- Published on Monday, August 06 2012
- Written by Kayla Fasold
It was recently announced that Nelsan Ellis would portray Martin Luther King, Jr. in Lee Daniels’s upcoming biopic, The Butler. The film follows the life of a White House butler (played by Forest Whitaker), who served eight American Presidents over the course of three decades and will also star Robin Williams, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber, and a host of other high-profile actors and actresses.
This is quite a serious and important role for the "True Blood" star. Every Sunday, Ellis portrays Lafayette Reynolds, the flamboyant fry cook at Merlotte’s Bar and Grill, on the HBO vampire show. "True Blood" is campy and fun, and even though it can get quite serious, it is mostly just a good time.
The character of Lafayette couldn’t be more different from the role of MLK. Lee Daniels, who is known for such films as Precious and the upcoming The Paperboy, deals with topics that are quite serious and upsetting on some level. He is the director that likes to push buttons and demands the attention of the audience.
Now, if you are thinking that Ellis is not capable of portraying such a serious role, you would be wrong. Last year, Ellis had a small role in the film The Help, where he played a waiter who was constantly confronted with violence and racism. Ellis knows when to play serious and he knows when to lighten up the mood. I believe that Daniels and Ellis will play up each other’s strengths well and that Ellis (with the help of Daniels) will portray the American icon in a perfectly authentic fashion.
If Lafayette were to comment on Ellis’s new role, he would simply say, “Congrats, hooker,” and then walk away.
- Kayla Fasold, YH Staff
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