Robin Williams likes Ike. The actor has been cast as Dwight D. Eisenhower in Lee Daniels’ sprawling historical epic “The Butler.” The news was announced via press release from ID-PR on Wednesday evening.
Daniels — best known as the director of “Precious,” but also the man behind the cuckoo bananas-sounding “The Paperboy” (the movie where Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron) — has assembled an all-star cast for “The Butler,” which focuses on Eugene Allen, a White House staffer who served eight presidents during his life. Forest Whitaker stars as Allen, with Oprah Winfrey playing his wife and John Cusack (as Richard Nixon), Jane Fonda (as Nancy Reagan), Alan Rickman (as Ronald Reagan), Vanessa Redgrave and Terrence Howard in the cast as well. James Marsden and Minka Kelly are rumored to play John and Jackie Kennedy, while Melissa Leo is listed on IMDb as Mamie Eisenhower. (IMDb is a notoriously poor source for casting information, however, and the official press release declines to mention those actors.)
Williams has straddled the world of comedy and drama throughout his career (he won an Oscar for “Good Will Hunting,” a role that combined both), and so it goes to reason that in addition to “The Butler” he’s also set to star in the indie comedy “The Angriest Man In Brooklyn.” That film, which will shoot this summer, is about a man (Williams) who gets mistakenly told he has 90 minutes to live and goes on a contrite tour throughout Brooklyn to make amends for past misdeeds. Melissa Leo actually stars in that one, along with Mila Kunis and Peter Dinklage.
Both films should arrive sometime next year.