It was announced yesterday that Robin Williams has been cast as President Dwight D. Eisenhower in “The Butler.” Lee Daniels is directing the true story of Eugene Allen, who served 34 years on the White House household staff. Forest Whitaker plays Allen, with Oprah Winfrey as his wife Gloria. The film is based on Wil Haygood’s Washington Post article, “A Butler Well-Served By This Election.” Haygood will be a producer and advisor for the film.
This movie has a lot of fun casting, thanks to all the historical figures that pass through Allen’s life during his tenure at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. So far it looks like we have Melissa Leo as Mamie Eisenhower, James Marsden and Minka Kelly as John and Jackie Kennedy, John Cusack as Richard Nixon, and Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda as Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Liam Neeson has been rumored for Lyndon Johnson. The cast also includes Cuba Gooding Jr, David Oyelowo, Lenny Kravitz, Terrence Howard, and Alex Pettyfer.
I’ll be honest, I can’t picture Robin Williams as Eisenhower. Not just physically, but in his presence and style and voice. I have to think that Daniels sees something that makes him say, “Hey, Robin Williams…Ike. Sure!” Williams is also booked for “Look of Love” and “The Angriest Man in Brooklyn.”