Director Lee Daniels says his new film The Butler is, at its heart, a father and son love story with the civil rights movement "in the background of it all."
The film is based on the true story of Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served eight presidents, and comes at a time when Daniels thinks the country needs to "ponder and really deal with the issue of race."
Wil Haygood, the author of the book that inspired the film, cited Allen's love of country for getting him through the civil rights struggle.
Haygood pointed out that Allen worked at a time when "he could leave the most powerful address in the world and go back to his native Virginia and have to use a segregated men’s room."
As a Washington Post reporter, Haygood did the "shoe leather" journalism to track down the butler - who had long since retired - during the 2008 election cycle. During that relationship, the two, along with Allen's son attended the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama.
The election of the country’s first African American president had profound impact on Allen because such an event was unimaginable to him during his years at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Haygood recalled, "[Allen] said, 'When I was in the White House you couldn’t even dream that you could dream of a moment like this.' Not one dream in that sentence, but two. And that was very powerful."
The Butler opens nationwide on August 16th.