The new trailer for Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” shows an up-from-his-bootstraps man moving, Zelig-like, through U.S. presidential history, demonstrating how “one man overcame his past.”
But for at least one of the actors working on it, the fact-based film offered something else: a history lesson.
Liev Schreiber, who can be spotted in the trailer (in surprising old-man makeup) as Lyndon B. Johnson, said he found himself thus enlightened.
“Before I did this movie I wasn’t really aware of the extent to which LBJ had moved forward the Civil Rights movement on Kennedy’s behalf,” the actor told The Times. “He was a white male from Texas and perhaps wasn’t the obvious choice for this kind of change, but working with Mexican immigrants [when he was younger] became a powerful part of his life and continued to influence him as president.”
“I don’t know if as many people credit him with these advances as they should,” Schreiber added.
Starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey and set for an October release from the Weinstein Co., “The Butler” offers a snapshot of several eras dating from the Eisenhower administration through Reagan’s 1980s.