Reporting Pamela Jones
CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s not every day Oprah Winfrey returns to the big screen. Tuesday night, the stars were out in Chicago for the debut of Oprah’s big new movie, “The Butler.”
Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker hit the red carpet in Chicago tonight highlighting a film role unlike any other in Lee Daniels’ “The Butler”.
Whitaker plays a man who worked his way from a cotton field to the White House, serving as butler in seven presidential administrations, a man who watches the explosive civil rights movement firsthand.
“I think a young audience needs to see needs to relive some of this pain, some of this struggle, yes? I think for a lot of the young audience, they don’t really know their history. I think a lot of the history of African Americans and a lot of minority cultures is not really in the history books in school. We see pieces of it, but not in the depth that we need to. I think this personalizes it in a way for you to see it,” said Whitaker.
It’s a story based on the life of Eugene Allen, and his wife played by Oprah Winfrey. It is a movie Whitaker hopes would have made Allen proud.
“To get a chance to have the historical references, really helps you. To be able to meet the people that knew him really helps you. I got a chance to talk to his son,” said Whitaker.
The film chronicles American politics and race relations.
“I think it’s time we yanked the scab off and we look at it and we have a hard look at it,” said Lee Daniels, the director of the film.
“I think it’s a perfect time to stress the importance of family, especially in the Black community. And this film does that,” said Finley.
This movie packs a star-studded list of actors from Lenny Kravitz to John Cusack. The director says making the film was like a big party and he didn’t feel any weight of responsibility that a true history lesson might carry.