*Forest Whitaker is in negotiations to play the title character in director Lee Daniels’ “The Butler,” which tells the true story of Eugene Allen, a black man who worked as butler in the White House, serving eight presidents from 1952 to 1986.
David Oyelowo is in talks to play the butler’s son in the movie, being produced by Pamela Williams producing on behalf of Laura Ziskin Productions.
As previously reported, Oprah Winfrey is in talks to play the butler’s wife while other high-profile actors such as Hugh Jackman, Liam Neeson and Mila Kunis circling the roles of real-life figures.
Allen started at the White House as a “pantry man” in 1952, when blacks weren’t allowed to use public restrooms in his native Virginia. He ended up serving eight presidents and had a unique front-row seat as political and racial history was made, from the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement to the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.
Whitaker won an Oscar for portraying dictator Idi Amin in 2006’s “The Last King of Scotland.”