Lee Daniels' background is filled with bold stories as real and gritty as the narratives from the films he creates. By the age of 21, Daniels had founded and was running his own health care agency, providing nurses to private homes and hospitals; he was simultaneously trying to be a screenwriter. After selling his health care business, and giving up screenwriting, he began managing actors such as Loretta Divine, Michael Shannon, Natasha Kinsky, and Aishwarya Rai. Daniels turned to producing as a natural result of trying to find and create great material for his clients; the organic leap to directing came soon after.
Daniels' most recent project, PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE, is the story of an overweight, illiterate girl raised in Harlem, sexually abused by her father and about to give birth to her second child, who salvages her future at an alternative school; it is adapted from the New York Times-bestselling novel Push by Sapphire (a.k.a. Ramona Lofton).
PRECIOUS stars newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, and features a supporting cast that includes Mo'Nique, Mariah Carey, and Lenny Kravitz. The Hollywood Reporter called PRECIOUS “a disturbing masterwork of human survival,” and Variety dubbed it “courageous and uncompromising, a shaken cocktail of debasement and elation, despair and hope…helmer Daniels demonstrates a remarkable, balletic ability to juggle emotional extremes.” The film was distributed by Lionsgate with an assist from Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey, who said of the film, “I've never seen anything like it... It's so raw and powerful, it split me open.”