Oprah’s role in The Butler marks her first appearance on the silver screen since 1998’s Beloved. In the new historical drama, Oprah portrays the wife of Cecil Gaines, butler to eight American presidents. The story is based on the real life of Eugene Allen, an African-American man who worked in the White House from 1952 until 1986. Allen’s story was eloquently told by Wil Haygood in a 2007 Washington Post article.
Although the legendary talk show host’s role is notable, it is relatively minor in the grand scheme of the movie, which also stars Forest Whitaker, Lenny Kravitz, John Cusack, Robin Williams, Terrence Howard, Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Cuba Gooding Jr., Mariah Carey and more.
Oprah is known by most as a talk show host, but has proven before that she has real acting chops: She was nominated for an Academy Award for her 1985 role in The Color Purple. That was the same year as The Oprah Winfrey Show debut, which is what Oprah ultimately decided to concentrate on.
She’s since received an honorary Oscar — and we’re glad she’s returning to the movies to demonstrate how well-deserved that award really was. See Oprah in closer action in this clip, where she breaks up a fight between her on-screen husband and son…
No word on whether Oprah’s lining up any more roles. However, she did revealed to BFF Gayle King on CBS that she enjoyed the artistic process…
“I felt pretty good about it, let me just say. Forest is a good kisser, how about that?”
The Butler opens in theaters on August 16.