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.
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.
April 20, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
It’s that wonderful time of year when we start getting our first looks at some of the major movie events of the year. Today brings Lee Daniels’ follow-up to the Oscar-winning “Precious”, “The Paperboy.” French media site Allocine has released the first stills from the Cannes-bound film, starring Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack and Matthew McConaughey.
Efron plays an aimless young man who gets drawn into his older brother’s journalistic investigation into a murder. McConaughey plays the reporter, while Cusask is the prison-dwelling maybe murderer and Kidman, a woman who’s having a romance-by-correspondence with him. That is before Efron enters her life. The whole thing takes place in Florida, and just like the poster, the images alone give off an atmosphere of sweltering heat that’s easily ignitable. This is definitely one we hope to catch at Cannes next month.
See the first two images of Efron below and be sure to hit Allocine for all the pictures from the film, including an eye-popping Kidman scene.
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.
December 28, 2011 | Posted by Linda Ge
Millennium Films has unveiled the sexy cool first poster for “The Paperboy”, Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels’ follow-up to his 2009 “Precious.” Nicole Kidman rides shotgun next to Zac Efron, who takes center stage looking like a smoldering 70s matinee idol, a far cry from his previous kid-friendly projects, and the whole poster gives off more of a Tarantino B-movie vibe than a legal drama.
The story follows a Miami Times reporter (Matthew McConaughey) who returns to his hometown to investigate the murder of a local sheriff. Efron, as his directionless younger brother, chips in to help, and in the process falls for the woman (Kidman) who has been involved in a prison-correspondence romance with the accused murderer (John Cusack). The film underwent a complete cast makeover when Efron replaced Alex Pettyfer, McConaughey took over for Bradley Cooper, Kidman replaced Sofia Vagara and Cusack, Tobey Maguire. A complete upgrade, if you ask us.
No release date yet, but this is definitely one we’ll be keeping an eye on in 2012. The full poster is below.
May 13, 2011 | Posted by Linda Ge
Zac Efron will star in “The Paperboy”, reports THR from Cannes, joining a cast that also includes Matthew McConaughey, Tobey Maguire and Sofia Vergara. Based on the 1995 novel by Peter Dexter, the film has been in development for over a decade by Dexter and Pedro Almodovar. Oscar nominated director Lee Daniels jumped on board early this year to make his follow-up to 2009′s Awards juggernaut “Precious”.
The story follows a Miami Times reporter who returns to his hometown to investigate the murder of a local sheriff. Logically, McConaughey or Maguire would play the reporter, with the other playing the death row inmate currently convicted of the murder. Efron plays the reporter’s younger brother who gets roped into the action, and Vergara is the inmate’s wife.
Back in February, offers had been made to Bradley Cooper and Alex Pettyfer for the brothers, along with Vergara, who is the only holdover. However, the production team seems happy with the new developments, with Millenium Films and Nu Image currently handling international sales at Cannes. “This is a good film for us,” says producer Avi Lerner, “a project that has Pedro Almodovar attached, is set in the steamy South, directed by Lee Daniels, Hilary Shor producing, and with the incredible cast of Matthew, Tobey, Sofia and Zac.”
Still hoping to get out from under the shadow of the “High School Musical” Disney image that made him a star, Efron has been signing on for distinctly more serious and adult roles as of late, though he made a slight turn for the light-hearted in the recently completed ensemble comedy “New Year’s Eve” for Gary Marshall. He is attached to an untitled romantic actioner for Mandate Pictures previously titled “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman” and also has “The Lucky One”, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel, in the can awaiting release.
February 19, 2011 | Posted by Lindsey Young
Alex Pettyfer has done a pretty good job of keeping us all guessing about what his next project will be. In the past couple of months, there have been negotiations concerning “The Mortal Instruments,” rumors about “The Hunger Games,” and apparent interest in “The Last Apprentice,” all of which are notably film adaptations of YA novels. However, while his next project may be an adaptation of a book, it might not necessarily be very youth-friendly.
Director Lee Daniels, best known for the film “Precious,” is reported to have chosen his next project, an adaptation of “The Paperboy.” The film is an adaptation of the novel by Pete Dexter, and the word is that Daniels wants Pettyfer for the title role.
According to Vulture, Daniels has reportedly made an offer to Pettyfer. “The Paperboy” is a thriller which tells the story of a slacker kid who gets roped into his older brother’s investigation of the murder of a rural sheriff. Together, the brothers find out whether or not the death-row inmate who is the suspected murder is actually guilty. Offers have also been made to Bradley Cooper to star as Pettyfer’s brother (if Pettyfer accepts, that is) and Sofia Vegara (“Modern Family”) as the in-mate’s wife.
If Pettyfer is indeed cast in Daniel’s film, or if a decision is officially made concerning any of the book adaptations mentioned above, definitely check back to U&C for updates.