Ideologies Will Clash: Jane Fonda To Play Nancy Reagan In Lee Daniels' 'The Butler'

Briefly: For anyone who doubted, Lee Daniels just proved that he has a sense of humor, perhaps even an impish sense of provocation. The director of Precious and the upcoming film The Paperboy is assembling The Butler, about Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served presidents from Harry Truman in 1952 to Ronald Reagan in 1986.Forest Whitaker is almost set to play Allen, and there is a large cast assembling to support him: Oprah Winfrey as his wife, David Oyelowo as his son, and Liam Neeson and John Cusack as Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon.

And now Daniels has cast Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan.

That's the same Jane Fonda vilified for years by the right as Hanoi Jane, thanks to her activism against the Vietnam War, her 1972 visit to Hanoi, and in particular her one-two punch of negative statements about US POWs, and a photo in which she is pictured seated atop a North Vietnamese Army anti-aircraft gun. Now she's set to play the wife of perhaps the most popular conservative touchstone in US history.

Nancy Reagan isn't quite the conservative figure that her husband was — she dealt with a couple minor controversies over the years — but the simple news that she'll be played by Fonda is likely to be more than enough to raise ire on the conservative side. [Variety]