You said you had to fight to get a PG-13 for this, right?
Like an animal for it. I don’t know why it was, I mean, I know that you can only use one fuck.

Yeah, Nixon gets it. I noticed that.
Did you? You watch people fight for PG-13s a lot. The Weinstein Company does it all the time, it seems like.
Yeah, I mean, there were a lot those, there were a lot of F-bombs in this film. A lot.

Well, there’s a lot of room for them.
Yeah, I regret some of them being out.

Yes, it adds humor. What I’m bringing to this film is humor through the darkness, because there’s so--what we experience with this film is dark, man. It’s dark. I cried a lot on the set. The actors cried on the set, at what had happened. We were on that bus [a Freedom Riders bus that gets firebombed by the KKK) and I was in the bus with the actors, sweating, sweaty, sweaty, sweaty. And I yelled, “Action,” and all these KKK members were coming out and Nazis were coming out, and it was scary with the crosses and everything. And I was scared and I yelled, “Cut,” and they kept coming. And for an instant, for a moment, I knew what it was like to be one of those kids.

So, they just didn’t hear you and they kept going?
Yeah, cause they couldn’t, because I was inside. And I knew what it was like for those kids, both black and white, that they were heroes, that those kids were heroes on that bus. I don’t know whether or not, that I could be a hero. I guess it was this wake-up call for me, that I didn’t think I’m man enough, that I could ever be man enough to die for a cause, you know what I mean.

Anytime you watch a movie about this stuff, you think about the kids …
How the fuck did they pull it off?

I have no idea. It’s amazing.

(Lee Daniels red carpet images via Helga Esteb /

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