Oprah Winfrey Talks Being Drunk and Dancing for Hours in Lee Daniels' The Butler
The talk-show host returns to acting for the first time in 15 years
“Lee doesn’t care what your name is,” Winfrey tells V magazine. “The fact that he can make me – for a dance scene that now lasts less than 40 seconds – dance for six hours straight, and is going, ‘Faster! Faster! More! More!’ I think he gets a kick out of it.”
The film, opening Aug. 16, tells the real-life story of Eugene Allen, who worked at the White House from 1952 to 1986. His name has been changed to Cecil Gaines for the movie (he’s portrayed by Forest Whitaker), and Winfrey plays his flamboyant wife, Gloria.
“My character progressively becomes an alcoholic and there was this scene where – good LORD today – Lee is saying, ‘Drunker! Do the line, she’s drunker!’ And at one point I go, ‘Lee, if she’s any drunker she s not sitting up anymore.’ And he s like, ‘DRUNKER!’ I’m like, ‘Oh my God, what is happening here?’ ” Winfrey says.
“But anyway, I suppose it would surprise a lot of people that I can take direction so well, because it s very hard for me to stay out of it!”
Had it been up to Daniels, things would have gotten even crazier for Winfrey’s character.
“If it were up to him, I’d have had three love scenes and been naked on the couch, smoking marijuana!” Winfrey admits. “But I talked him out of it.”