British actor David Oyelowo’s conquering of Hollywood continues, as THR reports “Precious” director Lee Daniels is interested in his “The Paperboy” star to take on the titular role in “The Butler”, a biopic about Eugene Allen, the black butler that served eight presidents in the White House from 1952 to 1986. THR further reports that Daniels is assembling a hell of a supporting cast with the likes of Mila Kunis, John Cusack, Hugh Jackman and even Oprah Winfrey being offered roles of real life American historical figures.
Based on Wil Haygood’s 2008 Washington Post story “A Butler Well Served by This Election”, the story will follow Allen as he goes from an entry level “pantry man” in pre-Civil Rights 1952 to serving eight presidents over 30 years and witnessing firsthand such historical events as the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr, John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy. THR reports Kunis has been offered the role of Jackie Kennedy, Cusack President Richard Nixon and Winfrey Allen’s wife. Financing and scheduling are still being shuffled around and as we know from Daniels’ past projects, the cast could look totally different by the time cameras roll, but it’s certainly an inspired grouping as is.
Oyelowo, one of our Faces to Watch in 2012, had a bit of a breakout moment last year when he starred in two of the summer’s biggest and most critically acclaimed blockbusters: “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and Oscar hopeful “The Help.” This year, after already appearing in surprise box office hit “Red Tails” and with “The Paperboy” on the horizon (a Cannes premiere has been rumored), he’s lining up a terrific fourth quarter with roles in Tom Cruise thriller “One Shot” and Steven Spielberg’s biopic “Lincoln.”
Kunis, an alumnus of longtime sitcom “That 70s Show”, surprised audiences and critics alike with her dark and serious turn in Darren Aronofsky’s Best Picture Oscar nominee “Black Swan.” This year she’ll reunite with her “Family Guy” creator/co-star Seth MacFarlane on his feature directorial debut, “Ted” and stars as Theodorah, the Wicked Witch of the West opposite James Franco’s Wizard in Sam Raimi’s “Oz The Great and Powerful.”