Jane Fonda to Play Nancy Reagan in White House 'Butler' Movie
Fonda will appear as Nancy in a "handful of scenes," and leftist actor John Cusack may play Richard Nixon. Is this a real project? Apparently so. It's a film called "The Butler," based on a 2008 Washington Post report by Wil Haygood on Eugene Allen, the White House butler whose career started with Harry Truman in 1952 and ended in 1986 with Ronald Reagan. The article was titled "A Butler Well Served by This Election," and poignantly noted that Allen's wife died a day before Obama was elected.
Forest Whitaker is closing a deal to play Allen, while Oprah Winfrey remains in talks to play his wife. David Oyelowo is in negotiations to play Allen's son, while Liam Neeson and John Cusack are circling presidential supporting roles as Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon, respectively. Fonda will appear in a handful of scenes as the first lady of the United States.
Daniels, who is directing from a script he co-wrote with Danny Strong, is in the process of finalizing financing for the pic, which has no distributor onboard yet.
Danny Strong, if the name doesn't ring a bell, just finished with the HBO "Game Change" movie mocking Sarah Palin.
Perhaps Fonda will be perfect at mangling history on film, since she's certainly done that in real life. Brent Bozell's noted she recently compared Occupy Wall Street to a gaggle of "Paul Reveres," and she claimed to Chris Matthews in 2005 that she didn't take sides in the Vietnam War.
Something tells me this scene from Haygood's article might not make the script:
First lady Nancy Reagan came looking for him in the kitchen one day. She wanted to remind him about the upcoming dinner for West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. He told her he was well ahead in the planning and had already picked out the china. But she told him he would not be working that night.
"She said, 'You and Helene are coming to the state dinner as guests of President Reagan and myself.' I'm telling you! I believe I'm the only butler to get invited to a state dinner."
And: "Gene Allen was promoted to maitre d' in 1980. He left the White House in 1986, after 34 years. President Reagan wrote him a sweet note. Nancy Reagan hugged him, tight."