"Lee Daniels' The Butler" spans nearly 35 years of American history, including the turbulent years of the civil rights movement. In an interview for Oprah.com, Gayle King sat down with director Lee Daniels and two members of the cast, Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, for a Q&A session about the film.
During the conversation, King brings up the subject of race relations in America. "So many people do not know the history of the civil rights of this country," she says. King asks the cast what they hope movie-goers will take away from seeing the film, which tells the story Cecil Gaines (Whitaker), an African American butler who served in the White House during the course of eight presidential terms.
"I'm hoping that people will recognize that they need to stand up and have their voices heard," Whitaker says. "I think that this movie allows you to see different people reaching for the things they believe."
In the film, Oprah plays Gloria Gaines, the butler's wife. Oprah says it's difficult to get audiences of all races and backgrounds out to see a movie, "because race makes people uncomfortable."
"So many people, particularly African Americans, are not used to seeing other African Americans in film who represent family," she says. "And if you think about it, those of you who are not African American, when is the last time you saw a film where a family was represented with that kind of spirit and that kind of unity and that kind of caring? The truth is, that is who we are," she says.
The authentic representation of an African American family is what Winfrey says she connected with in the script. "We love our children, we care for our families, we want the best for ourselves and for each other," she says.