Minka Kelly To Play Jackie Kennedy In Lee Daniels's The Butler
The last time a young, brunette starlet was picked to play Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy, it was Katie Holmes, handed a job she wasn't especially well-suited for in the troubled TV miniseries The Kennedys. Lee Daniels's upcoming film The Butler has pretty much nothing in common with that project, except that as a chronicle of Eugene Allen's 50-year service as a butler in the White House, the Kennedys are going to stop by-- and he's, yes, casting another young brunette to play Jackie O.
This time the job may go to Friday Night Lights star Minka Kelly, whom Lee Daniels told Screen Daily he's chosen to play the First Lady. She'd be joining a massive, mighty impressive cast that's already on board, including a few Lee Daniels veterans-- Oprah, who co-produced Daniels's Precious, is playing the wife of the titular butler; Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack and Nicole Kidman will be reuniting with Daniels after The Paperboy; and Lenny Kravitz, who made a strong impression as the nurse in Precious, is on board as well. The cast is rounded out by Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., David Oyelowo, Terrence Howard and of course Forest Whitaker, who is playing the title role.
The whole film, you may remember, is based on a stellar Washington Post article about Allen, written on the eve of Barack Obama's election as President and focusing on Allen's experience working at the White House while America sorted out its own very complicated laws and attitudes toward African-Americans. Allen worked for eight different Presidents, and in a classic tragic twist, his wife of 65 years died the day before he cast his vote for President Obama. It's the kind of stunning historical story you can't help but want to see as a movie, and as Daniels lines up a huge cast to bring it to life, he's looking capable of doing it justice.
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