- Published on Monday, August 27 2012
- Written by Katie Marzullo
Presidents are so hot right now! Movie presidents, that is. (Well, real-life presidents too, but this is not the place to talk about THAT…)
In addition to the highly-anticipated Oscar bait known as Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, another upcoming film (which we’ve featured before), The Butler, will include not one but EIGHT different U.S. presidents!
But, first things first. Earlier this month, the first pic of Daniel Day-Lewis in full Lincoln regalia was released (see above), and were it not for the obvious lack of sepia and worn corners, we could have easily mistaken it for the real deal. Then, last week, we got to see the poster art for the first time, and thanks to the black-and-white – Lincoln’s native photo tones – we’re having an even harder time distinguishing between fantasy and reality. But that’s just DDL for ya… Why bother having a Best Actor category at next year’s Academy Awards? We don’t even need to see the movie. Just send him the statue now…
As for The Butler, the task of bringing 8 real-life presidents to life falls to a group of A-list actors who, quite frankly, might not immediately occur to you as being as suited to the task as Mr. Day-Lewis. Not that these aren’t fine, extremely talented actors, but… Look, John Cusack as Richard Nixon? That’s all I’m saying. James Marsden as JFK? Liev Schreiber as Lyndon Johnson? Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan? These are some very, um, creative choices, to be sure. But I like to be surprised. Also joining this cast of luminaries is Robin Williams as ‘50s prez Dwight Eisenhower. Now, Williams is no stranger to bringing our Commander in Chief back to life, as evidenced by his role as Teddy Roosevelt in Night at the Museum. True, it was only a wax representation of Teddy, but even still, the likeness was pretty remarkable, and one could easily picture it before even seeing him on screen. But with Eisenhower? Not so much. However, a picture from the set of The Butler has emerged showing Williams made up to look like Ike, bald head and all, and disregarding the black T-shirt, you can sort of make out a resemblance… tilting your head and squinting helps.
While it may be true that an actor’s job is to merely reflect the persona of a real-life figure and not completely replicate it, is it not also the job of filmmakers to immerse you into another time and place, to make the fantasy seem like reality? If I’m seeing a movie about 8 U.S. presidents, I want to feel like I am actually SEEING those guys brought back to life. That may not be on director Lee Daniels’s agenda, but it certainly seems to be on Spielberg’s. We shall see for whom it pays off more...
- Katie Marzullo, YH Staff Editor
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