Although her last live-action role was in 1998’s Beloved, Oprah Winfrey is considering a return to the big screen. The project that caught her discerning eye was the story of Eugene Allen, a black man who served under eight U.S. Presidents from 1952 to 1986 as the White House butler. From Precious director, Lee Daniels, comes The Butler, the story of Allen’s service in the White House through such pivotal moments in history as the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. Daniels is reportedly interested in David Oyelowo (Red Tails) to play Allen; Winfrey would play his wife. It’s also being reported that Mila Kunis (Black Swan) and John Cusack (High Fidelity) have been approached to play Jackie Kennedy and Richard Nixon, respectively. Hit the jump for more.
THR is reporting that, although no deals have been made and financing is still being sorted out, Daniels is attempting to put together a stellar cast. They also report that there was interest in Hugh Jackman (X-Men) for an unspecified role.
The story of Eugene Allen was brought to considerable public attention when Wil Haygood’s 2008 Washing Post story, “A Butler Well Served by this Election” was circulated. The article culminated with Allen’s reaction to the election of President Obama and the loss of his wife of 65 years the day before he cast his ballot.
Winfrey and Daniels had collaborated before on the 2009 indie film, Precious, which walked away with two Oscars. Danels’ current project, The Paperboy stars Zac Efron and follows a reporter as he returns home to Florida to investigate a case involving a death row inmate.