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‘The Butler’ Finds Its MLK; New Members for ‘The Heat’ and ‘The Hive’

Written by on July 30, 2012 

Years back, Lee Daniels had some pretty clear ambitions to follow Precious with Selma, a biopic of Martin Luther King Jr. So clear were these ambitions, actually, that he even cast David Oyelowo (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) as the noted Civil Rights leader; Hugh Jackman, Robert De Niro, and Liam Neeson also circled it at various points, but the proper funds simply couldn’t come together, and it ceased to be. After The Paperboy occupied his time — and offended many good sensibilitiesDaniels arrived at The Butler.

Things are, in some ways, coming full circle for him, with Deadline reporting that his White House drama will have Nelsan Ellis (True Blood, Secretariat) play King. (I bet the only reason Oyelowo wasn’t cast is on account of him taking another part in the film.) How much his material from Selma proves to impact The Butler is not something we can determine, though I’d guess it’s not a good deal; an addition made as shooting began makes me think the part’s nothing more than a cameo. If that prevents Daniels from hitting Forrest Gump-like historical bumps in the road, we’re better off for it.

The Butler stars Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Alan Rickman, John Cusack, Liev Schreiber, Nicole Kidman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Minka Kelly, Lenny Kravitz, Alex Pettyfer, Robin Williams, and Mariah Carey, with a score provided by Quincy Jones.

Update: Deadline have also learned that Oscar nominee Demián Bichir will play an FBI Agent in The Heat. Read the original story below.

Variety have a pair of casting stories for our consumption, either of which pertain to The Hive and Paul Feig‘s The Heat. First, it’s said that Jamie Denbo (Get a Job, Terriers) and Jessica Chaffin are being put into Feig‘s new comedy; their roles are unspecified, though the core of the film centers on an FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) and regular cop (Melissa McCarthy), both of whom must track down and arrest a Russian mobster. Bill Burr and Tony Hale will co-star.

The Heat will open on April 5th, 2013.

Afterward, we’ve heard Michael Eklund (The Divide) will be joining Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin in the Brad Anderson-helmed thriller, wherein the former actress plays a 911 operator forced to confront fears in order to save a girl, played by the latter. Eklund will appear as (spoilers?) the man behind the crimes.

Is it interesting to see Daniels continue his MLK quest with The Butler? Are The Heat and The Hive assembling well?

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