Director Lee Daniels set his sights sky-high when casting new movie The Butler as he wanted U.S. President Barack Obama in a starring role.

The historical drama tells the story of real life White House butler Eugene Allen, re-named Cecil Gaines in the movie, who served under eight consecutive U.S. Presidents including Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.

The film boasts an impressive cast list including Forest Whitaker as Gaines, Alan Rickman as Reagan and John Cusack as Nixon, and Daniels reveals he wanted to cast Obama as himself.

He tells website, "(I wanted) Obama.... (But) I was too afraid to ask him. (Even if I had) I think that he was in the middle of something called the election. It would have been weird if I had somebody playing Obama. I couldn't have anybody playing Obama but Obama."

The role of Obama eventually went to Orlando Eric Street.