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November 20, 2008 - A Butler Well Served / Project announcement

Scooped on Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sony Pictures has purchased the screen rights to A Butler Well Served by This Election, a recent article published by The Washington Post. The front-page story by Post writer Wil Haygood profiled Eugene Allen, an African-American who worked in the White House as a butler for 34 years. During Allen's tenure he directly served the needs of eight Presidents from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan, becoming a close friend to several of the chiefs of state. Allen retired in 1986. Haygood's article reflected on how civil rights changed over the course of Allen's working career; when he started working for the White House back in 1954, blacks couldn't use the public restrooms in Virginia, Allen's home state. Eugene and his wife Helene were asked for their thoughts concerning Barack Obama, the first black man to run for the highest office in the land, and they expressed their happiness to be able to vote for him and the change he represented.

While Haygood was preparing his article for publication, Helene Allen passed away the day before she could vote for and witness Obama be elected as the President-elect of the United States. Haygood delivered this heartbreaking news in a powerful way near the end of his piece, further adding to the impact of telling Eugene Allen's story.

"It's such a moving story that covers such a sweep of history," commented producer Laura Ziskin to Variety. Sony has placed Ziskin on the project and she will be credited as a producer while Wil Haygood will have an associate producer credit.

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