To call director/writer/producer Lee Daniels eccentric would be a huge understatement. After all, the guy’s made “Precious”, a beautiful, tear-jerking and yet very realistic drama, and then “The Paperboy”, a… thing where Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron.
But even by Daniels standards, “The Butler” is a peculiar project. It stars a heap of A-list actors as American presidents, but the main character is a White House servant played by Forest Whitaker.
And the casting choices… Oh, the casting choices! John Cusack as Richard Nixon?!? Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower?!? James Marsden as JFK?!?!?!?Minka Kelly as Jackie Kennedy?!?!?!?!? Complete and total madness!
But I have to say, the movie’s first trailer doesn’t look bad. It’s still weird to see Cusack mumble the words “gut those sons o’ bitches” in a (sort of) Nixon-like accent and a little painful to check out Marsden attempting to be charismatic and inspiring, but I actually think this will lean more towards “Precious” than “The Paperboy” in terms of cinematic value.
And while you can smell the Oscar-baiting from miles away, we’ve seen movies with far worse topics (and even casts) getting the Academy’s appreciation. Remember “ War Horse”?
In any case, be sure to check out the trailer below to see roughly 200 familiar faces in bizarre wigs, heavy make-up and ridiculous costumes, including Oprah Winfrey in what looks like one of the film’s pivotal roles and Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan’s long-lost twin.