Oprah Winfrey insists she is not a 'control freak'

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International  |  Aug. 14, 2013 at 11:09 AM
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NEW YORK, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. media mogul and actress Oprah Winfrey insists she is not a control freak and was happy to take direction on the set of her new movie.

Winfrey made the statement during a recent cast press conference promoting the film "Lee Daniels' The Butler."

"I worked with [Daniels] on 'Precious' behind the scenes and I wanted the opportunity to be in his hands, really, and, contrary to what some people assume about me, I'm really not a control freak. I really like hiring people," Winfrey recently told reporters in New York.

"As I run my businesses, I want to hire somebody who knows what they're doing, so I don't have to do it and then come back to me and tell me it's done. So, that's really how I like to operate, so the notion that I am a person who likes to control everything, I am not. But there were some things on set -- because I am the oldest person on set, I think, and because I lived through the Kennedy assassination -- I had some definite opinions," explained the 59-year-old Mississippi native. "What is exciting, and why we all love [Daniels,] is he is a truth-seeker."

Winfrey added she and her co-stars strove for authenticity because Daniels would "literally not let any of his actors get away with a breath that is a false moment."

Based on a true story, "The Butler" is about a trusted African-American White House servant, who works for seven presidents from 1952 to 1986, acting as a witness to an extraordinary period of change in U.S. history.

Oscar winning-actor Forest Whitaker plays the titular butler, whose name is Cecil Gaines, and Winfrey plays his wife Gloria, an intelligent, opinionated woman who keeps her family together while Cecil works long hours looking after some of the most powerful men in the world.

The film marks Winfrey's first major on-screen acting role since 1998's "Beloved."

Co-starring Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Liev Schreiber, Robin Williams, James Marsden, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Vanessa Redgrave and Jane Fonda, "Lee Daniels' The Butler" is set to open in U.S. theaters Friday.

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