May 8, 2013 | Posted by Rebecca Lewis
The first trailer for Lee Daniel’s “The Butler” was released today and it’s a stirring two and a half minutes that tugs at the heartstrings. Talk about an impressive trailer to get us talking about the first of this year’s awards-baity films!
Starring Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines and Oprah Winfrey as his wife, “The Butler” is based on Wil Haygood’s Washington Post article about a black man who served as a White House butler to eight presidents over three decades. Daniel’s film also stars David Oyelowo as Gaines’ song Louis who was a Freedom Rider, Alex Pettyfer as a slave-owner, and James Marsden and Minka Kelly as President Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy.
This trailer has a heavy focus on the 1960s and the Civil Rights Movement, showcasing Nelsan Ellis as Martin Luther King Jr., but expect the film to cover all of the presidents that Cecil Gaines worked for in the White House, with this first trailer giving us glimpses of Eisenhower (Robin Williams), Kennedy, Nixon (John Cusack) and President Reagan (Alan Rickman)
“The Butler” will be released on October 18th 2013 – perfect for awards season.
Click below to watch the trailer.
November 27, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” and David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” led the way with five nominations each as the shortlists for Film Independent’s Spirit Awards were announced this morning. Both films were nominated for Best Feature, Best Director and Best Screenplay, while “Silver Linings” scored two acting nods – Best Female Lead for Jennifer Lawrence and Best Male Lead for Bradley Cooper – and “Moonrise” was nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Supporting Male for Bruce Willis.
Fellow Oscar hopeful “Beasts of the Southern Wild” made away with four expected nominations, including Best Feature, Best Director for Benh Zeitlin, Quvenzhane Wallis for Best Female Lead and Best Cinematography. Newly invigorated indie “Middle of Nowhere” also got four, including Best Female Lead for Gotham’s Breakthrough Actor Emayatzy Corinealdi, Best Supporting Male for David Oyelowo and Best Supporting Female for Lorraine Toussaint.
Some of our other favorite noms include Michael Pena nominated for Best Supporting Male for “End of Watch”, Mary Elizabeth Winstead for Best Female Lead for “Smashed” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” for Best First Feature. The full list of nominations can be found below.
October 23, 2012 | Posted by Rebecca Lewis
One of our 24 Faces to Watch, David Oyelowo has some very exciting projects coming up in his future, mostly biopics covering Presidents, the butler of eight Presidents, and American soul singers. Now Deadline reports that Oyelowo is attached to star in another biopic – an adaptation of Wil Haygood‘s biography of legendary boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, “Sweet Thunder: The Life And Times Of Sugar Ray Robinson“.
Haygood has drafted a script for producers, which include Danny Strong (who recently won an Emmy for his adap of “Game Change”), and Strong may come on board with a rewrite depending on the director.
Robinson is still classed by many as the best boxer ever, and this adaptation follows his early career, as he watched boxers that he easily beat in non-title matches win more titles than him – as he refused to get involved with organized crime, which ran the sport. Robinson helped to expose the seedy side of the sport, and his fights with Jake LaMotta were the basis for much of the Martin Scorsese classic “Raging Bull”.
Oyelowo can next be seen in Steven Spielberg‘s “Lincoln” with Daniel Day-Lewis and the Tom Cruise thriller “Jack Reacher“. The British actor has recently been filming Lee Daniel‘s “The Butler“, which was also scribed by Strong after a Washington Post article by Haygood. Most recently, Oyelowo joined Zoe Saldana in a long-gestating project based on soul singer Nina Simone.
August 20, 2012 | Posted by Rebecca Lewis
With a Janis Joplin biopic in the works, one on Jimi Hendrix currently filming and three Jeff Buckley films in pre- or post-production, it seems the trend for music biopics is definitely on the up.
Now we can also add American soul singer Nina Simone to the list, as THR reports that Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo have signed on to star as the singer and her manager respectively in “Nina“.
Production will begin later this year in Los Angeles, and Cynthia Mort is set to direct from her own script. It’s possible that the recent spate of films about famous musicians has helped bring Mort’s film back to life; the film has been long been gestating, with singer Mary J Blige originally slated to star as Simone before backing out when there were funding issues.
