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Watch: Post Weinstein Legal Battle, UPDATED Trailer for 'Lee Daniels' The Butler'

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio | Thompson on Hollywood July 23, 2013 at 2:18PM

UPDATE: With the Weinsteins' loss of "The Butler" legal battle with Warner Bros., an updated trailer for the film has arrived, sporting the slightly unwieldy new title "Lee Daniels' The Butler." Watch below.
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'Lee Daniels' The Butler'
'Lee Daniels' The Butler'

UPDATE: With the Weinsteins' loss of "The Butler" legal battle with Warner Bros., an updated trailer for the film has arrived, sporting the slightly unwieldy new title "Lee Daniels' The Butler." Watch below.

The film hits theaters August 16.

EARLIER: While it won't be going to Cannes this year, Lee Daniels' "The Butler" now has an official Weinstein Co. trailer.

Starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Alex Pettyfer, Robin Williams and Melissa Leo -- among many other stellar cast members -- "The Butler" is a look at the life of Eugene Allen (Whitaker), head butler at the White House from 1952 to 1986, as he becomes embroiled in political and racial history.

"Butler" is the follow-up to Daniels' hothouse southern flop "The Paperboy," which premiered at Cannes last year. Before that he was nominated for two Oscars for "Precious" (2009) and he produced Marc Forster's "Monster's Ball" (2001), which earned Halle Berry the first African American Best Actress Oscar. Daniels reunites with "Paperboy" star John Cusack in "The Butler."

Read our TOH interview with producer Pam Williams, who fought hard to take Laura Ziskin's vision of the film to the finish line -- it was a challenging project to finance and mount-- after the producer succumbed to cancer in 2011. Ziskin finally turned to the African-American community to fund the film. 

The question, of course, is whether this delicate true story will be well-served by Daniels' heart-on-sleeve approach to filmmaking. Actors love him, because he brings out their fearless best. With Daniels, it's all or nothing. With help from novelist Sapphire and Oscar-winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher, Daniels pulled off "Precious," but arguably that is the only time he has connected with moviegoers. This time around, of course he has Harvey Weinstein pushing this movie into hitting the Academy's socially conscious sweet spot.

 

This article is related to: Lee Daniels, Lee Daniels' The Butler


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.