On the heels of a monstrous $25 million opening weekend by Lee Daniels' The Butler, on Monday evening Piers Morgan welcomed Daniels, the film's director, as well as actor Cuba Gooding Jr., actor Lenny Kravitz, and screenwriter and actor Danny Strong.
As the film tackles the polarizing topic of race, and racism, in America, Morgan asked Daniels if the nation is more or less bigoted since Barack Obama was elected president:
"That's a powerful question," Daniels began. "I think that people are angry that he's president and I think that they are showing their true colors and I think that when Danny Strong wrote those words, 'any black man could be killed by any white man and get away with it,' Trayvon Martin had not happened. I end the movie with hope. He's walking down and Obama's giving that famous speech and then I come out of my edit room and Trayvon Martin has happened."
With sorrow on his face, Daniels was left to conclude that modern-day America is in fact more racist with an African-American in the White House.
"Sadly, I think so," Daniels admitted.
Seated directly to the director's left, Kravitz revealed his own struggles with racism as a child:
"In growing up, going to school, you always bump into that kind of thing by certain individuals. Has the world gotten better in general?" asked the man who captured four consecutive Grammy's for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance from 1999 to 2002. "Yes... In general, things are getting better with each generation."
Gooding Jr., meanwhile, hopes the films opens up a dialogue for youth to be able to effectively talk about race:
"What has happened with the youth there's been a real disconnect with the civil rights movement and the history of it," noted the 45-year-old who made catch-phrases like "I love the Black man," and "Show me the money," household fodder. "I think this movie opens that dialogue so that you can make your decisions as an African-American or an American what is the best way to go about your relationships with people."
Specifically, Gooding Jr., said, "Lee Daniels' The Butler" uses the complicated element of conflicted, dual personalities to demonstrate its message:
"The film uses that mechanism of showing the two faces that professional blacks have to wear. But I think it's not just blacks. I think it's people. Your professional face is one thing and your relaxed face is another and I think that's what was so beautiful with the butlers that we use, the behind the scenes, the bantering in the house and the relationships of family," he told Morgan. "I think that's important to convey and I think that's what this movie does so beautifully with Lee Daniels' direction."
Watch the clip for more of Morgan's interview with the team from "Lee Daniels' The Butler," and for the next edition of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN every night at 9.
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