While director Lee Daniels (Precious) had put together a terrific cast for the historical drama Selma, the inability to find financing for the film may push the Oscar-nominee to make The Butler, another African American-centered historical drama, his next project. Butler centers on the real-life story of Eugene Allen, a servant in the White House over 34 years, who watched the eight presidents he worked for wrestle with and finally stem the tide of segregation. The first draft of the script was written by Recount screenwriter (and Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum) Danny Strong, but Daniels will immediately begin re-writing it if decides to do the picture before Selma. The Butler has almost solidified financing from The Weinstein Company, Pathe, and Skyline Pictures. Deadline reports that filming could begin as early as this fall and Daniels has reportedly approached Denzel Washington about playing Allen.
Hit the jump to learn more about the status of Selma.
However, should Selma be able to pull together the necessary funding over the next couple of weeks, that film will be the one shooting as early as the fall. It’s surprising that Selma is still looking for cash when it’s got a strong story (it’s about Lyndon Johnson, Martin Luther King and the marches that led to civil rights reform) and a cast that features Hugh Jackman, Liam Neeson, David Oyelowo, Ray Winstone, Robert De Niro, and Cedric the Entertainer. I think both projects have terrific premises and since I though Precious was an incredible film, I want to see Daniels get to work on his next movie as soon as possible.