Lee Daniels Reveals He Was Originally Set to Direct 'Brokeback Mountain'

In a recent interview, Lee Daniels revealed that he was originally set to direct 'Brokeback Mountain,' and that he waited 15 years to watch it.

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Image via Getty/Noam Galai

lee daniels

Lee Daniels revealed that he was originally set to direct Brokeback Mountain instead of Ang Lee, who ended up taking the helm. 

In a new interview with Insider, the tenured director spoke about how Brokeback Mountain was originally going to be his directing debut—which ended up being his film Shadowboxer that was released in 2005 starring Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr.—and talked about how he couldn't even bear to watch the film for 15 years after it was released, because he had such a strong vision for what direction he wanted it to go in.

"I was going to be directing Brokeback Mountain,” Daniels said. “A long, long time ago. It was going to be my second movie after Monster’s Ball."

“I couldn’t watch the film when it came out," Daniels continued. "I saw the movie in my head, the script was powerful. I saw the entire film in my head because it was so powerful. So when Ang came out with it, I didn’t want to see it. Because I just didn’t think that he would do it justice. When [Jack and Ennis] first had sex in the tent, I saw that scene how I would direct it, so I just couldn’t imagine any other filmmaker doing it justice. Especially a straight filmmaker taking it on.”

Daniels would go on to say that he eventually saw the iconic film, which is heralded as a pillar in gay representation on the big screen, despite it's snub at the 78th Academy Awards. 

"I saw it, like, 15 years later and Ang Lee did a really great job,” he said. “As a matter of fact, he did it in a way that was palatable for many heterosexuals around the world. I would have probably been more in your face with it, and he did it in a different perspective, so kudos to him. And I told him that.”

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