Laura Ziskin Productions and Lee Daniels Entertainment made the announcement today. IM Global sold out the project at Cannes.

The story is based on the experiences of White House butler Cecil Gaines who served eights US Presidents and witnessed tumultuous change in the country over three decades.

Lee Daniels directs from the screenplay he co-wrote with Danny Strong. Forest Whitaker stars alongside Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Liev Schreiber, Vanessa Redgrave, Robin Williams, Melissa Leo, Vanessa Redgrave and Terrence Howard, among others.

Pamela Oas Williams produces alongside Daniels and Cassian Elwes, while the late Laura Ziskin also gets a credit. Hilary Shor and Adam Merims are the executive producers. Icon UK Group is financing the film with Len Blavatnik, who is also on the executive producer roll with Aviv Giladi and Vince Holden.

CAA packaged The Butler and handles North American sales with Elwes.

  • Shooting has begun on Someone Marry Barry starring Tyler Labine, Damon Wayans Jr and Lucy Punch. Rob Pearlstein is directing the raucous comedy from his screenplay about three friends who plan to find a wife for their socially inept pal. Josephson Entertainment’s Barry Josephson produces with Marisa Polvino and Kate Cohen of Straight Up Films. Josephson vp Alexander Young, Madrose Productions’ Jeremy Bailer and Marc H Simon of Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard are the executive producers.