Comedian and actress Mo’Nique had to drop her salary expectations after she picked up an Oscar for her role in Precious after director Lee Daniels told her studio executives had “blackballed” her for refusing to “play the game”.
The star had hoped her salary and job offers would increase after her Academy Awards win for Best Supporting Actress in 2010, but Mo’Nique tells The Hollywood Reporter that didn’t happen.
She says, “What I understood was that when I won that Oscar, things would change… It should come with more respect, more choices and more money. It should, and it normally does.
“I got a phone call from Lee Daniels maybe six or seven months ago, and he said to me, ‘Mo’Nique, you’ve been blackballed… because you didn’t play the game’. And I said, ‘Well, what game is that?’ and he gave me no response. The next thing he said to me was, ‘Your husband (and manager) is outbidding you.’ But he never asked me what (salary) we were asking for.
“My husband and I had to change things so we wouldn’t have to depend on (others). So we do it independently. We’re very proud of taking the independent route.”
Mo’Nique reveals she also picked up a bad reputation among certain filmmakers that she didn’t deserve: “There have been people that have said, ‘Mo’Nique, she can be difficult. Mo’Nique and her husband can be difficult.’ They could probably be right.
“One of the networks said to (Lee Daniels) that I was ‘really difficult to work with’. And I said, ‘Well, that’s funny, because I’ve never even worked with them, but OK’.
“Whoever those people are who say, ‘Mo’Nique is difficult’, those people are either heartless, ruthless or treat people like they’re worthless. And that’s unacceptable. They’re set to say, ‘Mo’Nique is tactless, she’s tacky’. That’s why I have my beautiful husband, because he’s so full of tact, ’cause I’m a girl from Baltimore. I come from a blue-collar town, and being from that place, you learn not to let anybody take advantage of you. You don’t let people mistreat you. You stand up for what’s right.”
In response to her new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, director Daniels, who scrapped plans to work with her again on The Butler and new TV drama Empire, says, “Mo’nique is a creative force to be reckoned with. Her demands through Precious were not always in line with the campaign. This soured her relationship with the Hollywood community.
“I consider her a friend. I have and will always think of her for parts that we can collaborate on. However, the consensus among the creative teams and powers thus far were to go another way with these roles.”
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