It has been about two months since Lee Daniels stopped in Cannes with "The Paperboy" and was roundly savaged by critics, but the director has already dusted himself off and moved on, with principal photography beginning this week on the sprawling historical drama "The Butler." And a few more details have dropped now that the cameras are rolling on Daniels' new film.
First up, legendary musician, composer and producer Quincy Jones has been lined up to score the film. Though he worked in film regularly throughout the '60s and '70s, providing memorable work for pictures like "The Italian Job," "The Hot Rock," "The Getaway," "In The Heat Of The Night" and "The Anderson Tapes," since then he has largely stepped out of movie scoring, notably pitching in for Steven Spielberg's "The Color Purple" and less notably for Jim Sheridan's "Get Rich Or Die Tryin." But we're definitely curious to see what he'll do here, and it's a pretty great coup for Daniels.
Meanwhile, joining the already massive ensemble will be pop singer Mariah Carey and actress Yaya DaCosta, who is probably best known for being Mark Ruffalo's impossibly gorgeous hook up in "The Kids Are All Right." There's no word yet on their roles, but we will say this: as much as we rag on Daniels for not being an actor's director, he pulled a pretty solid performance out of Carey for "Precious," and overall, he's working with strong talent here so hopefully he'll let them do their thing.
To recap: the film will tell the true tale of Eugene Allen, the late White House butler who served eight presidents during his tenure from 1952 to 1986. Forest Whitaker, David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey,Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Lenny Kravitz, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, John Cusack, Robin Williams, Liam Neeson, Minka Kelly, Alex Pettyfer, Colman Dingo, Vanessa Redgrave, James Marsden, Liev Schreiber and more feature. No release date yet, but will Daniels take another shot at Cannes next year? We'll see. [Variety/Black Film]