Thanks to “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” and the Oscar buzz for “12 Years a Slave,” everybody in Hollywood wants to dig through America’s uncomfortable history of race relations. Deadline reports that ABC is developing A Slave in the White House based on the true story of Paul Jennings, a slave in the James Madison White House.
He lived there starting at age 10 and purchased his freedom at the age of 46. Author Elizabeth Dowling Taylor chronicled his life’s experiences, which included becoming a surrogate son to Madison.
Jennings also wrote “A Colored Man’s Reminisces of James Madison.” Sheldon Candis and Justin Wilson will bring the tale to ABC’s airwaves, writing and executive producing. Their first film, “LUV” premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and earned a Humanitas Prize nomination. That designation honors works that affirm human dignity and honor freedom.
Not everyone is happy about the interest in these projects. Actor Harry Lennix said he couldn’t finish the script for “The Butler,” calling it historical porn.