Lee Daniels has one more thing on resume celebrate about. The Empire co-creator is now a cover star for The Hollywood Reporter. Daniels—alongside the year’s big TV drama writers Beau Willimon (House of Cards), Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers), Alex Gansa (Homeland), Michelle King (The Good Wife) and Sarah Treem (The Affair)—were rounded up for a candid discussion about the touchiest hot button topics in their field.
During their chat, they covered the inexcusable lack of diversity in the writers’ rooms, disagreeing with the network, challenges working with show collaborators and more. Daniels held back no feelings and made sure to challenge his fellow cover stars and the reporter with each drilling question. Check out a handful of his best responses.
On handling the harsh words critics:
“I’m hurt [by critics]. It’s like taking a knife and stabbing you in the heart over and over. So I’ve learned to protect myself by not reading reviews. If my publicist says you really have to read this, I’ll read it, and then I’ll find the one sentence that f—s me up.”
On white writers writing for black storylines:
“I don’t know what gives me more pleasure: watching my story unfold or going in and watching a room full of black people talking for me and writing words for black people. I hate white people writing for black people; it’s so offensive. So we go out and look specifically for African-American voices. Yes, it’s all about reverse racism!”
On what Fox executives would say about his work:
“Fox has been incredible. They only gave me one major note. To take someone out of the series. There was a character that I wrote into the original pilot who was Hakeem’s love interest, a mother figure, [played by] Macy Gray. There was a love scene, and they said, ‘This is too much.’ But other than that, we were on the same page. They know what they don’t know, which is great because they let me do my thing.”
Watch THR‘s behind-the-scenes video on the candid conversation and read the entire dialogue here.
Photo Credit: The Hollywood Reporter