Winfrey's 'Beloved' Role

The most successful women in television, Oprah Winfrey, is starring in a movie about slavery and redemption. The film is based on Toni Morrison's novel Beloved, which called to Oprah like a sermon. CBS This Morning co-anchor Mark McEwen spoke with Oprah about making the movie.

"I never had read a book like that, and I am a student of my own history,"Oprah says.

She adds, "Sojourner Truth is my favorite role model. I certainly have understood that I didn't get here by myself, that my ancestors were a bridge to this moment, that they never imagined that my life could be possible, and that I am the seed of the free. That I know. When I finished this book, I went, 'whoa, you can't even kind of put into words what you are feeling. So you need to talk to somebody.' And I thought the best person to talk to would be Toni Morrison. She could help me sort out my feelings about it. So I found her number and called her up."

Once she tracked Morrison down, Oprah had some questions. "The first thing I said to Toni was, 'do people tell you they have to keep going over the words and that they have to keep going back over the pages?' And she said, 'that, my dear, is called reading.'"

"Over the years - this ten-year period," Oprah says, "lots of people have told me it couldn't be done, and 'how you gonna put that on the screen?'"

After ten years of starts and stops, Oprah convinced Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme to sign on for Oprah's labor of love, her Beloved.

Demme had just one question, Oprah recalls: "'How do you plan to do it. I don't mean physically. How do you plan to create this character, because you are so known?' And I said, 'You know, I think I'm going to open myself up and let her come through. I think I'm going to just channel her.' I think, because I don't have the experience, I can't imagine what that kind of pain is - that you would feel so low, so devastated, so hopeless that you would feel the need to remove your children and yourself from this earth."

Now, Oprah says she "was transformed by the making of this film. And touched a part of myself that even I, with my intellectual knowledge of my history, did not know existed."

Oprah adds, "It's about courage. It's about people who had the courage to stand in a world that was willing to absolutely strip them of all humanity, in a world that said, 'you're an animal.'"

On a lighter note, Winfrey talks about the scene in Beloved during which co-stars Winfrey and Danny Glover enjoy a tender love scene, Oprah's first on film.

Oprah sucked lemons before she kissed him. "Because, you know, lemons give you that very fresh feeling, that gives it a kind of like fresh burst of flavor feeling without saying, 'I just ate an Altoid.' I was really nervous, I don't now."

She explains why. "I hadn't even -- because I hadn't even kissed a guy in 12 years other than (her long-time boyfriend) Steadman. I hadn't even flirted, you know? It's Danny Glover. I was a little intimidated. And then you got this whole love scene. Danny says to me, 'Baby, I don't do stage kisses. I've never done one.' And I said, 'Me either. I can't believe it, both of us virgins here.' He goes, 'No, I mean I don't do stage. I do the real thing.'"

So, Oprah adds: "That's when I said, 'somebody get me the lemons!'"

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