Saldana rose to fame in James Cameron’s 3D Oscar winner “Avatar” and then as Uhura in JJ Abram’s Star Trek reboot. She recently wrapped filming on “Out of the Furnace” with Casey Affleck. Oyelowo was one of our 24 Faces to Watch in 2012, and recently joined Lee Daniel’s “The Butler” which has a host of up and coming actors attached, including Minka Kelly and Alex Pettyfer, as well as Forest Whitaker, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Oprah Winfrey, Liam Neeson and Nicole Kidman.
July 30, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
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.
June 18, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
Lee Daniels has had his eye on Alex Pettyfer for a while. He wanted to cast him in “The Paperboy” over a year ago, but scheduling ultimately couldn’t be worked out and the role, for better or worse, went to Zac Efron. Now it appears the time is right for the actor and director to finally work together, as Deadline reports Pettyfer has joined the all-star cast of Daniels’ next, “The Butler.”
Pettyfer will play the supporting role of Thomas Westphall amongst a cast that already includes Forest Whitaker, David Oyelowo, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Oprah Winfrey, Minka Kelly, Cuba Gooding Jr, Terrance Howard, and Lenny Kravitz. 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. Pettyfer’s Westphall “appears early in the life of Forest Whitaker’s character and has a pivotal influence on the rest of that character’s life.” Filming begins in mid-July.
Pettyfer, who gained fame and notoriety from teen fare like “I Am Number Four” and “Beastly”, will soon be seen in Steven Soderbergh’s LA Film Festival closer “Magic Mike”, and is committed to indie thriller “Diamond Dogs.”
May 23, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
Looks like it will be Minka Kelly – and not Mila Kunis – who will be playing Mrs. JFK in Lee Daniels’ historical drama “The Butler.” The director tells ScreenDaily that he has chosen the “Friday Night Lights” star for the role of Jackie Kennedy, to play opposite Matthew McConaughey as John F. Kennedy. Forest Whitaker stars in the film as Eugene Allen, the titular White House butler, with Oprah Winfrey as his wife and David Oylowo as his son.
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. The rest of the cast includes John Cusack as Richard Nixon, Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan and Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan, as well as Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, Nicole Kidman and Lenny Kravitz in unspecified roles.
Kelly broke out as cheerleader Lyla Garrity on critically acclaimed NBC series “Friday Night Lights”, which ended last year. After a starring role in horror flick “The Roommate” turned out to be a dud, Kelly has mainly stuck to TV, with a recurring role on hit NBC series “Parenthood” and as one of the new “Charlie’s Angels” in a reboot of the 1970s series.
May 11, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
Jesse Williams is the latest actor to join the ever-growing ensemble cast of “Precious” director Lee Daniels’ next project, historical political drama “The Butler.” According to Deadline, Williams is in negotiations to join a cast that already includes Forest Whitaker, Hugh Jackman, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Jane Fonda and Liam Neeson.
Based on Wil Haygood’s 2008 Washington Post story “A Butler Well Served by This Election”, the story will follow Whitaker as Eugene Allen, the black White House butler 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. All actors will be portraying real life American historical figures, with Oyelowo as ALlen’s son and Winfrey as his wife. Mila Kunis was also recently rumored to play the role of Jackie Kennedy.
Williams, who we think would make a pretty good Finnick in “The Hunger Games” sequel “Catching Fire”, is a regular on hit ABC medical series “Grey’s Anatomy” and was recently seen on the big screen as one of the victims of Drew Goddard’s horrific “Cabin in the Woods.” He’s currently on hiatus from “Grey’s” and taking advantage of the break to film drag racing biopic “Snake and Mongoose” opposite Noah Wylie.
February 15, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
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.
January 18, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
and Rebecca Lewis
2011 saw some great new talent rise to stardom, but now let’s turn our attention to who may be following in their footsteps.
Again, we’ve chosen a group of fresh talent who we believe will be appearing in some interesting and high profile movies this year, which may or may not propel them to another level in their career. Some may be familiar to you already, some may be completely new. You may cheer at some inclusions, rage at who we left off (it was hard for us too, trust us!), but for better or worse, here are twenty-four actors and actresses that we will be keeping our eyes on this year.
>> 24 Faces to Watch in 2012 < <