- (Photo: Screen Grab via YouTube/TWC)
President Obama joined the thousands of people across America who watched "Lee Daniels' The Butler." He praised the film's cast and the history of the story that the film told.
"I'm glad they did the film. And I will tell you that the butlers who are now here in the White House, when we first arrived, when Michelle and the girls first arrived, they could not have been kinder to us and warmer to us. And part of it, I suspect, is they look at Malia and Sasha and they say well, this looks like my grandbaby, or this looks like my daughter," Obama told Tom Joyner and Sybil Wilkes.
"And I think for them to have a sense that we've come that far was a powerful moment for them, and certainly a powerful moment for us," Obama added. "We love them to death. They look after us just wonderfully."
"The Butler" tells the story of a plantation worker who gets a job as a butler in the White House in 1957. It depicts the struggle between his life inside and outside the White House as he continues to rise in stature and serves seven presidents. The film featured an all-star cast including Forest Whitaker as the lead character, Cecil Gaines, who was loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen.
"All of the acting was terrific, and I thought Forest Whitaker was wonderful. And Oprah, my girl, she can act," Obama said. "She's just a wonderful actress."
Winfrey, Whitaker, and Jamie Foxx will join Obama and former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter today at the Lincoln Memorial to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. They will represent a unified front as they attend the anniversary and address the nation.
Obama noted that he "teared up just thinking about not just the butlers who have worked here in the White House but an entire generation of people who were talented and skilled, but because of Jim Crow, because of discrimination, there was only so far they could go. And yet, with dignity and tenacity, they got up and worked every single day, and put up with a whole lot of mess because they hoped for something better for their kids."