Oprah Winfrey on 'The Butler': People need to see this
August 1st, 2013
04:30 PM ET

Oprah Winfrey on 'The Butler': People need to see this

If you want to be a friend of Oprah Winfrey's, there's one word that better not be in your vocabulary - even if you happen to be the director of her latest movie.

That particular word starts with an "N."

Lee Daniels, who helmed "Precious" and now has directed Winfrey in the upcoming drama "The Butler," admits in Parade magazine that "It’s a word I used quite a bit, until Oprah sat me down and talked to me about its power."

"You cannot be my friend and use that word around me," the 59-year-old media titan says in the new issue of Parade. "It shows my age, but I feel strongly about it. … I always think of the millions of people who heard that as their last word as they were hanging from a tree."

It's a relevant discussion, not only because of recent events - the controversy surrounding Paula Deen's use of the word comes to mind - but also because "The Butler" illustrates an era that was blighted with the kind of brutality Winfrey recalls.

Daniels' film is based on the story of Eugene Allen, an African-American who worked as the head butler in the White House from 1952 to 1986. Forest Whitaker plays the film version of Allen in the character Cecil Gaines, and Winfrey plays his wife, Gloria, who's battling a drinking problem.

The part is Winfrey's first dramatic role since she starred in 1998's "Beloved," and she says it took some convincing on Daniels' part before she signed on.

"Lee was relentless. I remember being on my mountain in Maui, where I go to try to restore myself. And he called saying, 'You need to get ready, because you are Gloria,'" Winfrey remembers.

"So I did it to have the opportunity to work with Lee. I also did it because Gloria represented to me every woman of that era who sacrificed herself … never bringing her own dreams to fruition because family took precedence over everything," she continued. "It’s a story many have not seen with black people in these roles, because usually we’re one extreme or another. But to see that we are people who love our children, who have the same aspirations as everybody else—I just love that."

It's for that reason that Winfrey had a simple response when asked who most needs to see "The Butler."

"Here's your answer," she said. "People need to see this movie."

"Lee Daniels' The Butler," which also stars Liev Schreiber, James Marsden, Minka Kelly and John Cusack, will open August 16.

Filed under: Celebrities • movies • Oprah Winfrey

soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. richmax

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    November 27, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Oprah says...

    pick up da shirt or no toucha da u know whatta

    August 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dfgdfgdgfgfg

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    August 5, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Flagged.

    No bonus-IGNORE HER.

    August 5, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. namkoS

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    August 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dallasss

    Hi Hot woman… My friend allen has just married to a handsome wealthy man
    They met through ~~RίchĤookµp.Ćoм~~ a good place to talk with successful wealthy guys and beautiful classy women (athletes,doctors,CEOs,models,lawyers,celebrities,etc….)perhaps you can have a try..good luck to you

    August 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |

    Sokdikman wishes he was black

    August 2, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. You be quiet

    So it's wrong to want recognition for your work (as in an Oscar)?

    August 2, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. be quiet

    Oprah just wants an Oscar. That's all.

    August 2, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. pitt04

    What an awesome woman. Their will be no one like her again. Why can't America just enjoy these phemonenal people that have passed through; instead of reading about them in history books, when they are long gone? LIVE IN THE MOMENT PEOPLE!

    August 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |

    The report abuse button is getting a workout today on these hacker-troll comments. You trolls better print off all your comments now before they disappear for good!

    August 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Poopstain Pantyhose

    The hacker trolls are prowling about today. Doc this, b!tches!

    August 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. No Nooks Nellie...

    she da controller

    August 2, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Personal Responsibility would be nice

    Oprah is a Chicago rashist cut from the same cloth as Farrakan, reverand Wright, Jesse Jackson Jr, and 0bama. Why must these people continue to blame caucasions for their own failings, inadequacies, and misery. Take responsibility for the mess you have created, people! Quit making movies about the fifties!

    August 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • cup of C

      agreed...that is why we have back up on No Nooks

      August 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rain

      Yes–because we all know about Oprah and Obama's misery and failings (I can't imagine how miserable Oprah feels in her Maui home). Blame Caucasians for her pain!!

      August 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Another 1 from Rain....

      Let it rip!

      August 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rain

      Just trying to make sense of people's rants by asking pointed questions–very challenging when dealing with a pool of angry commentators, down and out on their luck and taking it out on everyone and anyone. It's fascinating to see how a sizeable (luckily not the majority) portion of the country thinks via comment boards.

      Ultimately, leaving anonymous Stormfront-type comments on message boards is an exercise in futility (like it or not, the U.S. is heading in a predetermined direction–deal with it willfully, complain and deal with it by force or buy a tiny island in the Caribbean to live out the rest of your days alone...the choice is yours).

      Educating the willfully uneducated/non-critical thinkers is a waste of effort as well. This is coming from a college-educated moderate (non-liberal/non-conservative) that is sick of seeing far-left and far-right people speaking in general lol.

      August 6, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cheryl

    Oprah and Forest rolling around fornicating looks like two walrus on the national ge0graphic episode breeding. They huff and grunt, and the fat jiggles ... ewww. Boycott this obscenity.

    August 2, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Riots are over dear...

    never again....love and peace man

    August 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Måd

    Remember when Oprah had her last show and the Marquee was an insane riot? Good times, good times.

