Lee Daniels on Career's Long List of 'Firsts'

Director of "The Butler" discusses importance of the story behind a famous White House butler.
3:03 | 08/13/13

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Transcript for Lee Daniels on Career's Long List of 'Firsts'
We get a chance to right now, we're counting down to the premiere of "the butler." Oprah last week, forest whitaker tomorrow. And before she left for vacation, robin sat down with the man who made it all happen, director lee daniels. Passionate about bringing this story to the big screen. Lee daniels is a director/producer with a lot of firsts under his belt. First african-american producer to earn a best picture nomination. And the only african-american producer of an oscar-winning and nominated film. Now, his latest film, lee daniels is bringing us the first portrayal of the civil rights movement, threw the eyes, the lens of someone who has seen it all as a butler in the white house and a father to an idealistic young man. Something special is going on? What do you do -- are you leaving school? I'm trying to change -- you're breaking the law. That judge just sentenced you to 30 days in the county work house. I can't say that any launch counter I want, I might as well be dead. We're fighting for our right. Give it up for lee daniels here. oprah winfrey. Forest whitaker. Robin williams. John cusack. Vanessa redgrave. All of these people, these fine actors wanted to be part of the sum. Partly, because it's important. It's not just a movie. It's a movement. It wasn't until I was in the bus with the actors and yelled action. And from nowhere, all these klansmen came and the swastikas and the crosses. And at that moment, I realized, this is about kids that were heroes. That were really to die for what they believed in. We have to talk about forest. He brings that role to life. What was it like working on with him on this? I think he's one of the greatest actors of our generation. It was an honor to work with him. You sat down for the screening, with president bush and barbara bush. I did. I was the only black person in the room. I'm next to barbara. There's george, 39 bush. President bush says, is that oprah? Is that oprah, honey? And mrs. Bush says, lee, is that oprah? Is that oprah? Yes, mrs. Bush, it's oprah. It's oprah, honey. This is your baby. I feel it's going to speak to them. It's going to resonate with them. Lee daniels. And "the cutler opens up across the country on friday.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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