Danny Strong set for 'Butler' duty

To pen script based on Washington Post article

Danny Strong has been tapped to serve as the writer for "The Butler," Columbia's story of Eugene Allen, a black man who served as a White House butler for 34 years.

Laura Ziskin is producing the pic, which is based on Wil Haygood's Washington Post "A Butler Well Served by This Election."

Allen started at the White House as a "pantry man" in 1952 when blacks weren't allowed to use public restrooms in his native Virginia. He ended up serving eight presidents and had a unique front row seat as political and racial history was being made, from the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement to the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. , President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy Jr.

The story was published Nov. 7, just days before the historic election of Barack Obama. Allen and his wife of 65 years talked and marveled at the idea that a black man could be president. But on Election Day, Allen cast his vote alone; his wife died the day before.

Haygood will act as an associate producer on the film. Matt Tolmach and Rachel O'Connor are overseeing for the studio.

Strong was an actor who's best known for a recurring role on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" before writing "Recount," HBO's look at the 2000 presidential election. The telepic earned him a WGA Award as well as an Emmy nomination. The movie went on to garner 11 Emmy nominations (with three wins), as well as SAG, PGA and DGA nominations.

He is currently writing "The Crusaders" for Universal. Gary Ross is attached to direct and produce, while Tobey Maguire is attached to star in the story about the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case.
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