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Forest Whitaker Will Be 'The Butler' For Lee Daniels

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by Kevin Jagernauth
March 6, 2012 6:07 PM
5 Comments
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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."

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5 Comments

  • elliott yancey | March 20, 2012 2:56 AMReply

    Excellent project. When I read about Mr Allen, I immediately contacted journalist Wil Haygood who penned the story and expressed my interest to produce albeit from Sydney Australia. I knew given the appointment of our first African American President, this would be an awesome project. I thought Denzel or Cuba would be in the running for Mr Allen, and possibly Russell Crowe as Eisenhower. Can't wait to see this on the screen.
    Cheers to Lee and Forest.

  • bobbiejoe | March 6, 2012 7:20 PMReply

    EW says Kunis and Jackman are not involved.

    http://insidemovies.ew.com/2012/02/16/oprah-butler-lee-daniels/

    >>EW confirms that John Cusack is considering playing Richard Nixon and Liam Neeson is in talks for the role of Lyndon B. Johnson. (Mila Kunis and Hugh Jackman were also mentioned in THR‘s story, but reps for the actors say their clients will not be involved in the project.)

  • Worrying | March 6, 2012 6:16 PMReply

    ...and yes. Let's absolutely hope this goes the way of "Selma"

  • Worrying | March 6, 2012 6:15 PMReply

    it's okay KJ, no one was actually worrying about whether the evil scientist from "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" would be in the next movie from the guy who did "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire"

  • jb | March 8, 2012 1:48 PM

    oyelowo is a great actor actually

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