Oprah's Back in 'The Butler'

Esther Zuckerman
May 8, 2013

The trailer for Lee Daniels' The Butler confirms that Oprah Winfrey is returning to the big screen (in non-cameo, non-voiceover form) for the first time since starring opposite of Danny Glover in 1998's Beloved. The trailer also features some of the strangest casting of U.S. presidents in recent memory. 

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There's a big question mark hanging over The Butler, as is the case with Lee Daniels' films. Sometime he gives us Precious and other times The Paperboy. His latest, following a butler, played by Forest Whitaker, who worked at the White House from the 1950s through the 1980s, has a sprawling timespan, which means we get to see a lot of aging make-up and a bunch of actors playing presidents, including perhaps the weirdest of them all, John Cusack as Richard Nixon: 

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Perhaps instead of holding up two peace signs, he holds up a boom box.

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Despite all the strange casting choices and Daniels' strange oeuvre, the trailer has all the traits of a historical epic, and we're fascinated to see Winfrey back on the screen not playing some version of herself. The trailer gives her a lot to do, including one great slap. 

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