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By Felicia R. Lee - New York Times News Service

Oprah Winfrey was winding up her long-running talk show when the director Lee Daniels came calling. Daniels, who had worked with Winfrey when she was an executive producer and supporter of his 2009 film, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” told her that he had a part for her in his new film. Despite pleading time constraints - she was starting her television network, OWN - Winfrey said she was ultimately compelled to embrace the project because it represented “something bigger than ourselves.”

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