The trailer for Lee Daniels' The Butler confirms that Oprah Winfrey is returning to the big screen (in non-cameo, non-voiceover form) for the first time since starring opposite of Danny Glover in 1998's Beloved. The trailer also features some of the strangest casting of U.S. presidents in recent memory.
There's a big question mark hanging over The Butler, as is the case with Lee Daniels' films. Sometime he gives us Precious and other times The Paperboy. His latest, following a butler, played by Forest Whitaker, who worked at the White House from the 1950s through the 1980s, has a sprawling timespan, which means we get to see a lot of aging make-up and a bunch of actors playing presidents, including perhaps the weirdest of them all, John Cusack as Richard Nixon:
Perhaps instead of holding up two peace signs, he holds up a boom box.
Despite all the strange casting choices and Daniels' strange oeuvre, the trailer has all the traits of a historical epic, and we're fascinated to see Winfrey back on the screen not playing some version of herself. The trailer gives her a lot to do, including one great slap.