chit’lin circuit was merely a route and/or type of establishments that allowed black entertainers the oppurtunity to work their craft. It – the chi’lin circuit – in no way speaks to a lower level of experience and expertise of those that traveled it’s path. The most prominant black entertainers of that era played the chit’lin circuit.

      Put it like this: What was the Negro Baseball League? Should we “BLAME” them for all that’s bad, or good, in the present players of today?

      Come on now, spread your wings and tell us how y’all do it in Dallas.

  • Jug

    I think the jury’s still out on Daniels. SHADOWBOXER was a mess & PRECIOUS as a film wasnt mind-blowing. His leads in both films carried the weight (no oun intended). It’s one of the reasons his funding hasn’t been gangbusters.

    Now that Relativity is producing this film, it’ll probably get made-their connection to hedge fund flow is more than stable. Thing is, when they bankroll AND are the physical prod company, the films’ qualities are suspect at best. The movies they just give cash to are normally good because another company has chosen it. Taste and a creative eye are a real issue for them. THE FIGHTER is a real first for Relativity, being a good film they built ground up.

    Time will tell about PAPERBOY

  • Bamboozled

    Shadowboxer was a godawful mess. As for the person who said tyler perry wants to be like Lee Daniels. it is the other way around. Tyler Perry films makes money. Tyler Perry dont half to go to the white man to get his films to the big screen unlike Daniels and Spike lee. Tyler Perry films are not great but he does have what alot of black directors wish they had. An Fanbase that gives them hit boxoffice films. That the truth.

    • Dat the truth? Listen, Spike Lee’s name should not even be in this mix. Everybody owes Spike Lee. He kicked the door down and everybody knows that.

      • Jug

        Carey, while it’s true that Spike set the modern standard for modern black cinema, at least in the Hollywood studio world. But come on, that doesn’t absolve him from making crappy movies, which INSIDE MAN aside, Spike hasn’t made a good movie this century (MIRACLE AT ST ANNA was god effin’ awful!)

        And please people, can we have an adult specific conversation/debate about film? If everytime someone wants to debate the merits of a film or a filmmaker’s work & somebody brought up “well at least he makes money” we may as well stop now! Newsflash: McDonald’s burgers are good for you because “over 99 Billion Sold!” And in film, as in fast food, rarely does one have anything to do with the other (the entire SAW franchise, TRANSFORMERS, CLASH OF THE TITANS, FAST & FURIOUS franchise, TWILIGHT-I could go on! LOL)

        But this ain’t about Spike, and it really isn’t about Tyler either. It’s about Daniels, and the fact that for such a highly touted Oscar film and a no-joke grassroots pimp me, myself & my film award tour by Daniels, his next film choice has been a game of darts. Juxtapose that against Spike after DO THE RIGHT THING, Singleton after BOYZ ‘N DA HOOD, and Malcolm Lee after THE BEST MAN, it lends credence to Hollywood hip to Daniels hustle. SELMA HAD funding and they pulled out, Why?! Even after they had a whole cast lined up that included Robert DeNiro, Hugh Jackman (who gained weight for the role btw), Liam Neeson, David Oyelowo as King(whose star is rising in Hollywood), what happened? Hard for me to believe that he just got “picky”. And that to the fact that while people may have enjoyed PRECIOUS, very little of it appeared to be any of Daniels’ doing. When you watch Spike, or Scorcese, Spielberg, there is a mastery of putting a film together that you expect, which is as entertaining as the story & performances themselves. Having seen SHADOWBOXER & PRECIOUS, you don’t see that & Daniels hasn’t really shown that he’s more than a man who says action & cut. If we’re gonna use that as the benchmark, then Ice Cube is a damn good director too, because I enjoyed FRIDAY & PLAYER’S CLUB, but come on, good directing?!?

        • “And that to the fact that while people may have enjoyed PRECIOUS, very little of it appeared to be any of Daniels’ doing. When you watch Spike, or Scorcese, Spielberg, there is a mastery of putting a film together that you expect, which is as entertaining as the story & performances themselves”

          Of course I have to agree. But therein lies my remarks about Spike lee (the good part). I also agree with your remarks about MIRACLE AT ST ANNA…. god effin’ awful! Spike tore my heart with that one.

          So, since you’ve already covered it, I don’t have to list my reasons for proping Spike above the rest of the black gentlemen/directors in this discussion.

