Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Brad Markel, Getty Images
Here's a shocking casting decision: Longtime liberal activist Jane Fonda is set to play the revered republican Nancy Reagan in the movie "The Butler." The Wrap has confirmed that the 74-year-old has signed on for the part.
According to Variety, the actress and activist would appear in a few scenes as the first lady, and the choice as Fonda doing Reagan could cast a political slant on the film. Some may argue that it's difficult to find a conservative actress in Hollywood, but Jane Fonda's history of progressive political activism sets her apart: Her opposition to the Vietnam War and a controversial visit to the country earned her the nickname "Hanoi Jane" by critics.
Variety is reporting that the Academy Award winner was tapped by director Lee Daniels ("Precious") to channel the first lady for his movie about the White House butler. The historical drama is based on a story written in the Washington Post about a White House servant, Eugene Allen, who served eight presidents in the White House from Harry Truman through Ronald Reagan -— meaning plenty of chances for cameos from A-list actors.
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The stellar cast may also include Forest Whitaker in the title role of butler Allen; Oprah Winfrey as Allen's wife; and Liam Neeson and John Cusack as Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Mila Kunis has been mentioned for the role of Jackie Kennedy.
Going public with the news to drum up interest before all casting is a done deal could be a play for financing and distribution, which is also not finalized, according to Variety.
The idea of the liberal activist portraying the iconic conservative doesn't seem to bother fans on the Web. One commented on the blog Vulture: "This is actually great casting." Another sniped, "With the plastic surgery and the color of her hair, she looks remarkably like Nancy in that picture. Jane has much better legs. Hopefully, she will get to wear the Galanos gowns." Another argued: "I'm a Reagan Republican but I am not concerned in the slightest."
The star next appears the indie flick "Peace, Love and Misunderstanding."