Tattle: Lee Daniels turns his eye to 'The Butler'

Lee Daniels: "Selma" delayed, has another project.
Lee Daniels: "Selma" delayed, has another project.
Posted: August 05, 2010

ONE WOULD THINK that after the low-budget "Precious" grossed more than $60 million, Philadelphia native Lee Daniels wouldn't have so much trouble getting his next movie made.

But according to a story on deadline.com, Lee is so tired of waiting for financing to finalize on his civil-rights drama "Selma," he's signed on with producer Laura Ziskin and Sony to rewrite and direct "The Butler."

The film will tell the amazing story of Eugene Allen, who served eight presidents in the White House over a 34-year period. While much of the South was still segregated, Allen began work as a kitchen aide under President Eisenhower. He worked his way up to maitre d' under President Reagan.

As the Washington Post reported when Allen died in March at the age of 90, Allen was invited to the funeral of President Kennedy but declined to go so he could ready the White House for mourners after the services.

"When first lady Jackie Kennedy returned to the White House afterward," the Post wrote, "she gave him one of the president's ties. Mr. Allen had it framed."

Allen and his wife of 65 years, Helene, planned to vote for Barack Obama in 2008, but Helene died the night before the election. Allen voted alone.

A few months later, he was an invited guest at Obama's swearing-in.

"I never would have believed it," Allen told the Post. "In the 1940s and 1950s, there were so many things in America you just couldn't do. You wouldn't even dream that you could dream of a moment like this."

Now that's a movie.

Denzel Washington is being discussed as a potential lead.

Keys to a wedding

Life & Style magazine has details on the Alicia Keys-Swizz Beatz nuptials.

The wedding was held July 31 at a Corsican estate overlooking the Mediterranean. Swizz's eldest son, Prince Nasir Dean, 9, served as best man and guests included Queen Latifah, Tommy Hilfiger, Christian Louboutin and Bono.

If you're going to have a destination wedding, you might as well invite people who can afford to attend.

As we stated previously, Deepak Chopra officiated.

Alicia, like Chelsea Clinton, wore a custom-made gown by Vera Wang. Accessories were a diamond necklace headband designed by Jacob the Jeweler and jewel-encrusted Louboutins on her feet. Swizz wore a white Tom Ford tux with a black bow tie.

That was the good news.

The bad news, being reported by RadarOnline.com, is that Swizz has run up a whopping 35 tax liens in the past seven years, including more than $4 million in unpaid taxes in three states.

Radar Online says he still owes about $2.4 million to authorities.

Someone's going to be cashing in his wedding gifts.

The daily Lindsay

* Want to buy a present for Lindsay

Lohan to help her get through the DTs?

TMZ.com reports that UCLA Medical Center does allow gifts, but no balloons or breakables or "anything with sharp points."

TMZ says givers are encouraged to stick to "soft, cuddly things."

Unfortunately for fans, the center won't be delivering gifts to Lindsay, so even if you buy her something soft and cuddly, she won't get it.

Tattbits

* Food Network host Guy Fieri brought 93.3 WMMR's Preston & Steve crew to the Memphis Taproom (2331 E. Cumberland) in Fishtown yesterday for a shoot for his show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," reports 24/7 Dan Gross. Joining Fieri were Preston Elliot, Steve Morrison, CaseyBoy Foster and Daily News Sexy Single Marisa Magnatta.

* In another case of "What could she possibly have been thinking?" Harvard student Caroline Giuliani, 20, was allegedly caught shoplifting yesterday at a Manhattan Sephora store.

Caroline's dad is former NYC Mayor Rudy "Law-and-Order" Giuliani.

New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne says she was charged with petty larceny, a misdemeanor.

* Grizz Chapman of NBC's "30

Rock" (he's part of Tracy Morgan's entourage) is serving as an advocate for organ donation, just a month after undergoing a kidney transplant.

Spokeswoman Anne Finn says Grizz will speak today at New York's Montefiore Medical Center at an event observing National Minority Organ Donor Awareness Day. Chapman received his new kidney at that facility.

* Self-help guru Tony Robbins

could not transfer his infomercial success into commercial TV success.

His NBC show "Breakthrough," didn't, and was pulled by the Peacock after just two airings.

The Nielsen Co. says this week's "Breakthrough" drew an audience of only 2.8 million viewers.

'Rocky' married when punchy

With "The Expendables" due this month, Sylvester Stallone is busy talking.

Speaking with London's Daily Telegraph, Sly said he was with wife Jennifer Flavin watching "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" when his ex-wife Brigitte Nielsen appeared on the show, battling alcoholism.

"I thought I was watching an old home movie," Sly said. "I sat on the sofa with Jennifer and of course, she pauses it and says: 'What were you thinking?' I go, 'I wasn't. It was an out-of-body experience. I've concluded that love is a temporary form of insanity and we should cut each other some slack.'

"I consider my life 10 percent on target, and 90 percent mistakes. But those 10 percent counted."

Besides three daughters with Flavin, Stallone has two grown sons from his first marriage, to Sasha Check. They're Sage Moonblood and Seargeoh, so they must have been named during another out-of-body experience.

Daily News wire services contributed to this report.

E-mail gensleh@phillynews.com.

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