Lee Daniels' The Butler gathered high profile crowds at Ziegfield Theater this week.
Lee Daniels has earned his reputation as the director of difficult, socially loaded pictures and his latest, The Butler, is no exception to the rule. The film, based on a true story, details the life of Eugene Allen, a butler, who worked in cotton fields, before being employed by the White House for 34 years and serving during several presidential administration. In the script, Allen has been renamed to Cecil Gaines and the number of presidents, as well as some other details, has been changed, but the film still maintains historical accuracy. The film offers an intimate perspective of the dramatic twists of African-American history in the 20th century.
Danny Strong, The Butler’s screenwriter spoke to the Wall Street Journal about the challenges of adapting the story, saying: "I think the film turned out great. I'm really proud of it."
Forest Whittaker stars as Cecil Gaines.
"Putting the script together was the biggest challenge I've ever had as a writer," he continued, recalling the challenge of adapting Wil Haygood's Washington Post WPO -1.00% piece, "A Butler Well Served by This Election," published in November 2008, into a 132-minute movie. "It was daunting. When I first read the article, I thought, I have no idea how to do this. But I know I have to, because I think there's a really beautiful movie here. And I just kept working at it and working at it and working at it until I figured out what the story was."
Oprah Winfrey is Cecil's wife, Gloria.
The hard work put into the film seems to have been worth it, however, as early reviews are heaping praise on the film. Meanwhile, The Butler stars, from Forest Whittaker and Oprah Winfrey, who play the protagonist Cecil Gaines and his strong-willed wife Gloria in the film, to Mariah Carey and David Oyelowo, all turned out to attend the premiere at Manhattan’s Ziegfield Theatre this past Monday.
Even Mariah Carey makes an appearance.