Oprah Winfrey might be headed back to the big screen for the first time since 1998’s Beloved thanks to Precious director Lee Daniels. A rep for the filmmaker confirms that Winfrey is in talks for a role in The Butler, a period piece to be directed by Daniels based on Wil Haygood’s 2008 Washington Post story “A Butler Well Served by This Election.” (The Hollywood Reporter broke the news late yesterday.)
Haygood’s article tells the story of Eugene Allen, a butler who worked at the White House under eight different presidents from 1952 to 1986. Winfrey (who championed Precious on her talk show) would play Allen’s wife. And Daniels’ has a starry wishlist of co-stars in talks to play the cast’s historical figures: EW confirms that John Cusack is considering playing Richard Nixon and Liam Neeson is in talks for the role of Lyndon B. Johnson. (Mila Kunis and Hugh Jackman were also mentioned in THR‘s story, but reps for the actors say their clients will not be involved in the project.) For the lead role, Daniels is reportedly interested in David Oyelowo (Red Tails).