Deadline‘s Mike Fleming reports that Precious director Lee Daniels has signed a deal to do rewrites and direct the Laura Ziskin-produced drama The Butler for Sony Pictures Entertainment. The movie is based on articles written by Wil Haygood on Eugene Allen, a servant in the White House for 34 years and through eight Presidents all of whom fought with the nation’s growing problems with segregation. Long-retired, Allen was invited to attend the inauguration of Barack Obama, the country’s first African-American President.
Ever since Oscar season, Daniels has been developing and working on financing for another Civil Rights-related drama called Selma about the famous march that led to Civil Rights reform in the country, which also may be close to happening with The Weinstein Company possibly committing $8 million to the project for its domestic distribution with another $10 million coming from other investors including Pathe. Even so, Daniels will begin rewrites on The Butler immediately with hopes of starting to film by year’s end with Denzel Washington having already been approached to play the lead, although it will depend on whether Selma gets all of its financing deals done before The Butler is ready to go.
You can read more of this story over on Deadline.