Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan + Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan: The Butler
Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan, a Hollywood actor and former Republican California governor who played president of the United States in the 1980s; Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan (a.k.a. Nancy Davis), a minor actress and Reagan's wife since the late 1950s; Oprah Winfrey as Oprah Winfrey, more powerful and influential than all the Reagans combined; and Lee Daniels as the director of The Butler.
A couple of days ago, Oprah Winfrey, who plays the character Gloria Gaines in The Butler, tweeted the picture above. Alan Rickman has the Ronald Reagan hair and squint, while Jane Fonda has the Nancy Reagan hair and tacky clothes. But the similarities end there. A bad sign? Well, not really. Michelle Williams didn't exactly look like Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn, but her performance was widely admired all the same.
And we'll eventually find out how Alan Rickman's Ronald Reagan compares to Michael Douglas' Reagan in the announced Reykjavik. It's unclear who will play Nancy Reagan in that movie – or even if there'll be a Nancy accompanying her husband to Iceland.
Alan Rickman, of course, is best known for playing Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies. As for Jane Fonda, she has been a star for over five decades. Along the way, Fonda has picked up two Best Actress Academy Awards: for her sex worker in Alan J. Pakula's Klute (1971) and for her adulterous Vietnam vet's wife in Hal Ashby's Coming Home (1978).
'The Butler': A parade of U.S. presidents
In addition to Alan Rickman's Ronald Reagan, The Butler, which is inspired by the life and times of a real-life White House butler, will offer the following actors playing U.S. presidents of various political persuasions: Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower, James Marsden as John F. Kennedy, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson, and John Cusack as Richard Nixon. Forest Whitaker, an Oscar winner for playing Uganda ruler Idi Amin Dada in The Last King of Scotland, will incarnate The Butler's title character.
The Butler cast
Also in The Butler's cast: Alex Pettyfer, Minka Kelly (as Jacqueline Kennedy), Vanessa Redgrave, Melissa Leo (as Mamie Eisenhower), Jesse Williams, Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey, Cuba Gooding Jr, Terrence Howard, David Oyelowo, and Nelsan Ellis (as Martin Luther King Jr).
Written by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong from Wil Haygood's piece “A Butler Well Served by This Election,” The Butler is expected to come out some time in 2013.
'Brazil' Movie Director's Cut screening at the Academy's Film-to-Film Festival
The original director's cut of Terry Gilliam's controversial Brazil, Mark Sandrich's Oscar-winning short So This Is Harris (Sandrich was the director of several Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals), and Herk Harvey's cult classic Carnival of Souls are a few of the features and shorts to be screened as part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' “Film-to-Film Festival,” which runs Sept. 27-29 at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills and the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. (Image: Terry Gilliam's Brazil movie.)
The information below is from the Academy's press release:
A year ago the Academy Film Archive launched an ambitious effort called “Project Film-to-Film,” aimed at preserving as many films on film as possible over a two-year period. The initiative's main goal is to take advantage of the current, but threatened, availability of film stock to create new prints of a diverse range of motion pictures, encompassing the whole history of the art form.
More than 390 new prints have already been created from the best available film elements, covering significant narrative features and documentaries, as well as experimental, animated and short film titles.
More Film-to-Film Screenings: Navajo & Naked Yoga + Spider Baby
Also screening at the “Film to Film” festival are Norman Foster's Oscar-nominated documentary feature Navajo (a minor leading man in the early '30s, Foster is probably best remembered as Claudette Colbert's first husband and as the co-director – with Orson Welles – of Journey into Fear); Paul Cordsen's Oscar-nominated documentary short Naked Yoga, which at one point was thought lost; and the world premiere of the restoration of Jack Hill's little-known Spider Baby, which sounds like a must: “The eerie story follows three siblings suffering from a rare genetic disorder that causes them to regress to a primal state of being and act out with savage, incestuous and animalistic behavior.”
Tickets for each screening in the “Film-to-Film” Festival are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. For more information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit the Academy's website.
Terry Gilliam's Brazil movie photo: Courtesy of AMPAS.
Film-to-Film Festival Schedule
See below the complete “Film-to-Film” Festival schedule via the Academy's press release. (Above image: John and Faith Hubley's Of Men and Demons.)
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27: Samuel Goldwyn Theater, 7:30 p.m.
