In my time I have been lucky enough to have private talks with famous and powerful people. Sometimes these people will tell me things off the record – personal things, business things, etc. And on more than one occasion I have sat sort of stunned when they told me these secrets right in front of a waiter or a valet parking attendant or a hotel maid. It’s like these people don’t even register. Imagine the kinds of shit to which folks in the service industry are privy. They may know the secrets of the world.
Which is why the life of Eugene Allen could be so interesting. He was the White House butler for 34 years, working for the presidents from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. Imagine the history that happened around him. And just to add a little spice, he’s a black guy who began working in the White House at a time when blacks couldn’t use the same water fountains as whites.
Allen’s life story was told in a Washington Post article just days after Obama was elected president. There’s a bittersweet capper – Allen voted for Obama all by himself because his wife, who had been marveling at a black man living in the White House and not just serving in it – died the day before the election.
Laura Ziskin is producing. And so we have the first movie of the Obama era.