A previous version of this story incorrectly said that Eugene Allen was the first White House butler to attend a state dinner. Allen attended such a dinner in 1986, but former White House butler John Ficklin and his wife attended a state dinner in 1983.
Anne Marie Fox
THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
A White House butler (Forest Whitaker) and his wife (Oprah Winfrey) are witnesses to history in the new film, inspired by Washington Post stories by Wil Haygood.
NEW ORLEANS — It’s after midnight on a side street here in this Southern city. There’s moonlight and klieg lights touching the front porch where Oprah Winfrey and Terrence Howard are sitting. They’re chatting a late night away, dressed coolly inside of a movie scene. Terrence sports a short-sleeve knit shirt like hipster Negro men used to wear in urban neighborhoods in the 1960s. They’re filming “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” a major motion picture adapted from a story I wrote for The Washington Post in 2008. I’m standing across the street — blocked off by police cars — watching with crew members and actors as the scene unfolds.