By Borys Kit
April 30, 2009
“Recount” scribe Danny Strong has been tapped to write “The Butler,” Columbia’s story of Eugene Allen, a black man who served as a White House butler for 34 years.
Laura Ziskin is producing the pic, which is based on Wil Haygood’s Washington Post story “A Butler Well Served by This Election.”
Allen started at the White House as a “pantry man” in 1952, when blacks weren’t allowed to use public restrooms in his native Virginia. He ended up serving eight presidents and had a unique front-row seat as political and racial history was made, from the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement to the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.
The story was published Nov. 7, just after the election of President Obama. Allen and his wife of 65 years marveled that a black man could be president. But on Election Day, Allen cast his vote alone; his wife had died the day before.
Haygood will be an associate producer. Matt Tolmach and Rachel O’Connor are overseeing for the studio.
Strong is writing “The Crusaders” for Universal.