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New Film "The Butler" Has Ohio Ties

COLUMBUS (James Jackson) -- The new movie, "The Butler", makes its big screen debut in theaters across the country on Friday.

You may know about the film's main character, Cecil Gaines, but you may not know that the idea of Cecil came from a man who grew up in central Ohio.

Five years ago, Washington Post reporter Wil Haygood wrote an article about a man named Eugene Allen, who would one day become the inspiration behind Gaines.

"I thought that would be a very powerful narrative into how far the nation has come," Haygood said.

Haygood came up with the narrative when he came across a group of college students while was covering then candidate Barack Obamas campaign

"They said that their fathers had stopped talking to them, and there was great friction in the family because they supported this African American Candidate," Haygood said.

That friction motivated Haygood to find a person who had a unique perspective on the White House. He eventually found Allen.

"He's very humble. He seemed to be a very sweet-natured man," Haygood said.

Allen worked for eight presidents, from Truman to Reagan.

Haygood said speaking with Allen was like taking a trip back in time, especially when he displayed ten photo albums full of priceless pictures.

"Don King, Michael Jackson, Sammy David Jr., Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald -- and he's in these pictures with these people," Haygood said.

The day after Haygoods story hit the stands, producers came calling. Fast forward to today, and "The Butler" is on the big screen.
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