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True Blood’s Nelsan Ellis to play MLK in Lee Daniels film, The Butler

True Blood’s Nelsan Ellis is the latest actor to join Lee Daniels’ film, The Butler. He will be playing the role of Martin Luther King Jr.

Based on a screenplay penned by Daniels and Danny Strong, the film is inspired by the true story of an African-American man who served as a butler in the White House for over thirty years. From this unique vantage point, THE BUTLER traces the dramatic changes that swept American society, from the civil rights movement to Vietnam and beyond, and how those changes affected this man’s life and family.

Forest Whitaker will play the lead, Cecil Gaines, with Oprah Winfrey playing his wife, Gloria, and David Oyelowo as his son Louis. The cast also includes John Cusack as President Richard M. Nixon, Alan Rickman as President Ronald Reagan, and Jane Fonda as First Lady Nancy Reagan, as well as Cuba Gooding, Jr., Lenny Kravitz, and Terrence Howard.

Other additions to this all-star cast, including Robin Williams as President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Melissa Leo as First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, James Marsden as President John F. Kennedy, Minka Kelly as First Lady Jackie Kennedy, and Liev Schreiber as President Lyndon B. Johnson, as well as Mariah Carey, Vanessa Redgrave, Alex Pettyfer, Yaya DaCosta, Pernell Whitaker, Colman Domingo, Elijah Kelley, and Jesse Williams. Music for the film will be composed by the legendary Quincy Jones.

Known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds in the HBO series True Blood, Ellis last appeared as Henry the Waiter in the 2011 Oscar-nominated film, The Help.

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