Around the 2008 elections, news of Eugene Allen‘s life being turned into a film started to surface. Allen, the Presidential Butler for a half a dozen presidents, was having his life turned into a script by Danny Strong, and the script eventually became one of the Black List scripts in 2010. Now, the project has a director in Precious director Lee Daniels and some casting news has surfaced.
First off, Liam Neeson has been cast as Lyndon B. Johnson, and John Cusack will be playing Richard Nixon in the film. Oprah Winfrey has been cast as Allen’s wife. The rest of the cast will most likely be filled out by Hugh Jackman, David Oyelowo, and Mila Kunis, who are all being sought for ‘key’ roles, although the exact characters they would play are still unknown at this point.
Political biopic films are a tricky beast, in the past, films like All the President’s Men have come out smelling roses, entering thousands of “Best Of” lists, while on the other end of the spectrum, movies like The Iron Lady have come off as simple vehicles to show historic events rather than tell fascinating stories.
With that said, Allen was the butler to the president for most of the post-WWII era, being witness to everything from the civil rights movement, five wars, an impeachment, and a president stepping down from office, just to name a few key events in the United States of America’s short history. All the elements for a great event drama are there, we’ll just have to wait and see if they pull it all together.