    August 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  18. JO

    Good grief Oprah "...millions of people who heard that as their last word as they were hanging from a tree." Millions? How many black people do you think died hanging from a tree? I am not trying to minimize anyone's suffering but when you say something people believe, thus adding fuel to an already smoldering fire. Maybe go back to your "mountain" and do some research. Who other than a pretentious, self-important person says "I remember being on my mountain in Maui" Oprah – a woman of the people. Yeah right.

    August 2, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • C Palmer

      Well said.

      August 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rain

      Maybe not millions, but lynching occurred enough to be remembered. Would you be so flippant with Holocaust victims? Just like the Holocaust is part of Jewish history, slavery and Jim Crow IS a part of America's enduring ugly history. You may not care, but don't tell others not to care.

      Also, are you somehow insinuating that Oprah doesn't "deserve" her home in Maui? Why not? Maybe because you see her as not being an "equal", so she doesn't deserve nice things after her years of hard work and business savvy? Would you be as critical of Donald Trump or Warren Buffet's fortune as you are of hers? Probably not.

      August 6, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • wow...

      gotta admit rain...good one....get the popcorn

      August 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rain

      I don't understand people that think that a certain billionaire should live like a pauper, while the other ones are showcasing their (seriously) gold-plated toilet seat (ahem, Mr. trump) on television without protest.

      August 6, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  19. D Cup For Sure

    Oprah has large breasties.

    August 2, 2013 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  20. Waiting for Sokman...

    to show up with one of his usual KKK caliber comments. The man is a proud, self-avowed racist and white supremacist.

    August 1, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • namkoS

      Good morning. Anxiously awaiting the definitive opine of wisdom? I shall not disappoint: I pronounce this film to be another trite installment in the h0llyw00d whyte-guilt industry, akin to The Help, Red Tails, and Lincoln. Amazing, the sheeple flock to these venues where they may be indoctrinated how to think correctly. The evil left agenda marches on, and I'm here to confront it!

      August 2, 2013 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • namkoS spelled backwards is...

      Heeee's baaaack! And on one of his typical racial tirades. It's sooo tough being a white man today, isn't it Sokman? You're sooo downtrodden and disadvantaged. How to you manage? Oh yeah, you join a hate group...you go on comment forums and spew hate speach and ideas...you vote Republican...you watch FoxNews...

      August 2, 2013 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Some people just can't handle the truth

      Sokman comes to mind, and all the other haters just like him.

      August 2, 2013 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • M.A.P.

      Racial equality is evil now Sokman? IT is scary to imagine what it's like inside your head, so much fear and confusion!

      August 2, 2013 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Racists hate freedom

      just like the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Some of the worst acts of domestic terrorism in our country's history were committed by racists. Racists are anti-American.

      Why do you hate America so much, Sokman?

      August 2, 2013 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • namkoS

      "Baaaaahhh" go the sheeple as Oprah herds the mindless flock in the direction she wishes. How ironic that the world's richest woman who made her fortune off the viewership of whyte stay-at-home moms now seeks to cash in on the race grievance industry. Don't tell me, let me guess: White antagonist, black victim, white savior that befriends them. Yawn. Alas, out come the wallets of the sheeple, as Oprah herds them...

      August 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Janine

      Oprah does have big breasts.

      August 2, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Peace ☮

    She has a mountain in Maui & she goes there to restore herself? @Snorlax, I bet she has someone there to make that cheeseburger for her, too.

    August 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rain

      Meanwhile Snorlax is making his own sandwich in his dumpy apartment. Underachievers always hate successful people.

      August 6, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Snorlax

    "Here's your answer," she said. "People need to see this movie."

    Uhm, no, they do not. You are have long since lost your relevance. Now go eat another cheeseburger.

    August 1, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • MariCruz

      I love the movies

      August 1, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stan Yer Ground

      I agree. Okra Winfrey is just trying to keep herself in the public eye, just like cnn keeps race bating and stirring up sh!t, so they can report on the riots. Tr@yvon had it coming. Wanna-be gangsta jumped on George and beat his head on the sidewalk. TM got what every thug/punk/rapper deserves.

      August 2, 2013 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Tervus

      And one day, hopefully soon, you'll get what you deserve, Stan.

      August 2, 2013 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Just sayin

      @Tervus, you shouldn't wish ill upon Stan. If he doesn't pay taxes, how will you get f00dstamps, medicaid percoset, 0bamaphone, and all your other guvmint handouts? Indeed, you should thank Stan for enabling your parasitic existence.

      August 2, 2013 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • ^ Too chicken to use your real name, SoKKKman? ^

      Waiting for Sokman...

      to show up with one of his usual KKK caliber comments. The man is a proud, self-avowed racist and white supremacist.

      August 1, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply

      August 2, 2013 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Stan Yer Ground

      @Tervus:bring it biotch. Just be sure you got more than a bag of Skittles and an iced tea.

      August 2, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • gfhfghffgh

      Wow ! Unbelievable… My friend Maggie has just married to a handsome wealthy man. They met through ~ Weàlthyluv.com~~ They told me it is a Specialist millionaire dating for rich single s seeking relationships, friendships, dating ,love and more.. So, if you want to look for people with which you can date, you are at the right place.You can meet(lawyers,busy professionals, benefactors. models, celebrities, etc….)If you are single, perhaps you can have a try. h ghfg

      August 4, 2013 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Rain

      Thanks for regurgitating every bit of propaganda you learned from Fox News and Limbaugh....not being able to think critically/logically must blow.

      August 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |

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