Just say yes to this bit of casting news: Two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda has signed on to play former first lady Nancy Reagan in the drama “The Butler,” from “Precious” director Lee Daniels.
Nancy, of course, was the wife of two-termer Ronald Reagan, and dominated 1980s drug war discourse with her famous “just say no” campaign.
According to Variety, Fonda would be one of many stars playing presidents or their wives in the film, which is based on a Washington Post story by Wil Haygood that centers on Eugene Allen, who served as the White House butler for no less than eight presidents between 1952 to 1986.
Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland”) is close to closing a deal to play the title role, with David Oyelowo negotiating to play his son, and Oprah Winfrey in talks to play the role of Allen’s wife.
On the presidential side, Liam Neeson is in reportedly in talks to tackle Lyndon B. Johnson, while John Cusack is circling the role of the oft-portrayed Richard Nixon. Meanwhile, Mila Kunis and Hugh Jackman were reported to be in talks to play Jackie Kennedy and John F. Kennedy.
Fonda, whose last film was 2007’s “Georgia Rule,” abstained from starring in films for most of the ’90s and ’00s, and seems to be making up for lost time. She has two films in the can (the upcoming “Love, Peace and Misunderstanding” and the in-limbo “…And If We All Lived Together”), and will appear on Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO series “Newsroom.”
In the 1970s and ’80s, she starred in films such as “Julia,” “On Golden Pond” and “Agnes of God,” and picked up best actress statuettes for her work in 1971’s “Klute” and 1978’s “Coming Home.”