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Warner Bros. and the Weinstein Company have come to a peace accord over Lee Daniel’s The Butler, so the latter is beginning what’s sure to be a long-game marketing campaign aimed squarely at the Academy Awards. EW unveils a string of new images from the film that spans decades and presidential administrations, telling the true story of one African-American butler who saw how our country changed from his seat of service within the White House. You can see a selection of these newly released stills above and below.
Up top is English actor Alan Rickman as 40th President Ronald Reagan with outspoken political activist/American leading lady Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan. Below, you can check out the film’s lead Forest Whitaker as the titular butler Cecil Gaines as he greets the newly appointed the 35th President of the United States played here by James Marsden. Just behind him is Minka Kelly as First Lady and fashion icon Jackie Kennedy.
Sharing the role of Gaines with the Oscar-winning Whitaker is English performer Aml Ameen, who plays the man when he was younger, and protégé to an old hand at the vocation of butler, played here by Clarence Williams III.
While the trailer has teased scenes of Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower and John Cusack as Richard Nixon (these are among the EW pics too), the shot below shows a barely recognizable Live Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson, who by early reports gets an unfavorable portrayal here that includes him using the n-word.
Lastly, a surprising shot of Mariah Carey and David Banner. The pair play Gaines’ mother and father, who worked with him on a cotton plantation in Virginia before he broke out to become a butler. While her involvement in the film hasn’t been as widely promoted as that of Oprah Winfrey—who plays wife to Whitaker—Carey memorably won critical praise with a small but crucial role in Lee’s breakthrough drama Precious back in 2009. It’ll be interesting to see what she does with what’s sure to be a small but likely juicy role in The Butler.
Lee Daniel’s The Butler opens August 16th.