After his Precious follow-up The Paperboy created a stir at Cannes (our take here), director Lee Daniels is already underway with production on his next drama, which heads back to far more dramatic roots. The Butler features a stellar ensemble, from Oprah Winfrey‘s acting return to Liam Neeson, Alan RickmanJane Fonda, John Cusack, Liev Schreiber, Nicole Kidman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Minka Kelly, Lenny Kravitz, Alex Pettyfer, Robin Williams, and Mariah Carey.  

Coming from the New Orleans shoot, Showblitz has the look at the one character who is central to all, Eugene Allen, the White House servant played primarily by Forest Whitaker as seen above. The film chronicles his life as servant to eight different presidents, spanning 34 years. He was born in 1919 and passed away just a few years ago in March 2010. Whitaker certainly looks to fit the bill, perhaps even shaving off a few pounds for the generation-spanning role. He’ll next be seen in Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s actioner The Last Stand and with Christian Bale in the promising drama Out of the Furnace.

Expect a 2013 release for The Butler.

What do you think of the first look? Are you looking forward to what Daniels comes up with?

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