Lately, Lee Daniels has been caught up in TV land. The award-winning director and producer, known for his work on films like “Monster’s Ball,” “Precious” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” tells WSJ. Magazine he has been focused on TV, executive-producing two series, “Empire” and “Star,” leaving little time for much else. “I’d forgotten what it was like to do a film, and I’d forgotten that’s where I come from,” says Daniels, 61. “I’m a filmmaker ultimately…. I have complete control over my films, whereas in television, I don’t. It’s by committee.”

This month Daniels returns to filmmaking with “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” the first movie he’s directed in over seven years. The film is based on Johann Hari’s 2015 book, “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs,” and tells…

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