          I also agree (understand) your assessment of Lee Daniels. I loved Precious, but I am left to wondeer how much of the input can be related to Danials directing skills. Don’t get me wrong, it was not an Oscar worthy film and I did have several problems with it. But I enjoyed it for serveral reasons.

          I doubt few can deny or argue against the acting. The acting was great – across the board. And I’ve always been of the opinion that directors play a huge role in that process. I believe – in the final product – there’s a direct connect to the director’s vision and direction. So it would be unjust if I didn’t clap my hands for Daniels in that regard. On the other hand, one of my displeasures with Precious was the flashbacks and timing. The flashbacks were corny and some scenes were too long and unnecessary (imo). I know their purpose, but something wasn’t right.

          Lastly, we can argue all day about “good”. That debate is a neverendingstory. Like you, that debate frustrates the hell out of me. My basic problem is those that do not take the time to qualify their “good”. I mean, I can argue both sides of the debate. Yes, it was good if you like hordes of violence. Yes, it was good if you like fart jokes. Yes, it was fantastic if you like viewing round pounds of naked ass.

          So, I will not bemoan someone for saying a movie is good, until we start talking about specifics. And then, as you pointed out, a “good” movie does not “always” speak to “good” directing. Personally, I think the buck starts with the writing. And that’s another huge discussion. How does one learn to write human emotions? Let me check that. If a person does not own something, they can’t give it away. That belief takes many writers off the table. They may know how to “write” but can they write dialog/conversation/action that’s not part of their experience? Yet, even if they can write from “their” experience, how exciting and interesting will it be? Yep, writing for the masses is a mean game and a huge discussion.

          For instance – I know I won’t get a kiss in the morning – but there’s something about “Black Swan Theory” that didn’t set well with me. Now, ask me no questions and I won’t tell any lies.

  • writer

    Kris B. Tyler did not produce Lee’s film. Tyler and Oprah were brought on as Executive Producers after Lionsgate bought the award winning film at SUNDANCE.

    Tyler and Oprah helped with marketing. They had nothing to do with the financing, casting, direction, script etc.

    Tyler is an entertainer. He does his thing. I don’t know why we keep comparing him to Spike. He’s not filmmaker. It’s like compared Ke$ha to Barbra Streisand.

  • Ouch! Put Kris B on blast. But Write, no you didn’t say Tyler [is]not [a]filmmaker?

    And what, films are not entertainment? You’ll have to come back and express yourself – a little bit better – one mo again. If not, you have to at least tell me how to stop SMH.

    • Jug

      Carey you sure we ain’t separated at birth? LMBAO I am and always will be disciple of the writer. Everything starts with the writer. If the writing is weak, the movie has to work that much harder just to be average. Kinda like getting the “Seafood Special” on Monday, knowing that the seafood has been sittin’ around all weekend, then they gotta throw all kinds of mess on it to cover up the poor taste, but Hey, It’s Edible! :-D

      But yeah, too many black folks discuss Tyler Perry and equate his quality as a filmmaker with the revenue he generates. I get that people like his movies and the make mad money, but Adam Sandler is a titan sitting on a hill of garbage films. It really is okay to put things in perspective. The marketplace is what it is & there is room for just about every taste, even those for a 6’5″ dude in drag.

      PRECIOUS was actually produced by Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, the same couple who gave him money for TENNESSEE. Tyler came on board the same way he snagged FOR COLORED GIRLS, once Lionsgate got involved, they (Lionsgate) went to Tyler & said “make this your own”. I’m surprised Tyler didn’t say he made the damn movie LOL But jokes aside, he did what he said he would do in that respect, which was to produce film from other black filmmakers, and I truly applaud that. And of course Oprah got on board because it was “so uplifting” :-P And in all honesty, without those two, PRECIOUS would never have been the phenomenon it was. Good shit indeed.

      It does say a lot about the niche film world that Tyler has conquered, that he’s at the Tarantino & Eli Roth level of “So & So Presents…” meaning you know exactly what you are going to get because that’s what you’re looking for. Nothing more, nothing less. Dude is an industry force, monetarily speaking.

  • Jug

    On a SUPER-RELATED note, this is something that Shadow & Act should be writing about & publicizing. Something like this is the sort of “in crowd” event that we need to get on & know about. Yes, film festivals are great & we have ample stables of black writers/actors/directors, but getting money is RULE #1 of the film business. Producing, that’s where minorities are glaringly absent: