Hollywood just can’t seem to get enough off the house help experiences these days. “Precious” director Lee Daniels has been busy casting the roles for his upcoming project tentatively titled “The Butler,” chronicling the life of Eugene Allen, a butler who worked for eight presidencies at the White House from 1952 to 1986. Recently, Daniels has reportedly offered Oprah Winfrey the role of Allen’s wife, which would be Winfrey’s first live-action film debut since 1998’s “Beloved.” The Oscar nominated actress and media mogul would ideally star alongside “Red Tail’s” breakout British star David Oyelowo, Daniels’ top pick for the leading role of Eugene Allen.
Allen’s story was first featured in a 2008 Washington Post article, only a few days after President Obama‘s election win, a feat that simply astounded Daniels. The article focused on Allen’s experience as a butler at the White House, a profession that provided him with a unique close look at the various landmark racial and political changes occurring at the time. Actors John Cusack, Hugh Jackman, and Mila Kunis have also been eyed for major parts as various political White House figures.
Should Hollywood filmmakers continue to feature the lives of Black Americans in subservient roles? Or should they give these stories a rest and instead begin to invest in other types of Black experiences?