It’s official: Oprah’s heading back to the silver screen. Director Lee Daniels confirms that Oprah will be playing a big role in his film The Butler, which starts shooting in New Orleans in July. “It’s a true story of a man (Eugene Allen) who served several decades in the White House,” says Lee Daniels. “Forest Whitaker plays the butler who serves many presidents and Oprah plays his wife.” Oprah, he adds, “was looking for something and we’re friendly and we were just trying to figure out the right thing.” It will be the first time Oprah takes on an acting role since 1998’s Beloved, which she produced and starred in.
How does one prepare to direct Oprah? “I don’t know. Quietly,” laughs the director, who is currently finishing up murder mystery The Paperboy with Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron, due this November. Jane Fonda will play Nancy Reagan in The Butler. Lee says he wrote the role of the wife specifically for Oprah, who produced his Oscar-winning Precious. But, “she’s not producing this, she’s an actor on this one,” he says