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Robin Williams Is Eisenhower In ‘The Butler’ and ‘The Angriest Man in Brooklyn’

Written by on July 18, 2012 

It feels like an inordinately long time since Robin Williams did any acting work — not that I see much of his recent work, actually — so it’s just about right that he’d be taking two prominent roles in the span of a single story. (That was a relative use of the word “right,” by the way.) Variety has pegged the actor to play Dwight D. Eisenhower in Lee DanielsThe Butler, and also say he’ll go back to comedic territory on The Angriest Man in Brooklyn.

The next drama from the Paperboy and Precious helmer stars Forest Whitaker as Eugene Allen, a black butler who was given inside access to societal shifts whilst serving eight U.S. Presidents in his career (from Truman to Reagan); for the occasion, Daniels has collected a wide range of talent that help tell this unusual story. And “unusual” is the kind of word one could use to describe the choice of Williams, who shares no natural resemblance with the man, and, most importantly, is not terribly high on my obsessive list, “Actors who resemble Dwight D. Eisenhower.” If he’s got what it takes, though, looks need not be a concern.

Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, David Oyelowo, Alan Rickman, John Cusack, Nicole Kidman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Minka Kelly, Lenny Kravitz, and Alex Pettyfer also star in The Butler; filming should commence soon, with a 2013 release being eyed.

Then there’s that comedic project, with Williams being confirmed to headline The Angriest Man in Brooklyn. The picture sees him play a man, who, upon being told by his doctor (Mila Kunis) that only 90 minutes remain in his existence, travels across the borough to “right all the wrongs in his life.” Peter Dinklage, James Earl Jones, and Melissa Leo also star.

Seeing as the main cast had started to circle back in May — Williams deemed the script “fun and honest,” as well as “nasty and funny” — I’d take this as a confirmation above all else. Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams, The Sum of All Fears) will direct, with a script coming from Daniel Taplitz; Landscape Entertainment are producing for a September start.

Do these two films represent an interesting move for Williams?

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