The Butler

Now that Warner Bros. and the Weinstein Company have come to a peaceful understanding over the title of Lee Daniels’ The Butler (which is now titled Lee Daniels’ The Butler, for true ease) let the marketing games begin for the Oscar bait.

Entertainment Weekly has eight new stills from the presidential drama, which follows the story of one African-American butler, Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), who served in the White House through decades of administration changes to see firsthand how the country itself changed. The film has an all-star roster playing the presidents and their first ladies, and the stills show a few of those actors doing their best party impressions. Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan is pretty uncanny. And the beautiful irony of Jane Fonda playing Nancy Reagan will hopefully not be lost on any audiences. Her ’80s party dress is spectacular; I’m expecting taffeta and jewels for days.

Another shot shows Minka Kelly and James Marsden as Jackie and John F. Kennedy greeting a line of butlers inside the White House. Kelly is a vision of perfection as Mrs. Kennedy, complete with a pillbox hat and ’60s hair-flip. Another intriguing image is one from Gaines youth growing up on a plantation that shows his parents, played by David Banner and Mariah Carey. Carey’s involvement in the film hasn’t been played up in the film at all (as opposed to Oprah’s, who isn’t featured in any of these stills), but her small but powerful performance in Precious makes me excited to see what she’ll do with this role.

Check out the rest of the stills over at Entertainment Weekly.

The Butler is in theaters August 16th.


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