Lee Daniels has credited his grandmother for seeing ''greatness'' in him.

The 57-year-old film producer has opened up about his difficult childhood which saw his father put him ''in the trashcan'' for being openly gay, but says it was his grandmother who understood him and taught him to be ''strong'' and ''fearless'' no matter what.

He said: ''Yet my grandmother could [accept that he was gay]. And she saw greatness, and she said that I was going to have greatness far beyond hers, which was incomprehensible to me at the time.

''My dad told me I was going to be nothing. [But] she says, 'Listen, you know, you're not like all the other guys around here. You are a fa***t.' I said, 'What's that?' And she says, 'Don't worry about it, but you're going to get used to -- people are going to call you that. But you have to remember, as long as you are strong, as long as you are fearless, as long as you are honest, you have nothing to worry about.'''

And the 'Empire' creator believes his father only tried to ''scare'' him because he didn't understand Lee's sexuality.

He added: ''I have no hate in my heart for my father at all. I think that he didn't understand [Lee being gay]. He completely didn't understand and he knew that it was hard enough being a black man, and thought that if he scared it out of me, in hindsight, I think he thought that if he scared it out of me, that I wouldn't be gay, because he just couldn't imagine what my life would be.''

Meanwhile, Lee admits he got the idea for his movie 'Precious' from an incident with his father where he was placed inside a rubbish bin for wearing high heeled shoes.

He told Loyola Marymount University's School of Film & TV: ''I walked down the stairs with high heels on, and he put me in the trashcan. I think that's where 'Precious' came from, because I remember the stench. I remember the dark, the cold, my mother trying to fight, and then me, thinking that I was Aladdin on a carpet escaping. And I think that's why I so related to Precious. But that was just one of many times.''