The cast of Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” is still growing. Today Deadline reports Daniels has found his MLK in “True Blood” actor Nelsan Ellis, who joins a cast that already includes Forest Whitaker, David Oyelowo, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Oprah Winfrey, Liam Neeson, Nicole Kidman, Minka Kelly, Cuba Gooding Jr, Alex Pettyfer, Terrance Howard and Lenny Kravitz in the true historical tale.
Whitaker plays Eugene Allen, the White House butler who started out as 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. Winfrey and Oyelowo play his wife and son, respectively, while the rest of the cast all play real life historical and political figures, which now includes Ellis as the iconic Civil Rights leader. Filming is underway.
Ellis appeared in “The Help” with Oyelowo, as well as sports films “Secretariat” and “The Express”, though he’s most well known for his role as short order cook and gay witch Lafeyette Reynolds on HBO’s “True Blood”, now in its 6th season. He recently wrapped up shooting indie films “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” opposite Keiefer Sutherland and Kate Hudson, and “Gods Behaving Badley” with Christopher Walken and Sharon Stone.