BRAZIL (1985), Original Director's Cut (35mm, color, 142 min.) Onstage discussion with Katherine Helmond and Arnon Milchan. Writer-director Terry Gilliam's “Brazil” is set in an alternative reality “somewhere in the 20th century,” where civil servant Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) fights a hopeless battle against a totalitarian state. The film earned Academy Award® nominations for Original Screenplay (Gilliam, Tom Stoppard, Charles McKeown) and Art Direction (Art Direction: Norman Garwood; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray). The stellar supporting cast includes Helmond, Jim Broadbent, Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Charles McKeown and Michael Palin.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28: Linwood Dunn Theater, 7:30 p.m.
ANIMATED AND LIVE ACTION SHORTS PROGRAM This program illustrates the wide range of films preserved by the Film-to-Film initiative, including a rare short made by the Academy itself, intriguing works by noted animators and the big-screen debut of crooner Phil Harris.
OF MEN AND DEMONS, John Hubley and Faith Hubley (1969, 16mm, color, 9 min.) Academy Award nominee: Cartoon Short Subject
SO THIS IS HARRIS, Mark Sandrich (1933, 35mm, black-and-white, 28 min.) Academy Award winner: Comedy Short Subject
THE UNICYCLE RACE, Robert Swarthe (1966, 35mm, color, 7 min.)
RAILWAY WITH A HEART OF GOLD, Carson “Kit” Davidson (1965, 16mm, color, 15 min.)
SCREEN ACTORS, (1950, 35mm, black-and-white, 9 min.)
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28: Linwood Dunn Theater, 9:30 p.m.
EXPERIMENTAL FILM PROGRAM The boundaries of the film medium are stretched, ignored and laughed at in these experimental shorts that manipulate sight, sound, narrative and the relationship between filmmaker and spectator.
EYE MYTH, Stan Brakhage (1967, 35mm, color, silent 24fps, 9 seconds)
NIGHT MULCH & VERY, Stan Brakhage (2001, 35mm, color, silent 24fps, 6 min.)
EXPERIMENTS IN MOTION GRAPHICS, John Whitney (1968, 16mm, color, sound, 11min.)
MADAME MAO'S LOST LOVE LETTERS, Tom Leeser & Diana Wilson (1983, 35mm, color, 3 min.)
BABOBILICONS, Daina Krumins (1982, 35mm, color, 16 min.)
PENCIL BOOKLINGS, Kathy Rose (1978, 35mm, color, 14 min.)
FURIES, Sara Petty (1977, 35mm, color, 3 min.)
SONOMA, Sky-David, formerly known as Dennis Pies (1977, 35mm, color, 7 min.)
BACKGROUND, Carmen D'Avino (1973, 35mm, color, 20 min.) Academy Award nominee: Documentary Short Subject
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29: Linwood Dunn Theater, 2 p.m.
DOC PROGRAM #1 The afternoon's first program illustrates the diverse topics of the documentaries covered by the initiative, with a short about the spiritual aspects of Hatha yoga, and the Maysles brothers' portrait of movie distributor Joseph E. Levine.
NAKED YOGA, Paul Cordsen (1974, 35mm, color, 25 min.) Academy Award nominee: Documentary Short Subject
SHOWMAN, Albert Maysles and David Maysles (1963, 35mm, black-and-white, 52 min.)
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29: Linwood Dunn Theater, 4 p.m.
DOC PROGRAM #2 The afternoon's second documentary program features two titles that use a semi-documentary approach to convey stories of World War II rumor-mongering and the cultural conflict faced by a young Navajo boy.
MR. BLABBERMOUTH!, Basil Wrangell (1942, 35mm, black-and-white, 19 min.) Academy Award nominee: Documentary Short Subject
NAVAJO, Norman Foster (1952, 35mm, black-and-white, 70 min.) Academy Award nominee: Documentary Feature; Black-and-White Cinematography
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29: Linwood Dunn Theater, 7:30 p.m.
SPIDER BABY (1968, 35mm, black-and-white, 81 min.)
World premiere of the Academy Film Archive's new restoration from the original negative, with special guest writer-director Jack Hill. Filmed in 1964 but not released theatrically until 1968, this cult classic marked the solo directorial debut of Hill. The eerie story follows three siblings suffering from a rare genetic disorder that causes them to regress to a primal state of being and act out with savage, incestuous and animalistic behavior.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29: Linwood Dunn Theater, 9:30 p.m.
CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962, 35mm, black-and-white, 78 min.) World premiere of the Academy Film Archive's new restoration from the original negative. Director Herk Harvey's only feature film was made on a tiny budget with a crew largely composed of industrial filmmakers from Lawrence, Kansas. Filled with evocative images, the film tells the story of a young woman who seemingly survives a car crash but is haunted by a ghostly figure that is somehow connected to an abandoned carnival pavilion.
John and Faith Hubley's Of Men and Demons image: Courtesy of AMPAS.