By Jenna Milly for Screenwriter U:
For nearly three and a half decades the White House had a man under its roof who saw almost as much as an of its presidents. His name was Eugene Allen and he was head butler. When Washington Post reporter Wil Haygood wrote an article about the extraordinary life of this White House employee who served under eight presidents, Hollywood jumped at the chance to make it into a movie.
But they needed a screenwriter. So, they turned to actor and screenwriter Danny Strong, who is best known for playing Jonathan Levinson in Buffy the Vampire Slayer but you also may have seen him in reoccurring roles in Mad Men and Gilmore Girls. What did this veteran actor say when asked to translate this real life story into a feature film? “I was pretty overwhelmed by the concept,” Strong said.
But that didn’t stop him. “It’s difficult to put a movie together over so many years, but the ability to be in a room in the White House over a 30 year historical period seems unreal.” Strong developed the character of Cecil Gaines – played by Forest Whitaker -- a poor sharecropper who goes north to find work in the hotel industry.
To read more and to listen to the interview, please click here.