We’ve got a couple of casting stories to share with you this afternoon. First up, Precious director Lee Daniels continues to fill out the impressive cast for his passion project The Butler. The film tells the true story of Eugene Allen, a butler who served at the White House from 1952 to 1986. Daniels is casting a slew of stars to take small roles as the famous men and women who come through the White House over the years, and Variety reports that Jane Fonda will be taking on Nancy Reagan. Forest Whitaker is set as Allen, with Oprah Winfrey in talks to play Allen’s wife and David Oyelowo up for the role of Allen’s son.
Liam Neeson and John Cusack are apparently circling roles as Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon, respectively, and we also heard that Mila Kunis is eyeing the role of Jackie Kennedy. It’s an ambitious project, and one that’s sure to draw considerable awards buzz. I’m interested to see how Daniels pulls off the “revolving door” aspect without the cameos taking over control of the story. Daniels is directing from a script he co-wrote with Game Change writer Danny Strong. Hit the jump for casting news concerning the indie Small Time.
Additionally, former Law & Order: SVU star Christopher Meloni has been tapped to lead the indie drama Small Time. The semi-autobiographical story centers on a used car salesman who’s still in love with his ex-wife and has a son who wants to skip college and enter the family business. Variety reports that Meloni would lead a cast that may also include Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) and Devon Bostick (Diary of a Wimpy Kid). 24 co-creator Joel Surnow will make his directorial debut on the project based on a script he wrote that was inspired by his own father. Meloni is keeping busy post-Law & Order with roles in Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot Man of Steel and the Jackie Robinson biopic 42 opposite Harrison Ford, and a stint on the upcoming season of HBO’s True Blood.