Cropping up with all kinds of heat and big names being thrown around a couple of weeks ago, and then going quiet again, it looks as if Lee Daniels‘ “The Butler” is pushing ahead, and the cast is getting more intriguing with each passing day.
While it was widely expected the previously reported David Oyelowo would be taking the title role, Variety reports that instead it’s Forest Whitaker who will be taking the part of Eugene Allen, a servant who worked in the White House for 34 years under eight presidents, and watched the political changes that allowed segregation to come to an end. But don’t worry, Oyelowo is still onboard, only he’ll be playing Allen’s son which leads us to guess this story could be told in flashback of some kind. Meanwhile, remember when Oprah Winfrey was kicking around as a co-star? Well, her name is still in the ring to play Allen’s wife.
Still no word yet on the raft of other names that have been rumored recently — John Cuasck (as Richard Nixon), Liam Neeson (as Lyndon Johnson), Hugh Jackman, Mila Kunis (as Jackie Onassis) — but apparently the plan is to take an approach similar to Steven Spielberg‘s “Lincoln” and stack this thing with stars, even if screentime amounts to little more than a cameo. So scheduling isn’t as big a concern here.
Either way, whatever it takes to get this thing made. This is truly some good material, so we’d like to see it get off the ground. Now let’s just hope Daniels can keep the histrionic directorial tendencies at bay and let the themes and drama speak for itself. No financing is in place, but it’s expected to come together in time for a summer shoot. Let’s just hope this doesn’t wind up going the way of “Selma.”