FIRST LOOK: How Ziskin Pushed Daniels' 'The Butler,' Starring Whitaker, Winfrey, Cusack and Williams

by Anne Thompson
August 20, 2012 4:29 PM
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The presidents are played by Robin Williams (Eisenhower), James Marsden (JFK), Liev Schreiber (LBJ), John Cusack (Nixon) and Alan Rickman (Reagan), with Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan, Melissa Leo as Mamie Eisenhower, and Minka Kelly as Jackie Kennedy.

Admittedly, this is an ambitious project in scope--recreating history in period detail-- to achieve on an independent budget. The film is in its third week of production in New Orleans, where they filmed in a Woolworth's counter bar where a famous sit-in actually took place.

For now there is no distributor; Sony will have the domestic first-look opportunity. Icon International and IM Global handled foreign sales at Cannes, where the response was upbeat around the world. "People who were concerned that period American politics and an African-American story would limit interest saw the opposite," says Williams.

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  • AV | August 21, 2012 1:41 PMReply

    Great article. Thanks.

  • Anne Thompson | August 20, 2012 5:25 PMReply

    Apologies. Story went up earlier than intended; all cleaned up now.

  • Typotime | August 20, 2012 5:04 PMReply

    Riddled with typos, from pronouns to names of actor. FYI.

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