Lee Daniels spoke with Insider and revealed that he was the original director for the Oscar-winning movie Broke Back Mountain, but had to give it up due to financial reasons.

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“It was a very expensive piece to keep and I simply couldn’t get the movie made. Nobody wanted to see the movie, nobody wanted to make the movie. And I had to let it go,” the Empire creator said.

Film director, Ang Lee, ended up with the film and took home the Oscar for best director.


The classic film stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal who are two cowboys with a hidden romance.

Broke Back Mountain was supposed to mark Lee Daniels’ directorial debut following his producing debut on Monster Ball starring Halle Berry. But the first film he directed was Shadowboxer.

BBM received eight nods and took home three awards. Although it was critically-acclaimed, Daniels says it took him over a decade to finally watch it. “I couldn’t watch the film when it came out. I saw the movie in my head, the script was powerful. I saw the entire film in my head because it was so powerful.”

But he did commend Lee for providing a different perspective that worked for the film. “I saw it, like, 15 years later and Ang Lee did a really great job. 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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