“The Butler” has been getting a lot of buzz leading up to its debut in theaters today. The film, which stars Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, is inspired by a Washington Post article about Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served under seven administrations from 1952 to 1986.
Director Lee Daniels and writer Danny Strong (Emmy winner of “Game Change”) brought Allen’s story to the big screen through the eyes of Cecil Gaines (Whitaker), who witnesses major historical events of the Civil Rights era from the vantage point of his unassuming position at the White House.
After a long, drawn-out fight with Warner Bros., the film’s name had to be changed to “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” Despite the name change it’s still generally referred to as “The Butler.”
Boasting one of the biggest casts of the year, the film’s star lineup ( in addition to Whitaker and Winfrey) includes Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Robin Williams, Mariah Carey, David Oyelowo and many more.
Despite the political and historical themes in the movie, it primarily gravitates around the family life of working-class African-Americans during the time of heightened racial tension.
At the center of the story is the father-son strife that exists between the non-boat-rocking Gaines and his agitating activist son Louis (Oyelowo), who runs with the Black Panthers and participates in freedom marches.
For her portrayal of Cecil’s wife Gloria, Oprah has been getting good reviews and is even being considered an Oscar contender. It’s her first feature film role in 15 years, and below is sneak peek of her performance, narrated by Daniels.