Hollywood got the idea for the hit movie “The Butler” from Washington Post writer Will Haygood's profile of Eugene Allen, who lived through the civil rights-era while working at the White House.
The movie stars Forest Whitaker as the butler and Oprah Winfrey as his wife. It was directed by Lee Daniels and is critically praised.
Haygood wanted to profile someone who began life in segregation and lived to see the election of a black president. But the story almost didn't run because of the untimely death of Allen's wife.
“I wondered if I asked too many questions or stressed her,” he says. “The son told me she was waiting for me.”
For the movie, Hollywood enlarged the story. It was a change Haygood approves of.
“I want to be unbiased … I think it's the greatest movie ever made,” he says.